This week is one of the scarier weeks I’ve had.
With a push of a button (or more accurately, “the click of a mouse”), I am putting it all out there for the world (or at least a good number of people) to see. For nearly a decade I have dreamed, concepted, hustled, cried, laughed, designed and developed a product line from start to finish; a goal that’s been around ever since my freshman year of college.
When I started Wit & Delight in 2009, the goal was to build a network of design clients that reflected work in which I was passionate about. At the time I was designing liquor bottles and logos for tech companies, which left me with some creative energy to put towards a side hustle. I’ve always been a fast worker and often found myself with downtime during the day, in which I would usually indulge in my favorite vice: design blogs. I would pour over O.G. bloggers like Design Milk, Oh So Beautiful Paper, Mint, Design Crush, etc. I dreamt of taking my design degree and creating items that I wanted or needed for my home, my office, or to give to my friends and family. Maybe opening a small boutique, but not much more.
While a product line has always been the goal, I got sidetracked (and a little overwhelmed at just where to begin) as one often does. Life happens, work happens, things get pushed to the back burner.
Until recently, that is.
In 2015, I was approached to design a line of tech products for a large retailer. While excited about this project, I lacked confidence. The first go-round was a success, so I was asked to do another. Then another. With every project, my belief in myself and knowledge of the process grew.
January of last year, I was approached for another project, with my involvement limited to art and pattern. Being a bit of a control freak, I began asking questions about construction, and materials, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing. Coming out the other side, I had somewhat accidentally designed both lines from start to finish, top to bottom. I was responsible for the leather quality to the color and weight of the zipper pull. The choices made were reflective of what I valued in a product: well-designed, functional, and accessible.
With the success of the last go-round and the resolution that I most certainly could do this, I was ready to jump into the deep end with product.
Knowing this was my chance, I wanted to make sure it was done right and that it was a reflection of not only who I am, but a definition of what Wit & Delight is to our readers. Before I fully began this initiative, we were waiting for the right partner to come along, and that’s where Design Loop came into play as a supplier, manufacturer, and wholesale provider.
Together, we made something I’m really, really proud of. Using the same filters to define our content that we use to develop a product: if it isn’t adding value, whether it be enjoyment, ease of use, or the opportunity to connect with yourself or another human, we don’t make it. Not only did we develop a core line of product that we’re calling our Essentials Collection we expanded upon those core pieces and created a line inspired by the personalities of the community being built here. Here is a taste of what our entire W&D Stationery Collection looks like:
Here you can view our entire extended W&D Stationery Collection (and place wholesale orders, too). We wanted our readers to find a little bit of their personality in each piece, which means we’ve included virtually every color in the rainbow somewhere in our product offering. Together, we think it’s pretty easy on the eyes!
The entire process took over a year, and I spent most of my time during (and after) Birdie was born working with Design Loop on getting the wholesale side of our business up and running. I’m so proud to finally say that the Wit & Delight stationery line is available in-store at Paper Source, Sugar Paper LA, Oxford Exchange, Pink Print Co, Archer Paper, Flax Pen to Paper, Golden Rule Collective, Epitome Papers, Typo Market and Paper Trail.
Not only was it exciting to think about bringing our product into retailers, it got me thinking about opening our own shop as a way to connect with readers through product experiences, events in our studio space, and offer collaborations with other designers and artists we admire.
So, in addition to sharing our whole collection with you today… we’re also introducing (eek) our official W&D Shop* which holds our Essentials Collection, a limited line of prints, affirmation cards, and notecard bundles that are a core expression of our brand. We’re starting small, ensuring we do it right; not only for our customers but for ourselves.
No man is an island, and any good designer knows that you can’t create in a bubble, this decade-long, labor of love has not only consumed me but my family, friends, and the team here at Wit & Delight. This line has gone through many, many inceptions and rounds of product testing. It’s all been very scientific, I assure you.
What’s next, you ask?
Well, we’ve already finished designing our fall line and we’re working on expanding our product categories. I’m working on getting our @shopwitanddelight IG up and running, your go-to for all things W&D product, from process to inspiration (we will also be adding new product and colorways via this channel).
This is just the beginning. Not too shabby from a woman that was once called too “scatterbrained” to be president of her sorority.
As always, we want to hear from you: the good, the bad, and (especially) the ugly. Shoot any thoughts or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m both humbled and excited to build this brand with you, for you and inspired by you.
*In addition to designing a line of stationery, I thought that it would be an excellent idea to develop an e-comm site. On our own. From scratch (well, kinda from scratch). While I was pregnant.
BY Kate Arends - May 2, 2018
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.