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Up close and personal...

Jacquie Lawes...White Olive Design

When did you start in this business and what did you do before?

I started my business in 2016 after being unable to return to my full time job in a graphic design studio after my maternity leave ended

Before I worked for myself I had various creative roles, starting out my career in Visual Merchandising and Photography, then onto graphic design and creative content production so all of my past jobs have given me the skills needed to jump straight into my own business as a stationery designer

How would you describe your style or are you influenced by the client’s desire/theme?

My style is modern, elegant, fresh and inspired by my love for the Mediterranean and my signature style features elegant typography and hand written calligraphy with subtle botanical or venue illustrations

My designs are bespoke so I’m definitely influenced by my clients wedding day style and theme. Most of my clients are those planning elegant country weddings either in the U.K. or Mediterranean (mainly Italy, South of France and Greece)

Where do you get inspiration for your designs and is there a current trend?

I’m inspired by nature and architecture so my designs all feature a mixture of beautiful soft textures, illustrations (usually of foliage and some flowers) and finishes to reflect the venue location

I love to work with a variety of materials from handmade papers, natural stone such as agate slices, shells and pebbles (these make perfect place settings with hand written calligraphy! And keepsakes for the guests! Liz) and finishes such as hand dyed silk ribbons and wax seals with real confetti petals make an amazing finishing touch!

I tend not to follow trends as I have my own style and this is what my clients love about my work.

I’ve definitely seen a lot of love for my fabric printed signage for destination weddings as it’s easy to transport, plus my large acrylic signs for U.K. weddings which I offer in a variety of options from clear with white ink to gold, rose gold and a variety of other colours to suit the wedding theme

What is your favourite flower?

I’m definitely more of a foliage girl (absolutely love olive trees so my designs often feature olive leaves!). I do love a mix of greenery and white florals though, large soft white blooms being my favourite so white peonies, hydrangea and large roses being my favourites

What sort of information do you need to know when meeting with a prospective client for the first time?

I really love to hear all about the plans my clients have for their wedding day. All of my designs start off with an in-depth questionnaire or phone call where we go into all the details from the flower choices to the bridesmaid outfits, table decor and the venue so I can visualise how the day will be and create a design to suit their wedding perfectly

What sort of lead time do you need when taking on a project?

So that I can offer the best service to my clients (and also give my children the time they need!) I can only take on a limited number of bookings at a time so my diary does book up fast!

The design and print turnaround obviously depends on the project and what’s involved but on average its around 8 weeks from the start of the design process

I always recommend booking at least 3-4 months before my clients want to send out their wedding stationery, although many of my clients book as soon as they have set the date to ensure I can fit (I take bookings 18 months - 2 years in advance for some clients!)

I presume you can supply more than one wedding package per weekend but is there a limit on your time across a year/season?

Being a stationer I don’t tend to attend the actual wedding day unless I’m delivering some wedding day stationery or signage to a local venue. I work on up to 3 bespoke invitation designs at a time and 4 wedding day stationery designs

This gives me enough time to fully focus on each of my clients before my next project begins

Do you have fixed prices for your work or is each package tailored to the client?

I do offer a selection of customisable wedding day stationery items including menus, place settings and signage which have set prices. For my bespoke designs the price is dependent on the individual project and what’s required. My design fee starts at £500 for wedding invitation designs and print costs vary depending on the materials and finishes

What is the most fun part of your job?

There are so many, I genuinely love my job! I love the excitement of starting a new design. Collating various materials and sketching my initial ideas is really fun

Putting together the finishing touches and packing up the finished stationery is fun too (plus it gets my clients so excited to finally receive their finished paper pretties!)

I think my favourite part is working on custom illustrations though. I’ve always loved to draw so having some quiet time without any distractions, to be able to sit and escape with my iPad Pro or sketchbook to create a new illustration is definitely a perk of the job!

What is the most important part of your job?

Boring admin stuff to one side, the most important job for me is to ensure the quality of the finished stationery is of the highest standard. I check through every print when I receive them from my printers to make sure I’m happy with them. I will never send out an order that doesn’t meet my high standards so my clients can ensure when they order from me they know they’re going to get the quality and service to exceed their expectations

What makes you laugh?

Everything! My Dad always said ‘you’d laugh at a swinging gate!’

I’ve always had a happy bubbly personality and have a proper belly laugh everyday. I have a loud laugh too so you won’t miss it if I’m around! :-D

I love working with Jacquie's gorgeous designs and she is an absolute bundle of fun to have around too!

I have to mention too that Jacquie is also a brand design, photography and mentoring whizz x


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