Retailer Profile: Smudge Designs

The mother/daughter duo!

Smudge Designs
Julie Stern and Joanna Stern, Owners
132 Sheppard Avenue West, Suite 210
Toronto, Ontario M2N 1M5
Canada
Tel:  647 347 4343

How long have you been in business?
We have been in business now for 4 years! Whew. 


When did you realize that the stationery business was the right one for you?
My mom (Julie) and I were brainstorming invitation ideas for an anniversary party she was throwing. We were having so much fun together coming up with ideas and researching different printing methods that we never wanted it to end. We love that we can put our crazy ideas to good use.


What part of working with new brides is the most exciting?
I love when the bride receives the final product. Seeing their reaction, seeing how excited and happy they are is always a delight.


When people say, "well it's just paper…it's going to get thrown away anyway" what is your reaction?!
That’s always a tough thing to hear. But custom stationery isn’t for everyone. We just politely tell people that we are very passionate about invitations and the impact they can have on your event. We are true believers that it starts off the wedding, and can really get people excited about the events to follow.


What do you do with card and invites you receive from family and friends?
I love receiving invitations! I have saved every invitation I have received since my bar/bat mitzvah days. They stay on the fridge until the event then they are carefully placed into a memory box.


What tip can you give a bride about the invites she might order?
Make sure to be honest about your budget. I know it’s an icky topic, but it needs to be talked about. We want every client to be comfortable with the amount they are spending, and can work within a budget to create something beautiful. But you have to let us know what that budget is.
 

What is a color combo that you're in love with right now for invites this season?
Anything and everything GOLD! I am dying over gold foil with blush ink. I also like to keep warm in the colder months (Canada gets freezing!) so I find using softer grey’s and pewter tones instead of black help to give the invitation some much needed warmth.


Do you find Pinterest and Facebook helpful when relating with potential clients and how do you utilize social media?
Yes and no. It is always good to have visuals and inspiration to start off the invitation process. Having a client know exactly what they want is always helpful. However, pinterest and facebook can also provide too many options, and it sometimes may be overwhelming. We try and blog as often as we can...it’s a great place to show off recent jobs we have done and it gives a potential client a sense of our style and who we are.


Brides rarely have a clue what they want when they sit down for invites…how do you lead them in the right direction to find their dream invites?
It is perfectly okay not to know what you want! First and most importantly we want them to relax and enjoy the process. It shouldn’t be stressful it should be fun! We like to chat, joke and get to know each other first. We ask the simple questions, do you have wedding colors, is your event formal, are you more traditional or more modern, where is the event taking place. After we have a bit more of an understanding we begin to flip through books and invitations carefully selected by us that we think will fit your needs. We like to sticky note invitations of interest, and we will re-visit them later. Once the bride has selected a couple options, we look at her choices in more detail and begin to customize it more towards her needs.


What trend are you seeing this season for invites?
Foil has been a huge trend this season. It is a great way to jazz up an invitation, and create visual interest. Gold foil especially.


Best advice for bride or bride-to-be about finding the perfect invite suite?!
Forget about trends, forget about what other people are doing, forget about what other people are telling you to do. Focus on what you and your fiancé like and will be happy with.


The Spark sisters met Julie and Joanna at the National Stationery Show in May.  We are thrilled to have them selling our custom letterpress stationery!