How do you navigate trends as a stationery designer? They seem to always be changing!
Well, I’m stoked to introduce you to two of my friends in this episode—Rachelle Schwartz and Emily Owen. They are the co-owners of Wiley Valentine, a luxury custom stationery design agency where for the last 14+ years, they work with celebrity clients and top notch event planners.
I met Emily and Rachelle when I shared an office with them (and also with Czar Press, run by Rachelle’s husband, Michael) a few years ago, hence the super casual conversation. Not only did I learn so much from them about the stationery industry, they’re just wonderful human beings full of insights.
Emily and Rachelle have an intriguing and inspirational story of how they hustled as total newbies in the industry to get to where they are now. And having been in business for 16 years, they also have some experience weathering tough times—I’m talking the 2008 recession and the current pandemic.
- [02:40] Emily and Rachelle started with logo and real estate design jobs.
- [08:39] They gained popularity by submitting samples to magazines and attending the stationery show in New York.
- [10:28] After the 2008 recession, the industry changed drastically and customers went online (Minted, Tiny Prints) instead of stores.
- [19:37] Emily and Rachelle simplified their business to become more profitable.
- [22:20] They describe the key to balance a successful partnership and how they split the work.
- [29:11] Rather than get caught up in trends, they hone in and listen to the client.
- [31:06] Emily and Rachelle explain how they found their niche of luxury design.
- [38:12] Navigating the pandemic (and homeschooling) can be challenging and it’s also a great time to nurture relationships and reassess priorities and values.
Rapid Fire Questions
What’s your best time-saving hack?
Emily: Not working with your children near you.
Rachelle: When I’m at the office, I’m, I’m definitely more efficient for sure. There’s less snacks that need to be made.
What is your favorite resource that’s helped grow your business?
Emily: I would say the planners that we’ve worked with. That’s like been such a wonderful resource for us. Like they’ve been such a wealth of knowledge. And so we’ve been so fortunate to work with such wonderful wedding planners, like Lisa for instance.
Rachelle: It’s also nice to have other stationery friends and be able to bounce things out…so nice to have that and text them and be like, Oh my gosh, have you ever done a tissue liner? How would you do that? Do you know how to source whatever? [For] things like that, it’s really nice to have that community.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself in the last week?
Emily: Well, I would say this is more, not necessarily this last week, but maybe this last four to six weeks is that I am a happier person if I actually do some sort of exercise. I have admittedly not been an exerciser for probably two decades and it’s just serving me better now that I’m in my forties actually do something physical, and drink more water. Oh I do Tracy Anderson as well. My mental health is better.
Rachelle: I will say reconnected with my love for tie dye. I had like a passion for tie dye as a child. And I even invented during the invention convention at school. Literally this was my invention… I was like why do you have to dip the t-shirt in buckets? So I just thought, why can’t you just put the dye in a squirt bottle and be able to put the dye exactly where you want it. And now it’s available everywhere in Target and online and everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s not my business, but anyways I recently did that with the kids and I was like, Oh my gosh, this is the best thing ever. And now I’m tie-dying everything. And I actually, my side hustle is leggings and I just launched a whole line of tie dye leggings. And I literally want to tie dye everything.
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- Wiley Valentine
- Instagram: @wileyvalentine
- Facebook: Wiley Valentine
- Sweat Goddess Leggings
- Czar Press
- Pen to Press – My course all about stationery.
Episode 7: How I Grew a Six-Figure Stationery Business
Episode 17: From Angel Investor to Letterpress Guru: Being a Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur
Episode 3: My Story: From Side Hustle to Thriving Business
Episode 49: 5 Tips for Handling High Maintenance Clients
Episode 32: Struggling with Saying No? I’ve Got Tips For You