Welcome to our new blog series in which we chat to other style-focussed contemporary creatives to find out all about their small businesses and the people behind them.
The similarities don’t end there – we love that Retro Press uses a traditional craft, redesigned to have a fresh and modern look. Owners Lauren and Kate love designing unique stationery, and it really shows in their attention to detail – they’re perfectionists, just like Jacks. Plus, they also have a studio dog.
Their creativity seemingly knows no bounds, as they create extra luxe touches such as personalised wax seals (with a stamp that you can keep as a momento after your big day) and unique table placeholders – have a look at this amazing calligraphy on bottles as a table plan, and names printed on tambourines and shells.
Kate set up the business in 2012, with Lauren joining her 4 years later. Together with their little Dachshund Lewi, they make an unstoppable dream team, designing and printing their bespoke stationery from their home studio in the Cotswolds.
It’s clear that Kate and Lauren pour their all into every design to make sure your wedding stationery is perfect. They take great pride in making stationery which is both functional and beautiful, and are on a mission to make it an unforgettable element of your wedding day.
Retro Press co-owner, illustrator, and production and enquiries girl Lauren took a few minutes to let us know a little more about their creative small business.
1. Why did you start Retro Press?
After mastering the art of letterpress at university and going on to intern at the famous Hatch Show Print in Nashville Tennessee, all I wanted to do was start my own print company. I fell into weddings when a friend asked me to apply my skills for her wedding invitations. As the years went on, we traded letterpress for hot foiling… and we’ve never looked back!
2. How did you come up with the name of your small business?
The art of letterpress is vintage, or ‘Retro’ and I work on a ‘Press’ for all our printing, so it seemed to make sense.
3. What is your personal favourite stationery service, and why?
Hot foiling undoubtedly – the embossed impression in the paper, the wide range of colours we can achieve… it’s a luxurious finish and adds so much tactility to your stationery. We just love it.
4. How has the wedding industry changed over the past couple of years?
Naturally, the pandemic changed the scope of the wedding industry dramatically – we had no work for almost 12 months, and that was a challenging time. However, the upshot was that when weddings finally could go ahead, our couples wanted to go big.
Weddings were bigger and better than ever, and our couples wanted to go all-out with the stationery.
So from a year of nothing, to the next 2 years being the most creative yet was the best consolation prize.
5. Tell us about a time you helped bring an unusual request to life for your wedding couple
We do a lot of bespoke illustrations, and they are so much fun to do. We had a couple who were farmers, and they asked us to draw 9 bespoke illustrations of cows… who knew there were so many varieties of cow? We didn’t, but we do now!
6. What’s the loveliest thing a customer or fan has said about Retro Press that still makes you smile now?
We’ve had quite a few couples tell us how much they’re going to miss receiving a Retro Press parcel in the post, as it’s been their most exciting part of their wedding journey. In fact, one of our 2022 brides wants to renew her vows next year, just so we can do more stationery for her – that’s pretty lovely.
7. Sing the praises about an organisation or professional that helped you on your small business journey
A venue that we really love to work with is Lapstone Barn, a wedding venue in the Cotswolds. They constantly champion us, and almost insist that all their couples get in touch with us first.
From the best spot at their wedding fairs, to always reposting our work on Instagram, they are our favourite venue to work with. Katie and her team at Lapstone Barn are brilliant at what they do.
8. What’s your one tip for helping couples make the most of their bespoke wedding stationery?
To trust us with bringing their vision to life. It’s something we love to do, and being given creative freedom led by ideas from our couples always ends up with something really special.
Oh, and time! Give us enough notice to make everything you want a reality.
9. What’s a lovely thing you are looking forward to over the next 12 months of running Retro Press?
I think this next 12 months will be a challenge – cost of living will inevitably affect every small business and the wedding industry. That being said, we have so many amazing couples in the diary, and we just can’t wait to get working with them all. This year sees our biggest wedding yet; 300 guests for a 4-day wedding at Ragley Hall – we’re extremely excited to work on this one.
10. As recommended by you
We asked Kate and Lauren to recommend 3 podcasts, blogs, or Instagram accounts that they’d recommend to other small business owners…
For the best advice ever on how to maximise your exposure and build your client base.
Gives you an amazing insight into such a variety of people and industries
Great for instagram posts and story advice… and it’s got a lovely aesthetic.