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Thursday, 01 May 2014
After getting engaged in 2010, Old Girl Vanessa Barber wasn’t happy with the range of wedding stationery within their budget. She therefore designed and created her own bespoke stationery for her special day. After a surge of interest from guests and requests from other brides-to-be, she launched her own wedding stationery business, Beautiful Ink, just over a year and a half ago.
The business has grown rapidly since then, and has already gained interest from the press. Beautiful Ink was selected as runner up in the Country Business of the Year competition 2012, which is run by Country Homes and Interiors magazine. Vanessa’s quirky designs and tailored service has also received excellent reviews from a number of wedding blogs, and a host of positive comments from her customers.
Vanessa runs Beautiful Ink alongside working full-time as a Senior senior fashion and graphics designer for Focus International, which is part of the JD Sports group.
After leaving Bolton School, she studied Fashion Design at Huddersfield University; during her course, she took a placement year in industry, moving to London and completing internships with Vogue, More magazine and Berube Fashion house. She now designs men’s and ladies’ high street fashion for a wide variety of high street and online retailers. This involves designing exciting commercial ranges of clothing, from initial design concept through to reviewing final garments – and, of course, keeping up with the latest fashion trends!
“I like that every day is different,” Vanessa said of her role at Focus. “I get to design for a number of different brands and clients, and I get to travel to visit trade shows, customers and suppliers, which keeps each day interesting and different. I work with a really great team too so going into work each day is fun.”
Her work as a designer for Beautiful Ink is similarly creative. She offers a range of products, including invitations, maps and directions, RSVP cards, hen and stag party invites, children’s activity books, menus and table plans, and many more. Vanessa works closely with the bride and groom to get a real sense of their wedding theme, any colours they might like, and the kind of style that would suit them. She then creates personalised designs for the couple, offering them drafts to ensure that the finished product is perfect. Every design is as individual as the couple, giving an added special element to the day.
“Juggling a full time career and running a small business is challenging and can take over a lot of my time, so being able to multi-task and be organised is essential,” Vanessa said. “Seeing Beautiful Ink grow the way it has is really rewarding and I’m really glad I took the risk in starting my own business … I’m excited to see how it will continue to grow in the future.”
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