Kelly Medanich, of Pink Champagne Paper, is an award-winning stationer, recently named "Best in Weddings" by The Knot. Her business has grown dramatically since starting in 2012, with her business expanding from Dallas to Austin this past year. So, we wanted to sit down with her for this edition of "10 Minutes With..." to gain some insight on her small business strategies—particularly how she manages operations out of multiple cities. In this interview, Kelly also reveals how her obsession with Target fueled her inspiration behind one of her favorite invitation designs!
In case you're interested in learning Kelly's beautiful modern + whimsical calligraphy style, she will be in the studio next week (September 30th) teaching our Intro to Modern Calligraphy workshop. There are a limited number of tickets available, so you'll want to reserve your spot today!
For those who don’t know, tell us more about what you do at Pink Champagne Paper:
I wear many hats at Pink Champagne Paper, but I guess most business owners do right?! Not only do I design wedding invitations and oversee the creative direction of the brand, but I also manage the majority of the behind-the-scenes tasks such as finances and marketing. We actually just expanded our team to include a client and marketing manager who will be the primary contact for our clients, and take a big role in our marketing duties. This will be a great new way to serve our clients even better, and we are so excited!
Real talk: Owning a business can be hard, what’s a small business lesson you wish you would have known when you got started or wish you could tell your past self?
Gosh how much time do I have here? Haha. I think the most valuable lesson I wish I would have known from the beginning was to be organized with my finances and bookkeeping straight out of the gate. Since Pink Champagne Paper started and grew so organically from the beginning, I didn't really have a plan for our finances. One day, I realized my excel spreadsheet I slopped together wasn't really working like I planned. I would tell small business owners who are just starting out to get organized with their bookkeeping, and set up some sort of accounting system like QuickBooks or FreshBook. This will really change the way you run your business!
What's your proudest small business moment so far?
This year we won The Knot Best of Weddings for invitations. It came as a complete surprise, so it was humbling to receive an award from a website I have admired for so long.
Your business started out in Dallas, but you now live in Austin. How are you balancing your operations in two different cities?
I started Pink Champagne Paper while I was living in Dallas. But since my husband and I got married last June, I moved our headquarters to Austin where my husband was living at the time. My original plan was to go back-and-forth from Dallas to Austin a couple times a month—I must have been kidding myself. There was just too much driving, and it was cutting too much into my work time! Since then I hired a designer in Dallas who would be able to meet with clients. And now, our client manager is also responsible for meeting with clients when needed; however, luckily most of our business is conducted over email and phone. Email and phone communication actually seems to be the best and preferred way to communicate these days, since we have clients all over the country—from Colorado to Georgia!
What was the hardest part about finding this balance? Do you have any resources you would share with another small business going through the same thing?
Finding balance is pretty difficult. I'm still learning how to juggle everything by planned ahead as best I can. Marking down which days I'll be gone helps a lot, since I can know ahead of time if work needs to get done before I leave or if it can wait until after I get back. Also hiring someone local and part-time was a huge help just knowing I had someone there as a plan b (or plan a) if I was not able to make it back in time for something.
Asking for help and hiring someone to support your business can be difficult, what’s some of your best advice for someone looking to grow their team?
Choose wisely and start small! Our businesses are such big parts of our lives, and they are essentially an extension of ourselves, which makes hiring someone and giving up a piece of what we do that much harder. Take your time to interview your candidates and then start them with a small list of to-dos. As they grow with you, their responsibilities will also grow. I've found this to be best for both the business owner and the new team member.
What’s the best way you have found to manage your team, particularly when you’re not physically in the same office as them?
We have weekly calls every Monday to go over what we're working on and as an opportunity for the team to ask specific questions they may have. Usually I like to save questions or advice for this call, since it's a more efficient way to manage all our time. But of course if anyone needs anything throughout the week we're always texting or can jump on a call if needed. We also just started using Google Docs, which I'm pretty excited about! Now we can all be working on a document together, such as client updates and to-do lists. This has also been another great way for my team to ask questions.
Join Kelly in the studio next weekend!
INTRO TO MODERN CALLIGRAPHY WORKSHOP
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH
1PM - 3:30PM
Pink Champagne Paper is known for beautiful lettering and classic invitations, where do you get your design inspiration?
Usually my graphic design inspiration comes from other design outlets like interior design or fashion design. When I'm not working, I'm usually pinning interior design images or watching HGTV, which is probably why I find a lot of inspiration from interiors. But honestly I also find inspiration in the most random of places... One of my favorite invitation suites I ever designed was inspired from a coaster I saw at Target!
In a world of social media, what are some of your favorite Instagram accounts you follow?
I love Lauren Conrad, Ginny Au, Papel & Co, and Nutrition by Kara. They all inspire me in different ways and make me feel good! When I'm scrolling through social media, that's exactly what I want to feel: happy and inspired.
If you had to guess an upcoming design trend for the stationery/invitation industry, what would it be?
I've done a lot of wax seals lately, as well as vellum overlays and vellum envelopes. I think another upcoming trend is minimalism, and I can't wait to incorporate this style into my new designs!