Wedding Sparrow desert elopement editorial piece

You should head on over to WeddingSparrow.com to have a look at the beautiful photos taken in Vantage, Washington.  The setting was stunning and the details were amazing.

You will wish it was the setting for your event.

silk ribbon bouquet

We were honored to be a small part of the day and are delighted with how it turned out.

Lots of talent and hard work went into making this happen.

 

http://weddingsparrow.com/article/organic-desert-elopement-in-vantage

Wedding Experts! That’s what they called us!

The Seattle Bride Magazine just shared a link on Facebook that talks about an article we contributed to, and they called us “experts”.

Ha! We fooled them, didn’t we?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Of-The-Earth/

Here’s a direct link to the article.

http://seattlebridemag.com/expert-wedding-advice

We come off sounding pretty good actually.  The quote is taken from a larger message they asked us to contribute last year.  You can find the complete message here on our blog if you do some digging.

 

Seattle Bride Feature – A question of etiquette for the modern couple

Seattle Bride Magazine Cover

As a wedding professional with 20 years experience, I am regularly consulted on proper etiquette.  I always reply with two things in mind; what I already know about the event in question and what would kindness dictate?

In most answers I attempt to influence my customer with kindness as the guiding principal.  Should we include everyone’s name on the invitation or just the bride’s parents if they are issuing the invitation?  If you risk hurting someone’s feelings, choose kindness.  Should we send thank you notes to every guest that attended or only ones that brought gifts?  Were you happy that they attended?  Send them a note to express your thanks.  Choose kindness.  Should we include information about our gift registry on our invitation?  Do you want your guest to feel like a gift is their admission ticket to your wedding?  Don’t mention gifts with your invitation.  Having your family and friends witness your wedding vows has nothing to do with loot and everything to do with supporting the new couple from the very beginning of the sometimes rocky journey that is a marriage.  Choose kindness.  Don’t cheapen your ceremony with the slightest impression of greed.

If someone is asking their invitation guy for advice; they are either trying to find out quickly without doing their own research or they are checking to see if their mom is really right.  In most cases, mom is right so listen to her first.  She represents half of the invited guests and knows what is common or appropriate for those guests.  You may need to temper what mom offers up as there are two families being joined and they may have different ideas of what is proper.  This can be based on cultural or regional etiquette that is best to work out with the families involved.  What this becomes is a learning moment for the bride and groom, one of many in the planning of the event.  You need to ask the question of each other “Is it important to you that we are formal or casual in our planning and execution for our event?  Once you agree on the tone you can ensure that you follow the etiquette that represents the proper level of formality.

To ensure that you follow proper etiquette for your event you really have to have a conversation (or several) with your parents, with your bride or groom to be, with your wedding planner, and even with your invitation guy.  Once you have gathered the myriad opinions I suggest you make your decision based on kindness.  There really are a million ways you can plan your special day and once you have decided what is proper for your event, there will be opinions contrary to yours.  If you do choose kindness, it will never be the wrong answer.

Kevin Graham

January 14, 2015

Of The Earth

A quote from this article was published on page 50 in the January 2015 edition of the Seattle Bride Magazine.

 

 

 

End of the year recap – Looking forward to 2015

This time of year always has us scrambling; rushing to pack and ship orders in time for the holidays, rushing to get gifts wrapped for friends and family, rushing to complete our end of year inventory, rushing up and down I-5 to visit our loved ones.

Now that the new year has begun the next rush is on.  Our annual local bridal show begins next weekend at the Washington State Convention center which was built right over I-5 where it passes through the center of downtown Seattle.  We have new designs to add to our existing line of plantable invitations.  We have new equipment going into this bridal season that we bought at last year’s Stationery Show in NY.  We have just 7 more days to put the finishing touches on the invitations that we hope resonate with our Seattle customers.

Once that show is over we begin building a new (sturdier) crate for the NY Gift Show that runs Jan 31 – Feb 4 at the Javits center.  At the end of February we are excited to be participating for the first time in the largest show of its kind in the nation: The SewExpo http://www.sewexpo.com/.  We are excited to be part of the show and look forward to meeting many of you there.

We are excited to see what these next few months bring but want to give a quick shout out to a couple of our 2014 customers who shared their photos with us.

Here is a photo of our Earth Silk ribbon that Heather Edgar sent.

customer photo2

She runs her own business: Evergreen Flower Co. of Columbus, Ohio and was kind enough to send these beautiful photographs.  Thanks Heather!

Earth Silk ribbon on a flower bouquet.

Earth Silk ribbon on a flower bouquet.

One thing we love about the Seattle Wedding Show is the special connections we make with our local brides.  We met Rebecca and Thomas at last year’s wedding show along with Rebecca’s mom.  They were that couple you meet who you can see married forever, their shared energy and enthusiasm were infectious.  We had a great time working with them on all of their wedding plans, this pair was doing it all!  They loved that we offered so many do it yourself options as they were planning to do just as much as they could (including making their own rings).  After their event they shared their wedding web site with us (which is where this photo is from).  You should take a look!

Seattle couple assembles Of The Earth invitations at home.

Seattle couple assembles Of The Earth invitations at home.

Lastly we were excited to work on these holiday cards with a great creative team from Darien, Connecticut.  Thanks for letting us share your project Jim!  GW Hoffman

Front of seed paper holiday card.

Inside of seed paper holiday card.

Inside of seed paper holiday card.

 

The trouble with online reviews – How do you decide who to listen to?

A close friend of mine just had one of the worst weeks a small business owner can have. There are many challenges we face and overcome from every angle you can imagine but one of the toughest is from difficult people. He had to fire an employee this week that may end up dragging out into much drama over the next several months (or even years if it goes all courtroom). I think the hardest part for him were the very personal attacks that this employee threw around like so many dangerous, virulent seeds. These squeaky wheels get so much more attention than they deserve and as the one under attack, we often feel that there must be some truth to their accusations, otherwise they wouldn’t be saying those hurtful things right? Not so. Some people are only happy when they are stepping on other people. We need to be able to filter those people out.

With that in mind I have found a way to address an unhappy individual that I dealt with last November. I wanted to respond to her Yelp review, I wanted to find her own Yelp business page and leave her a few choice comments, I wanted to scream and throw a tantrum, but I chose to not dignify her comments with a response. And then today we received a lovely email from a customer and this is how I have decided to address the issue; by speaking about it here on our own blog.

Thanks for reading and understand that in our very connected world your every action has the ability to ripple into far greater lengths than ever before, so be nice!

Hi Kevin!

I happened to go on Yelp today and noticed that you have two Of The Earth pages on Yelp…and the more current one has only one review, a repeat of the one negative review from your original page. I wrote my own review with five stars, but combined with that other one you still only have a 3-star average.

If you didn’t create that Yelp page you can probably claim it and delete it — it’s better not to have two, so you should be able to just update the address on your original one, I’m not sure about that though. Let me know if you do delete that one and I’ll be happy to put my review on your other page.

Thanks again for the invitations — they are amazing!
Anna

Anna,

Thank you for your message. I am very glad that you are happy with your invitations.

Thanks for the gift of your time in leaving a public review for us. We really do appreciate it. I think Yelp can be a helpful tool (I have used it to find out about yoga studios close to home) but I have a bit of a beef with them (as you might guess) for more than just the Of The Earth listing but also from our many business owner friends who have spoken of their feelings of extortion when dealing with Yelp sales people.

We moved our business last July (and five years prior to that move). When we moved in 2008, our one five star review (at the time) moved with us. When we moved in 2013 to our dismay we discovered that our Yelp page was not going to move with us. Yelp had changed their policies and we had to rebuild, with new images and data our Yelp page for our new location. None of our reviews moved with us.

In December of last year we received our first review on Yelp in our new location. In Yelp’s business plan it made sense to them to ensure that that review was posted on both locations. You see, if we pay Yelp $1000 a month (no joke I talked to them at length) they ensure that any bad reviews are pushed to the bottom of the stack, perhaps even get lost on a back page, as long as the payments keep coming.

In life you have to take a few lumps, so we have put pictures and data and our hours of operation on Yelp but we don’t have to pay them or support them in any way. We also don’t have to tolerate extortion from potential customers, even if that means facing an unpleasant public statement of questionable veracity.

I am excited to read your review and again thank you for taking your time to let folks (on the interwebs) know that you were happy with your experience with us.

Wishing you the best,
Kevin

Kevin Graham
kevin@custompaper.com
www.custompaper.com
Of The Earth
7706 Aurora Avenue North
Seattle WA 98103
1.888.294.1526

Hand addressing envelopes – how to stand out from the junk mail.

Calligraphy sample from Long Village Lettering

How to stand out in the mail

In this incredibly busy week as we gear up for the new bridal season and work on last minute plans for tomorrow’s flight to New York to set up our booth at the National Gift Show in Manhattan I was stopped for a moment, long enough to sit down even to enjoy a piece of mail that the dripping wet postman just delivered.  It was a hand written thank you note from a woman in North Carolina who runs her own Calligraphy business.  She sent us one of our own seed embedded envelopes back in the mail with beautiful hand lettering on the front and a business card and note on the inside.

I think this can stand as a clear testament to the power of the personalized mailing.  I know everyone is busy, I know I am busy, and yet this simple act of handwriting really can stop someone in their tracks for a few moments and draw their attention to the message you are sending.

For all of you brides out their considering printing your guest’s names instead of hand writing them, don’t.  Just take the extra time to let the people (you care enough about to invite to one of the most exciting days of your life) know that you really care.  You really want them there and your own handwriting spells it out for them.  It is that personal touch missing from so many areas of our lives today.  Your extra effort will be noticed and appreciated.  It really does make a difference.

Okay so clearly we don’t all have amazing handwriting like the image above, but still you have family you can enlist to help, you can pick up a book or watch a video demo for pointers and tips on improving your own handwriting.  Start early and it will be manageable, and worth it.

SOUTHERN SPARKLE

Mary Andrews contacted us this week to share photos and details of her wedding via her Real Weddings post on The Etsy Blog.

The gorgeous affair took place in Richmond, Virginia where Mary, a Merchandise lead for Etsy, and Tim, a freelance writer, blogger and food stylist work and live.

All photos by Marvelous Things Photography via The Etsy Blog

mary.wedding

mary wedding.2

 Mary used our seeded paper to create her save-the-date, featured in the invite suite above.  We love working with all our brides, but this was one rather special considering she works for and sourced many of her wedding elements directly from Etsy.  For a list of all Mary’s resources, check out her My Etsy Wedding page.  And to follow Mary and Tim’s love story and their adventures in creating a sustainable life  in Richmond, check out their blog 17 Apart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOG PRESS

It is always a pleasant surprise when we stumble upon our products or work in the blogosphere.  Last week we had a client mention in passing that they had included photos of our seeded paper used on a wedding project in a past blog post.

wedding program on seeded paper

wedding program on seeded paper

wedding menu on our seeded paper

wedding menu our seeded paper

Stacey and Company is an invite, décor and event planning company in California.  We have been working with Stacey since 2007.  She often uses our seeded papers when working with clients who want stylish, green paper options for their events.  We love how this couple used our seeded products throughout the event and also as their take-home gift for their guests.  You can check out the entire post here.

ribbon

The Green Bride Guide is a go-to resource for those searching for “wedding ideas, inspiration and supplies to assist you with planning a green wedding.”  They included our hand dyed silk ribbon as a way to add “glam” to your eco-wedding, and offered some great suggestions for integrating our ribbon into wedding décor. “Speaking of eco-friendly ribbon, there are about a hundred ways to use the stuff in your decorations—from creating sparkling gold garlands to wrapping it around your bouquet. Tie shimmering tendrils to your up-do, or weave some thin strands into the bodice of your dress. Decorate your chairs and tables with ribbon and use it to add some metallic accents to your ring pillow or flower girl basket. The possibilities are endless.”  One of our favorite uses so far has been a wedding background trellis covered by streamers of silk that gently move in the slightest breeze, we are still trying to get Pearl and Godiva to share their images with us (nudge nudge).  You can check out the Green Bride Guide post in it’s entirety here.

Thank you Stacey and Company and Green Bride Guide  for supporting our work!

 

 

 

Love and Marriage – Seattle style

I was recently asked on our Of The Earth Facebook page if we would have a problem working with a couple from the LGBT community.  For those of you who don’t know that stands for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender.

Here is her question:

I want to share your page because I think this is pretty awesome but I need to know if you have a problem with doing invites for LGBT before I do. I would have in boxed but I couldn’t. So you can delete this and inbox me. (I’m not starting trouble, just don’t want to promote to my friends who are in the LGBT community if you don’t offer them services). Thanks.

And my reply:

Of The Earth Myssi – The best part about working in the wedding industry is being in constant contact with people who are head over heels in love with each other. It doesn’t matter who they are, how old or young, how fit or flabby, their skin color, political party or gender – we love being a part of folks getting married! The more people we touch with our earth friendly wedding dogma, the better!
I wanted to share this with you here as I have struggled over the years with sharing personal views in a  business setting as it is always important to find new customers and I don’t want to alienate anyone just because we don’t agree on everything.  The time for that timid behavior is over.
 In Washington state people from the LGBT community were finally given the right to marriage equality in December.  This long overdue passing of law should help us as a country continue to recognize how much alike we all are.  In subtle ways the differences between all people should continue this slide into acceptance of one another.  We all struggle in life with real challenges.  Having additional barriers in our way put up by small minded people needs to stop and I am happy to witness that change happening.
As another Valentine’s Day passes I am again reminded that like with the rest of the holidays we celebrate in this country we should not stop celebrating mothers, or fathers, love, the birth of this great country or the veterans that have fought and died defending it just because their respective holiday has passed.  Each day we should celebrate the people in our lives with kindness and love.  Be grateful that you have another day to live and breathe.  Hold doors open for people, smile when you make eye contact with a stranger, tell the people close to you how important they are.  Too soon it is all over and your chance to say the things you wanted to say has passed.
Do it now.  Celebrate every day.  Love universally.
Okay, back to work.
Kevin