January 11, 2020
Introducing Natalie of Off the Beaten Press (Richmond Calligrapher and Stationer)
I absolutely believe in the mantra “community over competition”. Without other wedding vendors adopting this philosophy, my business would never exist. The support of like-minded wedding professionals and photographers is what helped launch my business this year. I want to give back!
Every week, I am going to be highlighting a local wedding vendor and professional. I’ve interviewed a number of local vendors about their business and what they love most about serving couples.
Choosing the right vendors can be the make or break of your wedding day. My hope is to provide you and your fiancé with a resource that helps you build your wedding day dream team!
After introducing you to lots of talented planners and videographers, I am happy to share this interview with Natalie! Natalie Kay is a super creative calligrapher and pressman/stationer in Richmond, VA!
Her work is incredible and intrinsic! You are going to fall in love with the attention to detail and beauty that she puts into her art. So let’s get to know the heart behind the art! Here’s Natalie…
My name is Natalie Kay, and my small business is called Off the Beaten Press. I am a pressman and calligrapher located in Richmond, Virginia, focusing on all paper products from letter-pressed wedding invitations to calligraphy signage & illustrated keepsakes. I also teach classes in letterpress printing and calligraphy at a local art center.
While I have always had a side hustle all through college, I started Off the Beaten Press when I purchased my first large letterpress machine in 2014. His name is Preston, and he weighs around 800 pounds!
I was trained as a graphic designer in school and found my full time job focusing heavily on computer work and web design. I knew I wanted to make something with my hands in my off hours and found letterpress to be a perfect fit. Stationery for events naturally followed, and I added calligraphy a few years later.
I offer the ability to tell your love story with custom design throughout the whole day. I work with couples with a whole range of budgets and ideas to bring their vision to life.
I am a one-stop-shop. Many other wedding stationery businesses need to outsource the printing or calligraphy work and I can provide everything in house. This makes the process go a lot smoother and there is less back and forth with other vendors.
Be flexible. I find the happiest couples come into planning with an open mind and take each step of the planning process in stride.
This year, I had the treat of working on my little brother’s wedding invitations. It allowed me the opportunity to hear lots of his wedding details up front and ensure that the first piece of mail guests saw would set the mood for their wedding day. Designing with his fiancé also gave me unique time to get to know her as they planned, and it brought us closer together. I am thankful that my small business got to play a part in their day.
Ask about the process! Letterpress is incredibly hands on, and the work that goes into printing often gets lost in translation. If you have access to a vendor with a speciality like letterpress, I recommend asking them all the nitty gritty details. Not only will you get to learn something new and get to know the vendor themselves more, but you’ll get to appreciate the work that goes into your final products. When I am printing a customer’s invitations, I take pictures of each step so they can feel included along the way.
This will sound silly, but answering emails on time! Since I have a full-time job, and emails come in at all hours, it can be hard to get back to new potential clients in a timely manner. I have to wait until the evenings or weekends for long-winded emails! My goal is to better structure myself to give timely replies!
This year, I got the chance to do some spot calligraphy for an event with Maker’s Mark. I loved getting to show off how I use a dip pen, talk to customers while I work. and see their immediate reactions at getting something custom made. So often I work at home and then ship off the finals to a client so it was a joy to be there in person and feel like I was a part of the action!
Natalie, I am so impressed by your craft! I had no idea that letterpress was still being done by hand the way you do it. You offer couples something so unique that they can proudly share with their guests on their big day!
If you loved learning more about Natalie and Off the Beaten Press, you’re going to love her portfolio even more! Find her at her website and Instagram to see more from her. And if you are in need of a Richmond Calligrapher / Pressman, and you want Natalie and I to both have a hand in your big day, Contact Me to get all the details!!
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Serving brides and grooms in the Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, & Maryland region... and beyond!
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