If you’re still on the hunt for holiday cards—or need invites for the long list of parties you’re planning in 2012—here’s a new resource: Kudzu Editions, a stationery design business run by Sleepy Hollow resident Jana Ryan.
Ryan, who set up shop in October and sells some of her cards through Etsy, works with customers to make personalized pieces for a variety of events, including birthdays and weddings.
We asked her a few questions about the new venture. Read on to see what she had to say.
How did you get started doing graphic design?
I love graphic design—typography, history, paper...and designing things that make people happy. My motto with Kudzu is "it's not business, it's personal." Stationery typically precedes something fun, so it's awesome being able to be part of it.
I began my career as an interior/furniture designer. After graduating from UGA [University of Georgia] I made my way to NYC, worked in various roles and eventually landed a job with Laura Kirar. I worked with her for about five years on her product lines (Baker, Tufenkian, McGuire, etc.) before moving to Melbourne, Australia ([My] husband is Australian, we met at a bar in the West Village)
We lived in Melbourne for almost four years. I had time on my hands when we arrived and so I taught myself Adobe Illustrator. The stationery design started with my own wedding stationery. It was a labor of love—I was learning as I went and it took forever!
The 'who did your invites?' led to some projects and the Kudzu seed was planted. Over the next few years I continued to self-teach, did side projects and some photography while still working in interior design. Eventually, the stationery/graphic design took over.
I had a son in the meantime—which was a huge part of the decision making process. Working from home isn't always (ever?) easy, but the freedom it allows me as a parent is invaluable.
Is there a story behind the name Kudzu Editions? When did you set up shop?
Kudzu is a vine that grows ALL over Georgia, where I'm from. It's not native but it's had no problems taking root—I guess that's sort of how I see myself in NY.
Officially, Kudzu started a few months ago, although I have been doing stationery design a lot longer than that.
What inspires your designs?
Laura taught me to look for inspiration in everything: Fashion, history, food, music, travel, nature. And I spend endless hours researching online. My iPhone is full of photos from my daily life.
You have lots of holiday cards on sale in your Etsy shop right now. What’s the process for ordering them? Do you find that people prefer to email or mail cards?
Because of the timing, I decided to open my Etsy shop with holiday cards but I actually design all sorts of personal stationery—lots of weddings and baby announcements—so I'll be adding those to the shop very soon. I also have a website, which is a work in progress but has some other designs on it.
The emailing of holiday cards is sort of new to me and I've been surprised at how many people have shown interest. While I prefer the traditional card in the mail, I totally get it.
What advice would you give people looking to create something different and unique for an event?
Contact me! My image/inspiration library is extensive to say the very least. I never stop gathering ideas/images. Sometimes it's just a color or a font and you never know where inspiration will pop up.
It's always helpful when someone comes to me with a little collection of images they like. It's not hard to identify a common thread or piece together what gets you jazzed...and then I can go from there. It's a fun process!
You mentioned that you moved from Brooklyn to Sleepy Hollow recently. How are you liking the area? Any favorite spots?
We love it! I feel like we have the best of both worlds—near the city in our own little town/community. The weekend we moved in, our neighbor showed up at our door with a plate of hot, fresh baked cookies—how's that?!
We're still discovering the ins and outs of the area but I will say that Coffee Labs scores very highly in our book. And our dog, Gary, is really enjoying Kingsland Point Park!
To see more of Ryan’s designs click here.