Ellie Pryer...Stationery Designer
When did you start in this business and what did you do before?
I founded ERA Calligraphy in 2018 having started my career in the art world working in auction houses. I studied Fine Art at university and after I graduated, I spent a couple of years working at Sotheby’s where I saw some amazing auctions and collections of Fine and Decorative Arts which was so inspiring. Although it was a fascinating place to begin my career, I started to realise that I wanted to pursue a more creative career than would be possible in the art world
I bought myself a ticket for a calligraphy workshop as a Christmas present in January 2018 and after a lot of evenings of practice and planning, a few months later I left my full-time job to launch ERA Calligraphy (wow, thats so brave, amazing! Liz)
How would you describe your style or are you influenced by the client’s desire/theme?
My stationery is contemporary and refined and is always influenced by my client’s vision for their wedding too. The process of working with me is a collaborative one and includes lots of discussion and shared inspiration before my design work begins
Then, the style will be influenced by the couple’s vision for their day; their colour palette, and formality will often be reflected in their stationery, as well as other more personal details such as floral or venue illustrations to give their guests a first glimpse at some of the details that they can expect to see on the wedding day. These details are always such a joy to work on as they make each couple’s stationery entirely unique and personal to them
Where do you get inspiration for your designs and is there a current trend?
Having studied Fine Art at university before beginning my career working in auction houses, Art, Design, Architecture, Interior Design and Decorative Objects have always provided great inspiration for my work
From colour palettes and texture to pattern and composition, there is so much inspiration to be found not only in art, but also in the galleries and museums that house great art – we’re so lucky in London to have so many amazing galleries to visit for inspiration!
What is your favourite flower?
For me, there’s nothing quite like the scent and big blousy petals of English summer flowers like Sweet Pea, Foxglove and Peony. I also discovered Hollyhocks this summer too which I find amazing – I love anything architectural in size or shape
What information do you need to know when meeting a new client for the first time?
The first questions are quite logistical – the location of the wedding can impact when you might choose to send your stationery. For example, for a destination wedding it would be helpful to send your stationery as early as possible to allow guests to make travel arrangements, whereas there wouldn’t be as much time pressure if you choose to get married in your home city. It’s also important to know how many guests and households you’ll invite to your wedding
After these details have been discussed, we’ll talk about your ideas for your design, your preferred printing processes and any finishing touches that you’d like to add to your suite of stationery
What sort of lead time do you need when taking on a project?
The lead time will depend on the type of stationery that you are ordering, the amount of detail that you’d like to incorporate and the time of year too (lead times during the summer wedding season will be longer). For a commission to write your wedding vows or readings in calligraphy or writing your place cards in calligraphy I would suggest a lead time of between 2-4 weeks, depending on the time of year
However, for a bespoke printed full suite of wedding stationery, the lead time could be quite a lot longer, particularly during the busier summer months. I always allow three rounds of changes within my pricing structure, and I often suggest that you take a few days to look over each design before sending through any changes. I would suggest getting in touch 8-12 weeks before you hope to send your stationery
If you’re looking for a speedier turnaround, I do also offer a House Collection of partially customisable wedding stationery which allows you to choose key design details such as ink and card colours and your printing processes too. The turnaround on the house collection could be anywhere between 2-4 weeks
Obviously, you can supply more than one wedding per weekend but is there a limit on your time across a year/season?
Absolutely – it’s great to be able to work with more clients during the busier seasons! I don’t have a limit to the number of couples that I work with, but I always suggest getting in touch with me as early as you can to ensure that I have availability and to book a window in my calendar!
Do you have fixed prices for your work or is each package tailored to the client?
The work that I create for each and every client is as unique as the couples themselves. It’s so important to me that every couple I work with feels that their wedding stationery reflects their personality and vision for their wedding. Because of all of the options available, and because no two suites of stationery are the same, I create a bespoke quote for every client that I work with following an initial consultation or phone call
What is the most fun part of your job?
Collaboration! I love working with couples to help realise their vision for their wedding stationery and collaborating with individuals from the wedding industry is always so inspiring and rewarding too
I’m such a people person and after leaving my corporate job I was a little worried that I would miss working as part of a team, but I have met so many brilliant creative and driven people since launching my business that this has never been a problem, I feel very lucky!
(These two images are from a shoot that Ellie and I worked on together and showcases her wonderful work Liz)
What is the most important part of your job?
Delivering the finished stationery to my clients; whether it’s an entire suite of wedding stationery, a calligraphy commission or stationery for the day of their wedding, there is absolutely no feeling more joyful than receiving the delighted feedback from my clients when their stationery is more beautiful than they could have imagined
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years’ time?
Though I am a big planner, 2020 has thrown so many more challenges at us than I think anyone could ever have imagined. However, what it has shown is how adaptable I’m able to be as a small business. At the start of the pandemic I don’t think I’d have believed everything that I would achieve as I pivoted my business this year, so I think what I’d say about the future really is, who knows – anything is possible! Working with my couples to realise their stationery dreams is such a pleasure, and I can’t wait to help bring the details of those weddings to life in the future, as I think we all well and truly deserve a HUGE party!
What makes you laugh?
Spending time with my family and friends is always the recharge that I need, a bit of time away from work laughing with friends is a great reminder to keep my priorities balanced too!
Ellie definitely has a style of her own but she is also very adaptable to her client's tastes and wishes... check out her portfolio and maybe try your hand at calligraphy with one of her brand new Modern Calligraphy Kits, available in Liberty or from Ellie direct xx