A little while ago I was checking out the blog of one of my favourite photographers when I spotted this fabulous shoot with a lovely range of stationery (just one look at my logo and you’ll know I love calligraphy) by a new company called Berin Made, I quickly bookmarked the website thinking I must get in touch for some samples. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I was delighted to receive a lovely email from the Erin herself introducing her company. So without any hesitation I got back in touch and asked Erin a few questions…
What’s your background? (Self taught or design/art school?)
I’ve been making things with my hands for as long as I can remember. My background is in painting with a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martin’s in London. After which I got my MA in Contemporary Art focusing on theory and criticism. I did a lot of art writing and curating work with private collectors too.
Why did you decide to set up Berin Made?
When I graduated I worked in the Post War and Contemporary Art department in a high-profile auction house, but I found myself desperate to create things again. I set up the Etsy shop selling things I had made at home in my spare time. It was at first really just an outlet for my creative itch. But the more time I spent on it, the more I realised that I really enjoyed the prospect of doing this full time, as well as running a small business. I really admired people who ran their small businesses– now I see that it takes a lot of versatility and creative thinking which I just love to do!
How would you describe your style/vision?
I’m naturally attracted to all things floral, colourful and bold. I spent a long time resisting this when I was in Art college because it just wasn’t conceptually “forward-thinking” enough for a fine artist. Over time and as I grew into my practise though, I found that it was OK to embrace this inclination while keeping the look updated and modern. I love that the look of my work sits between timeless hand-painted florals and calligraphy and at the same time appeals to a modern audience, I guess because of the colours and versatility.
Championing creativity is also a huge thing for me. I love making products where clients can customise pieces by themselves, like the hand-lettered name stamp. That’s why I love my DIY projects and styled shoots so much!!
Where do you find your inspiration?
I love the art of calligraphy, hand-lettering, and antique letterforms, so old books and vintage illustrations are definitely a starting point. For colour and pattern I love looking at interior and fashion magazines and shop displays (Anthropologie is such a fast pick-me-up). At the end of the day, my soft spot is and always will be for the masters of painting: Cy Twombly, Peter Doig (although perhaps it will be a while yet for him to be considered a master!), Lucian Freud, Henri Matisse, and the like who have such a heart and soul for colour. The best part for me is somehow to pull these worlds together to work them into my own aesthetic and the look of the brand.
You recently launched your new wedding ‘mix and match’ service can you explain how it works?
The mix and match stationery line is compiled of a swatchbook of illustrated designs, and can be mixed, matched and colour-customised to your hearts’ content. Conceived with the budget-and-design-savvy bride in mind, it aims to champion a love of festive celebration with a unique personal touch, without the price tag of total custom design.
The Swatchbook, much like a sketchbook, is my collection of illustrated and hand-lettered elements where you can explore your ideas and vision, and experiment with mixing, matching and colour-customising what you like best for your invitation set. These elements can be chosen to extend into their enclosures, accessories, day-of paper goods, as well as after-the-day stationery.
On top of all of this, built into the price is a unique hand-lettering of the couple’s names which will feature on their invitation sets. The whimsical flourish of hand-lettering is the perfect emblem in the suite which gives it all the look and luxury of custom invitations.
Invitation sets are printed on a luxurious Colourplan range by GFSmith. Extra finishing such as embossing, debossing, and foil blocking are all supported by this paper range. Since paper is so important, I encourage my clients to order a sample, and it’s fully redeemable with a future order.
What has been your favourite wedding to design for /work on?
Every project brings on its own unique set of challenges and perks so it’s hard to pick just one! I love it when a bride comes to me knowing that I am “the one”. I know this feeling when I got married myself, when approaching a supplier you just know in your heart that you want them to be a part of your big day because their work makes your heart skip a beat. It is wonderful to work for someone who feels that they have found a match in my work! Also I love it when they ask for a product I don’t offer! It sounds strange but I really love that my work can be applied in different ways and I love that challenge of answering a special request!
What do you think couples should be looking for when buying their wedding stationery?
I think that wedding stationery is one thing that couples tend to cut back on their budget on because it is conceived as just a piece of paper. In a sense that is true, but I think there is so much more to it, because it’s such a tangible piece of your wedding and memories that every guest will get to keep after the day. I have kept every single piece of beautiful stationery from friends’ and family’s weddings because tactility can conjure up amazing memories (that’s why scrapbooks and photo albums are such tear-jerkers). So I think it’s important to find a supplier whose work makes your heart skip a beat, who listens to your ideas and accommodate you always where possible.
What advice would you give to couples when planning their wedding?
Have fun with it! It’s a celebration of your lives ahead. This is just day one. I loved my wedding and keep beautiful memories of it but my marriage is even better.
Also, always order a sample– most reputable suppliers will offer this option whether free, or redeemable against your order.
Where do you see the future of Berin Made?
I love doing weddings and have found brides to be so wonderful and exciting to work for. I’d love one day to have enough illustrations to make a beautiful book out of them. Oh, and also homeware. I’d love to get my work produced on fabrics, dinnerware, wallpaper and the like. I already play with some of these ideas in my shop such as my wall vinyl and hand-lettered prints, but hopefully one day I’ll have the opportunity to expand on all of this.
A range of homeware products…now that I’d love to see! Thank you Erin for telling us a little about yourself and Berin Made, for more information please check out her website and order those samples!
Photos courtesy of Berin Made, top and bottom photos by Marianne Taylor