Tuesday July 21, 2015

Laura Shema, Creative Director

By Tom Hart

For the past three years we’ve been working hard to find our way in a highly competitive, much maligned corner of the world as a standard-bearer for originality. We’ve been doing it the hard way in the wedding industry since 2012, never paying to promote our work and never relying on trends to accelerate our reputation. In doing so we’ve grown a company that receives messages of support, of admiration, and offers of work daily. Magazines are sent to us with surprise features on our work, friends tell us they search for inspiration and find images of our projects, past clients get in touch to share beaming gratitude and to gloat about their mother spotting our work in a wedding invitation they received. Important people — people who fight for civil rights, toiling for the betterment of our world — tear up when we catch up with them on a Google Hangout. Jolly Edition is now a recognized name, not just by the 300-plus clients we’ve worked with, nor just to those whose job it is to know wedding vendors, but out in the real world.

That colossal success, grown by the unique reimagining of our clients’ stories and instillation of our particular flavor of sentiment, is because we have Laura Shema. People like to think Laura is gifted, I know first-hand that notion is pure applesauce. Laura crafted her understanding of color, her eye for form, her appreciation for art history, her cultural lexicon, and most importantly her decision-making over long hours of graft and discontent. Laura bears the scars of educational disenfranchisement, feeling the disappointing pang of fruitless years in traditional education. Laura did everything required to become another part of the art establishment via an Ivy League art school only to give it all up (that part was mostly my fault, admittedly). We kindled the beginnings of Jolly Edition through trial and error, partly because we didn’t want to settle for a prosaic legacy, partly because we just wanted to spend all our time together. Laura’s image today is of the most capable strength but I know her talent is born of hard work, ambition and perspicacity; to suggest her ability is in any way divined is to rob her of her true worth. Laura is no more than human (she occasionally makes mistakes), but what she offers our little company is better than perfection, it’s play, it’s adventure, it’s the capturing of momentary snapshots from our lives into annuals worth remembering.

It’s fitting that on her thirtieth birthday we’re formally marking the milestone by changing Laura’s role to one she’s been performing for a long time — Laura is our Creative Director.

That’s a fancypants way of stating the obvious: without Laura we’re lost at sea. It’s Laura guidance which illuminates the elaborate, wonderful portfolio of work we’ve created with illustrators and designers from four continents. I’m fortunate to be able to watch joy dance out of her mind daily, lighting our path as we go.

Although small business in today’s America is a perilous ride, a storm we’re carefully navigating, we’re more determined than ever to build a legacy of beautifully designed, influential work for our clients marking moments in their lives by instilling sentiment in everything we create. With Laura’s playful, visionary eye we’ll push on into the unknown guided by her extraordinary senses.