Fiber & Dye

Unexpected, silly, oddly-specific. Oh, and pretty.

On Year Two & Beyond

Shop Talk, HonestlyLisa AiharaComment

It was my birthday this past Monday (well into my thirties now!), which means that we also had our 2 year anniversary. Oh how I love sharing my birthday with my biz, it really does make things a lot easier to remember.

Starting as a sanity project to fuel my creative outlet while I was at my 9-5 corporate job, to a way to escape that said 9-5 job, to a full time business...Fiber & Dye has molded, changed, and grown into what it is today, and is about to go through yet another transformation this year. As we welcome our first baby into the family, it's not just a solopreneur business, but a mompreneur one for a working-at-home mom. How crazy is it that time goes by so fast and so much could change in what feels like an instant?

From the 16 greeting cards we started out with, the card line has grown to SKUs of well over 80, and 10 new ones that launched on our site this week. Not only that, but Fiber & Dye grew into a full-blown design studio with client offering for wedding invitations and business branding, which has allowed me to work with the most creative couples and visionary entrepreneurs that I'd ever met.

The struggle is real, and the name of the game is always the imposter syndrome. One thing I'd been working on this year was getting used to talk about what I do as a REAL thing. That no, I'm not just in between jobs or pursuing a hobby while I'm taking it easy and baking a baby—this was a business, MY business, that I own and control and run and grow. No one else was going to do that for me, I had to. And while I thought that maybe the way I talked about it could be different from the way I worked it, that wasn't true. It wasn't until I could say those words out loud that I really believed it and actioned on it. So that was a great learning experience.

Something that helped this transition was meeting other business owners. Whether as clients or partners on a project or colleagues discussing biz topics, both the internet and my community in the South Bay are filled with entrepreneurs that I admire. Lucky for me, many have been doing this for a lot longer than I have so I was inspired by how far they've come, and was fortunate to have people who were open to sharing their journey with me. Even luckier, I've also met folks who are right where I am—just starting out, or ready to pivot and grow their business in a way that's in that weird, awkward, teenage Simba phase. So thank you to my muses and my fellow warriors for pushing me and fighting alongside me.

We have some exciting things in the works for this year (like the super secret one I might sneak peek this week) and can't wait to see how the third year is going to shape up. I can't thank you enough for letting me go on this crazy venture, because without the support of the folks like you who do things like, I don't know, read my little blog posts like this one here, I would've given up a long time ago like I'd always done before (it's my MO, not that I'm proud of it, but it's true). It's nothing short of a miracle that the lights are still on, the gears are still grinding, and the passion is still well and alive.

So let's fucking do this dye-hards.

Invitation Enclosure Card Sizes

WeddingLisa AiharaComment
WeddingInvitationCardSize.jpg

Size is everything.

I mean, look I know that that's not really what you want to hear , but when it comes to invitation enclosure cards it's true.

Whether you're looking to design your own or are getting a custom suite designed, understanding the different enclosure cards and the reason behind those sizes could really help out as you go through the design process. So let's break it down, shall we?

 

Main Invitation

This one is pretty standard at 5x7 in, and this is pretty much the golden rule. This is because it is the perfect size for making sure all your details can fit onto the card, but still not considered oversized when mailing it out usin ga A7 envelope. You can usually keep it within the weight limit for regular mail, so that you can use standard postage too (Forever Stamps are your friend).

 © Lauren Mihae Photography

© Lauren Mihae Photography

With that said, we've done weddings with a long rectangular invite or a quadfold that was slightly smaller—our suggestion though, is that the reason for deviating from this size should really make a design statement. The different sizing could make things a little more complicated, so it should definitely be worth doing it!

Details Card

The Details card is an important one because this is where you can communicate to guests things like information about your registry, transportation, directions, etc., which would otherwise not fit in the main invitation. If you just simply wanted to list a few details like your website, we would suggest the A6 size, which is 4.5x6.25 in. Since that's a standardized size (notice that it even has a name!) it's a lot easier to find pre-cut paper for those planning on printing yourself, and it's a nice size that really tucks right in when stacked with the main invitation.

But say you had a lot of information or planning to do a map, then sizing up to a 4.75x6.75 in would ensure that none of the smaller details would get lost.

 © Tiffany Wu Photography

© Tiffany Wu Photography

RSVP

If you were going the more traditional route with a return envelope enclosed for the RSVP card, the standard is 3.5x5 in since it fits the little 4-bar envelope folks usually use. But this is a rule that we love to break.

Have you thought about making your RSVP card into a postcard? This allows you more space to play with, and eliminates the need for an envelope. You can also have additional room to collect information from your guests, like if you were having a weekend wedding with lots of festivities you can get their attendance for every Sunday brunch or Friday night yoga, and even note important guest information like repeating that it's an adult-only reception (a little reminder goes a long way). It also allows you to have fun with the back of the postcard, where you can do a fun design like a quote you both love or ask for more recommendations on song choices, message for the couple, etc.

 

Whether you're going traditional or funky, enclosure sizes are something you may not immediately think about but has a huge impact on the scope of your project. Make sure to ask your designer about size suggestions, or research the paper you want to print on if you're doing it yourself!

Wedding Invite Size_pin.jpg

MOH Series - #2 Where do we start with the planning?

WeddingLisa AiharaComment

Hey there my little wedding planners. Hope that you enjoyed the first post in this series, where I got you to start brainstorming with your soon-to-be-spouse on what's important to you.

Once you've got your priorities, your "feeling," and those guide posts in place, there are different paths you can take to get to your destination. Remember, wedding planning is just a huge scavenger hunt. The first step is booking a venue and setting a date, so start by understanding what’s most important for you, and then the decisions thereafter will just follow. Here are some example paths that you can take.


Priority: Must love setting

If the environment is what’s most important, think about the 5 adjectives you set, and what venue will help to set the tone. Scour through wedding blogs and filter based on aesthetic keywords like modern, rustic, ranch, beach, etc. to get ideas:

  • Make a list of all the venues that caught your eye. Check out not only their website, but try to find REAL weddings that were done there. Remember, some photographs of weddings may just be styled photoshoots and not an actual wedding. Look for photographers who have worked there before and check out their portfolio.
  • Maybe your perfect venue is out of state. Make sure you hire either a planner that's local to you who have done a wedding at that venue before, or specializes in destination weddings. They'll likely have contacts that are out of state so they can help you coordinate all the vendors
  • If venue has a required caterer, make sure that the price per head is reasonable, so you can make room in the budget
  • Understand their rental policies. Décor does a lot to set the scene, so ask if they lock you into a rental company or if you're able to bring in furniture, props, etc as you want.
  • Hire a great photographer to capture your perfect setting. Refer back to photographers who have shot there before, or one that has a lighting style that you're looking for
  • Your date is the availability of your venue + photographer!

Priority: Food. Food. Food.

Feeding guests is a big part of the wedding, and if this is your priority it helps to filter a lot of things. This was our case actually, and "good food" even made it to the 5 adjectives that are important for our wedding. So what does that mean? Here are some ways to get started:

  • Many venues force a caterer onto you. If this is a deal-breaker, and you have a particular caterer you wanted to work with and bring in, this will filter out the venues super quickly
  • If you're open to the caterer at a venue, make sure from the get-go that the venue gives tastings. Believe it or not, not all venues provide this option and some make it super hard for you to taste their stuff
  • Ensure that the venue has kitchen facilities to accomodate an outside caterer; if they have to build something out, that could get expensive depending on what you want to serve
  • Meet with a lot of caterers! You'll be surprised too how many restaurants would actually do a wedding. If you have a local eatery you both love, try hitting them up
  • Consider serving your food family style or buffet food stations. That way, you can offer lots of different options for you guests instead of locking them into a course
  • Your date is the availability of your venue + caterer!

Priority: Gotta get the date right

Is there an auspitious date you want to hit? Venue availability is going to be the first thing you want to nail down, and Saturdays go fast. So move on the venue quickly:

  • When calling venues to book a tour, be up-front about the date
  • Not only do venues book up quickly on Saturdays, some are only open for weddings certain months so make sure the date is available
  • Research a lot of vendors in each category, and don’t even meet them unless the date is available
  • Let your family and friends know early what date you're looking at, even before booking. You're going to be heartbroken if grandma can't go because she had a trip planned, or your MOH is expecting a baby that weekend.
  • Once you find a venue, you got your date!

Priority: Including everyone

Do you have a large family and a huge circle of friends who you want to share the day with? Ok, this means that your head count will be dictating your wedding, and use that as a filter:

  • Look for venues that can accomodate the size. If it's an outdoor venue, make sure that they have a weather contingency area that is still big enough for your guest count
  • When speaking to your caterer, make sure that the price per head is reasonable; this is going to add up real quick when you have a large party
  • For the same reason, really look at costs like favors, cake cutting, open bar, etc. that are calculated per head. What's a must-have, and what can you do without to spend more money elsewhere?
  • When you're walking the venue, think about the openness of space and whether there are any gooseneck areas that could potentially be an issue when your guests travel
  • Bathroom. Bathroom. Make sure there are plenty of them, and even consider if they have some upscale porta potty rental options for you
  • The availability of your venue is your date!

Priority: We're not made of money

Look, I get it. A wedding is just ONE DAY, and if you're really just looking to do this kind of low-key, so you can save for the future, but just want a really fun day out of it, it's totally possible.

  • Consider shaving your guest list. This will make the largest impact on your budget, because one of the biggest costs of the wedding is food, and that is dependent on the headcount. Think real hard about who NEEDS to be there
  • Think outside the box for the venue, and don't just search "wedding venues" but look at event spaces in general. There are lots of funky warehouses, factories, and the like that are opening up for weddings. With places like this, rental can be a cost that adds up, so make sure that the venue manager has great contacts
  • Do your guests have flexible schedules? Look at days during the week for any cost savings. Many venues offer a huge discount when you do an event like say, on a Thursday, and it may be doable if you let your guests know beforehand. They could make a long weekend out of it!
  • It's super tempting to cut out a planner from your budget because it's 10%, but definitely keep it on there. It's the best thing you could do for yourself, and they'll help you make sure you're on budget. If it's just not possible for you, then consider just hiring someone for day-of coordination
  • When it comes to food, think about serving it buffet style, as it could save costs of having to hire servers. Or consider a food truck. Just one note htere though, make sure to get at least a couple trucks to make sure there's no traffic jams and delay to get food
  • DIY or DIE. Ok not really, but yes, doing things that you can do on your own will cut costs dramatically. Or, enlist family members who are crafty. Know an aunt who has fresh flowers at her home all the time? She could be your florist. Are you and your bridesmaids handy and enjoy craft days? Make décor together and make a thing of it.

 

Hope that helps! Whatever course you take, know that you've GOT THIS. 

Are there any priorities that aren't listed above that you're curious about? Know any other tips from your own wedding or those of your family? Let us know in the comments!

You Crest Believe It: Using a Wedding Crest to DIY your wedding

WeddingLisa AiharaComment

Did you know that there's such a thing called Engagement Season? We've now kicked it off, it starts Thanksgiving and goes until Valentine's Day...funny story, Steven proposed to me in December, so we were right in the middle of it. That made me think of how this is the most wonderful time of the year, but also the time of the year where there's going to be a bunch of soon-to-be-brides feeling a bit overwhelmed about wedding design.

I'm just super obsessed with crests, and want every bride-to-be to consider using a crest. Not only are they versatile (you can just slap this sucker onto EVERYTHING from invitations to menus!), they're super personal and tell your story as a couple, which makes it the perfect custom design element for savvy DIY brides who are all about the personal touch. And trust me, your entire wedding is going to be set to go once you've got one of these guys. So how versatile are they really? Let me count the ways...

 The rest of the invitation is pretty simple, and the crest is the star here

The rest of the invitation is pretty simple, and the crest is the star here

1. Invitation

The easy one, all you need is a crest and a pretty font and you have an invitation. Whether you're savvy with Photoshop or just want to type it up in Word, printed or even e-vite that sucker, including the image of your crest makes your design look instantly pulled together.

 

2. Envelope dress-up

From the postage stamp to the return address to the wax seal, using your crest will allow you to add a little something to your otherwise plain envelope.  

 

 
 The menu is easy to overlook, but it could be the star of your table setting.

The menu is easy to overlook, but it could be the star of your table setting.

3. Day-of Paper Goods

Carry on the theme of the wedding for day-of and use the crest on top of your menu. And don't stop there--brand your wedding throughout, from your seating chart to program, all your DIY projects are a breeze with the crest.

4. For Happily Ever After

Just because your wedding is over, doesn't mean your crest's duty is done. Display the crest on your wall as you start your new life together! And look, now that you're married, you are going to need to send out holiday cards every year too... just sayin.

5. Gift

Not getting married but know a couple who has it all and is impossible to find gifts for? This is such a unique piece that could be made into everything from a mug to t-shirt to personal stationery!  

 What love story inspired this crest? Read about it  here .

What love story inspired this crest? Read about it here.

Interested in getting your own crest designed? Let's do this!