Interview: Lucy Brackin
Wanderlust Paper Co. are a wonderful company that sell gorgeous card designs. I was lucky enough to have an interview with them about their new designs and company.
Hello Wanderlust Paper Co.! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?
I’m great thanks, it’s lovely and sunny where we are in Sussex today so that always puts me in a good mood!
Describe your style in a few words.
Nostalgic, contemporary, whimsical.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I have always loved making things. I grew up near Brighton and have been living in Oxford for the last few years. I studied Fine Art at university there and graduated in the summer of 2016. While on my degree course I started playing around with 35mm cameras and fell in love with the painterly quality of film, and that lead me on to designing products with my photography as well as making art.
I fell in love with your shop from the start. What made you want to start your own shop?
In my second year of university it dawned on me that my life in Oxford wouldn’t last forever! I loved the freedom and creativity of a fine art degree so I wanted to find an outlet for my creativity that could earn me a living once I had graduated. I have always loved sending letters and struggled to find greetings cards that I wanted to buy, so I played with the idea of creating my own and everything started from there. As an artist I have always loved working with paper and I noticed there weren’t many luxury greetings cards featuring photography.
Why did you decide on Wanderlust Paper Co. as the name?
Wanderlust refers to the physical journey that greetings cards take as they travel from sender to recipient. I also wanted to evoke a sense of travelling and of memories in our designs, reflecting the origins of the photographs we use.
Why is the concept of design and creating things by hand important to your work?
Well I have always loved great design. I genuinely think it can make people’s lives better. I get such a joy from using beautifully designed products in my day-to-day life, so I want to take the same joy from designing my own products. There is such a lovely feeling about making something by hand, whether it’s a piece of pottery or a painting. I handprint all of my cards and there’s something lovely about being part of the production process yourself, rather than outsourcing to larger printing companies.
How does working by hand change your creative approach?
It definitely makes me consider the time that it will take to make each product. I like to have lots of items in stock so that if I receive a large order I’m not up printing all night!
How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?
My fine art degree really helped me to develop my own aesthetic and this enabled me to create a strong brand identity with Wanderlust. Other than that it’s really been a process of teaching myself things over time. Over the last few years I have gradually learnt more about film photography- when I first picked up a film camera I knew nothing! And since February I have been teaching myself how to hot foil print on to my cards. I’m still learning but gradually feel more like I know what I’m doing!
What equipment do you use for your work?
I recently purchased a vintage printing press and it has become a pretty essential part of the production process! It was quite scary to invest in but it has transformed our products. It is called a Blockmaster and allows me to hot foil print onto our cards, creating beautiful metallic text.
What tools or materials could you not live without?
Definitely my film camera! I have a few but my Olympus OM10 is my go to just because I am so familiar with it and it’s easy to use. I love to have a camera on me at all times in case I spot something that could be used for my designs or my art. My Dad bought me a medium format camera for Christmas and I am excited to start using that- it’s one of the ones with two lenses and is absolutely beautiful.
What’s your typical working day?
My days really vary. Owning a business means you take on so many roles, whether it’s designing, advertising, manufacturing our products, packing orders, working out our finances- it’s endless! So it’s really a mixture of these things, and I often like to go on day trips for inspiration. I think the best thing about owning your own business is being able to work anywhere, whether it’s a lovely coffee shop or from my own bed! I live by the sea so try to take walks along the beach everyday as a break from working at home.
What are you currently working on?
Bizarrely enough I am just finalizing some of our Christmas card designs for later this year! Retailers start to buy stock for Christmas around May so it means we are often working on seasons 8-10 months in advance. Just before I sat down to write this interview I was printing ‘Let It Snow’ onto lots of snowflake cards!
Which area of your work do you find the most fulfilling?
Designing is obviously a real joy and I wouldn’t enjoy what I do if it didn’t allow for that creativity. But selling products also feels really good! It’s nice to feel like people are understanding and appreciating your work, and I absolutely love packaging up the orders we receive.
Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?
Social media has been crucial to growing my business. When I started out I had barely any money, so couldn’t afford to spend much on new products let alone advertising. Having a strong, regular presence on platforms such as Instagram is free and it allows you to put your brand in front of so many people. A lot of our stockists come from Instagram.
What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?
Definitely selling! As a creative person the designing part is relatively easy, but I had no idea how much work would need to go in to marketing and selling my product. It’s taken me a while to learn how best to promote my business and I’m definitely still learning. I’ve learnt to be creative when it comes to selling as well as designing, because lots of people are trying to get their products in to shops so you have to find ways of contacting them that stand out against everybody else.
What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram and Facebook page?
I am trying to post a lot more regularly on both platforms, especially Instagram. Over the next year we’re going to be sharing news and new products on Instagram and Facebook, as well as discount codes and freebies.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to set up their own shop?
My first piece of advice would be to just do it! I genuinely think being proactive and getting stuff done is the biggest barrier to success. It’s really hard setting up your own business but the people who push through all the difficulties are the ones who are successful, not necessarily the people selling the best product. I’ve learnt to be resilient and to see problems as things to be solved rather than obstacles that can’t be passed. I would also really recommend using Instagram to design businesses. It helps you to raise awareness of your brand, and you can also follow existing businesses and their owners to get an insight into an industry that you might not know much about when you’re just starting out.
Please follow this wonderful company and take a look at their website ‘http://www.wanderlustpaper.co’. They have some beautiful cards and designs in stock.