Isn’t it funny how serendipitous life is sometimes?? Elizabeth from Cherry Laurel Studio started following me on social media recently and I was so glad because that simple follow introduced me to her shop!! The Georgia-based designer named her Southern studio and business after her great grandmother’s home in Laurel, Mississippi. As Elizabeth says, “This stately Southern charmer’s legacy is at the root of how we approach design, romance message and spin stories. Think hospitality. Think all the details, all taken care of. Think a little southern comfort splashed right into the work.” Read on to learn more about the shop’s history and Elizabeth’s thoughts on email vs. handwritten cards… xoxo
Tell me about Cherry Laurel Studio. What’s the inspiration behind its launch?
I went to design school at NC State in Raleigh, NC, and though I swore I was going into digital design, something about the hand processes kept drawing me back. Every time I had a miserable day at work, I’d whine that I was born at the wrong time and that I hated working on the computer. Finally, some lead type was gifted to me and the seed was planted. I bought my first press on eBay shortly thereafter and the rest is history. The name comes from the name of my great grandmother’s house in Laurel, MS. When I was brainstorming business names, I looked to my own family history for inspiration and Cherry Laurel was the name that just kept bubbling up as a keeper.
When did you become interested in stationery and design?
I grew up with an artist mother, so design and art are part of my genetic makeup. I remember trolling the office supplies aisle of the grocery store every time we went, looking for any kind of cute paper product or new pen I might beg for. And as soon as I found out what a graphic designer was — which was about 5th grade — I was relentless about becoming one! They had the best toys!
Why do you think a handwritten note is so important, as opposed to a quick text or email?
There’s something so thoughtful, honest and elegant about handwritten notes, even if you feel your handwriting is terrible. To take the trouble to sit down, collect your thoughts and put your pen to pretty paper and then to go through the process of mailing it speaks volumes of consideration for your recipient. It transforms a simple acknowledgement (in the content of your letter) into something sublime. Especially when you send that message on beautiful stationery. Buy the best stationery you can reasonably afford, and you will always make an impact when you send it.
What are your top 3 tips for writing the perfect note?
Keep it personal. Nobody likes to receive a form letter — even if it’s handwritten! If you’re writing a thank-you note, be specific about why you are so thankful. If you are writing a sympathy note, share a personal memory about the deceased that will always stay with you. If you are writing a simple catch-up note, refer to something you both share or the last time you saw each other or what you look forward to at the next visit. Keep it gracious. There’s that classic golden rule, and it applies to notes too. And finally, don’t make it too short. One or two sentences is probably not enough to convey your message. And bonus tip: Better late than never!
What is your favorite piece in your shop and why?
I am still in love with my WWVD card because it feels like such an inside joke with customers. I originally printed it as my own personal laugh, then sold it to see if anyone shared my humor and it took off! I retired it for a couple of years and literally had people begging me to bring it back.
I am also quite fond of my Bushel and a Peck card, because of the stories I get from customers. For many, it’s related to a childhood memory. For one particular customer who gifted it to her quite elderly grandmother, it has become something so special between them that I cried when she told me her story. I love that a simple card can make such a hugely positive impact.
Thank you for sharing your story, Elizabeth!! Be sure to visit Cherry Laurel Studio and check out these shops for more inspiration too! xoxo