by Jessika Hepburn, O Happy Day Handmade
Pixie Chicago is a new Chicago based company specializing in beautiful handmade paper designs such as cards, invitations and personalized stationery. In this interview Pixie Chicago’s owner/designer, Cassie, shares some thoughts on quitting her day job to do what she loves and the inspiration behind her designs.
1. Please share a bit about yourself and your work with our readers
I was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and just absolutely love it here. I attended art college in the city which was amazing because all of the museums and culture surrounding me. When you live in a city like Chicago inspiration for designing is all around you.
My goal with Pixie Chicago is to remind people how intimate and wonderful a thoughtful card or note can be. I want to bring back the personalized touch of a simple piece of mail, whether it be a handwritten thank you note or an exquisitely crafted special occasion invitation.
2. Pixie Chicago creates beautiful paper goods- how did you come to the decision to launch a handmade stationery company?
I started my career off designing for an advertising agency with big clients like P&G and Miller Lite. I created stationery and invitations for friends and family on the side and started to work up quite a portfolio of work and thought it would be a great idea to create a website to sell my designs. It took about a year for me to realize that if I wanted to do this I would have to be 100% devoted, so I quit my ad job and PixieChicago.com was born.
3. You have recently launched a new website and there is mention of letterpress cards in the works, what else do you have planned for Pixie Chicago in the future?
Letterpress is DEFINITELY in the near future, I recently took a letterpress class at Columbia College and am now ready to begin the process. I especially can’t wait to work on something people may not know I do, wedding invitations. Right now they are completely custom and made to order, but I think once I get a strong portfolio of wedding invitations I will create a sister site to Pixie to specialize in weddings. Also, I have already received lots of interest about selling some of my cards as art prints. I think it is important for companies to keep adding new items to their inventory so consumers will keep coming to their site. No one likes to go to their favorite clothing store and see last year’s trends, right?
4. How do you market and promote Pixie Chicago (website, ads, Etsy, in-stores etc)?
I started Pixie on Etsy but have not had much luck with sales there, PixieChicago.com generates most of my sales with the help of friends, family, and social networking spreading the word. Since I am new, I just started to market to stores around the Chicagoland area and most seemed very interested, which is exciting! I also have reached out to a few different websites about either selling Pixie cards or having me design for them. So stay tuned!
5. What inspires your designs, do you have a favourite colour palette/style?
I thank my guilty pleasure, shopping, for about 75% of my creative designs. The latest clothing trends can often be reflected in other designs that you see during that time period, such as household decorations, colors, accessories, etc. A perfect example of this is the 1970’s, the shaggy bright lime green and orange carpets definitely reflected the clothing style of that era.
So when I browse through websites for clothes & accessories, I often find myself creating an outfit and being inspired by the colors and shapes which can translate into a design on paper. When I truly am inspired I will make a little storyboard of my inspiration along with the final design (see the inspiration for Birds on Branches above). It is easy to design items for yourself and your friends, but it is important to stay focused on what is selling in the marketplace.
6. Do you have any advice to share with other handmade stationery designers?
Hard work will pay off. My mother drilled this in me as a child and I truly believe in it. Somedays I am feeling lost and orders are slow but as soon as I snap out of that groove and get back to working and promoting things pick up. It is easy to get down about your work not selling, just be sure that you are marketing your product to the right people and you stay on top of it, orders will start to roll in. It is hard to start your own company, way harder than I expected, but at the end of the day I know I am as successful as the work I put into it.