Sophia Loves Letters

Whimisical and romantic calligraphy and design for weddings, events, and everyday life.

Why wedding invitation design used to scare me, but doesn't anymore

Sophia Uretz
Photo by Anna Delores Photography

Photo by Anna Delores Photography

Invitation design is something that, over the past few years, I’ve only done on a limited basis, and I wanted to share with you a bit more about why that was, and why it’s about to change.   

First, let me tell you a little secret. Up until a few months ago, wedding invitation design scared me. While I knew I could create a beautiful design, I also knew that there was so much more than ink, paint and Adobe Illustrator involved in creating the finished product. There were many things I felt unsure about, like how long the process would take, how I should present my design proofs, what I’d do if a couple wanted extras like a wax seal, or ribbon, etc. With all of those unknowns, I knew I couldn’t create a consistent and positive experience for my couples, and worse yet, I worried that I’d unintentionally get myself into a situation where I couldn’t deliver what I’d promised. I knew I needed to wait, and invest time into figuring out all these details before I could confidently promote custom invitation design as a service.

Photo by Michelle Beller

Photo by Michelle Beller

This was not an easy decision at the time! I worried that I’d get left behind, and there wouldn’t be any demand once I was ready to go for it. I also knew, however, that I had the potential to really hurt my business by doing something I wasn’t ready for. So I trusted my instincts, and spent time earlier this year figuring out my design process, creating a contract, establishing pricing, researching materials, and so on, and guess what? The fear surrounding the invitation design process has disappeared, and been replaced by joy. I’m officially offering custom invitation design for 2018 brides, and I could not be more excited! Now when a client comes to me, I’m confident not only in my design skills, but that I’ll be able to deliver a beautiful finished product. I can now easily communicate what my design process is to clients, so they know what to expect if they decide to work with me.

It used to feel slightly terrifying to have the responsibility of designing a couple's wedding stationery, and now it feels like an honor. I'm hopeful that this will be a wonderful new addition to my business, but above and beyond that, I'm just happy that I now feel ready to serve the couples that trust me with such an important part of their wedding to the best of my ability.

 

 

Four Things I’ve Learned During Three Wedding Seasons

My Life and BusinessSophia Uretz1 Comment

As the 2017 wedding season winds to a close, I've spent some time reflecting back on what I've learned since I started. This year in particular, I put a lot of focus on intentional growth, and nurturing the business side of my business, and I had a few aha moments and learning experiences that I wanted to share. None of these are groundbreaking by any means, and I can't help but think how obvious some are, and realize that sometimes you just have to learn things the hard way.

 

1) Your time is valuable, not just in a monetary sense

Photo by Ashley Ludaescher

Photo by Ashley Ludaescher

Pricing is so hard. I think everyone who starts out realizes it’s probably harder than the actual calligraphy and design work. I could go on and on about pricing, but I’ll leave that for another post. What I really want to say is that it’s important to think about what a job will cost you that money can’t make up for. I used to think that as long as I was making money on a job, it was worth it. A great example of this is how my views on minimums have changed. I used to not like the idea of them, and think I’d never charge them, because I was making the “correct” amount of money per piece, so what did it matter how large or small the order was? Well, after a wedding season full of lots of late nights, and small orders, lets just say, I now charge a minimum for some things (I’m looking at you, signage). I finally started looking at jobs not just in terms of how much money I would make, but what I would be sacrificing by taking them on. Things like sleep, time with my husband, exercise, social events, etc., that I could never get back. Once I did that, I realized that once a job got below a certain price, it wasn’t worth what I was giving up to do it, even though I was still getting paid.

 

2) You can do anything, but not everything!

Photo by Jake and Necia Photography

Photo by Jake and Necia Photography

When I first started, I tried to do everything! I was all about, “say yes, and figure it out later,” for awhile. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I think it can be helpful when you just start out, because it helps you get familiar with lots of different types of projects, and learn what you like and don’t like to do. Where I really did myself a disservice with this, however, was trying to do whatever calligraphy style was asked of me. I still hadn’t completely figured out my style, and I typically told clients to send an example of whatever style they liked, and I’d do something similar. This all sounds well and good, but it lead to me stressing constantly about whether what I was doing was matching the requested style well enough, and holding my breathe until I heard that the client was happy. Rather than feeling proud of my work at the end, I just felt relief that it was okay. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing as much, because I didn’t have confidence in my work, and was second guessing myself. After awhile (probably too long), I realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors trying to do it all, and decided to just offer my modern calligraphy style. That decision has made all the difference, because I’m so much more confident in the work I’m sending out, and enjoy it so much more. Have I lost some jobs because my style didn’t fit? Absolutely, but I also realized that clients who want a different style will be so much better served by another calligrapher who does the style they like, rather than me pretending I can. I do hope to have time to practice and develop another style or two, but for now, offering one style works best for me, and my business.

 

3) Share the work you want to do

Photo by Mr. & Mrs. Wedding Duo

Photo by Mr. & Mrs. Wedding Duo

Once I figured out my style, and the work I wanted to do, I made sure that’s all that was showing on my website, and social media. Now, when I get inquiries, not only do I know I’ll be able to create something the person loves, but I know I’ll enjoy creating it. I used to have a much less edited portfolio that included work from my early days. Work that I honestly didn’t want to do again. Every once and awhile I’d get a request for one of those things, and I would hate that I had to do it! I quickly realized that I had no one to blame but myself though, because if I didn't have it in my portfolio, it never would have been requested. I will say that editing my portfolio is much easier after three years of work, since I have so much to choose from, but even if you are just starting out, I think it’s important to remember that the work you share is the work you will be asked to do. 

 

4) Don’t forget where you came from

Photo by The Gathering Season

Photo by The Gathering Season

It can be so easy to look at what everyone else is doing, and feel like you aren’t doing enough, being creative enough, progressing enough, and instead, it’s so important to look at where you started, and recognize your own progress, and all of the things you accomplished that you never thought you could. I definitely still fall in the trap of comparing myself to others, but I try to be quicker about reminding myself that God has a different path for everyone, and all I can do is focus on my work, and make it the best it can be. I think it’s also easy to forget to celebrate your successes. I remember when I started, I dreamed of being featured on a wedding blog, working with a certain planner, getting a certain number of followers, and then those things happened and I barely noticed, because I was already looking ahead to the next milestone. Make sure to take some time to celebrate your achievements, and look back at what you’ve accomplished and be proud of your hard work.

 

I could say a million other things about these past three years, but these were what I really wanted to share, and I can't thank you enough for reading! In the spirit of reaching for the next milestone I'd really love it if you would also comment, and let me know what you thought.

xoxo, 

Sophia

Santa Barbara's Best!

Sophia Uretz
BOB_CWD_2017.jpg

Every year California Wedding Day picks the best of the best wedding vendors in California, and I'm beyond thrilled to be one of them! Winning the award for Best Invitation Designer in Santa Barbara is a huge honor, and I couldn't be more grateful! I picked up a copy of the magazine announcing the winners at the grocery store today, and I was basically jumping up and down in the aisle. For as much love as I put into everything I make, there's often a good bit of stress and anxiety as well, so getting this acknowledgment means a lot to me. Pick up a copy of the current issue of California Wedding Day, or view their list of winners online, to see all of the amazing wedding talent California has to offer!

Santa Barbara Wine Country Wedding

Sophia Uretz

  

It was an honor to contribute to Rachel and Brendan's wedding last November, and I'm so excited to share Michael + Anna Costa Photography's beautiful photos from the day.   

I worked closely with the bride to create menus, table numbers, and an escort display using a color palette of rose gold and eggplant.

The menus served double duty as place cards, with each guest's name written in rose gold calligraphy at the top. They were tucked into napkins, and sized so that the guest's name peeked out of the top!

Instead of individual escort cards, seating assignments were written by table on long pieces of paper, and clipped to pretty copper wire the bride found!

I love how well the paper goods I created went with the other details of the wedding, like the bride's bouquet!

Vendor Team: Wedding Planner: Jill & Co Events | Photography: Michael + Anna Costa Photography | Floral Design: Ella and Louie | Venue: Mattei's Tavern | Catering: New West |  Dessert: Enjoy Cupcakes | Rentals: Classic Party, Town and Country, Otis and Pearl | Paper Goods: Sophia Loves Letters | Hair and Makeup: LunaBella