isavirtue | building an aesthetic

about a year ago, i turned to my friend bonnie, pointed at a wall of coloured cardstock and said "see how these colours work together? that's how i want my stationery shop to look."

for years i've been purchasing my cardstock paper at local shops, or franchise hobby stores. and sometimes i still do. but i realized that by doing so, i was letting the limited selection dictate what i created and sold. what i should have been doing was dictating what i wanted, and then making an effort to find it.

so i finally took the plunge and ordered cardstock online from the same company that made the paper i pointed out to my friend. it was a painful purchase because the company ships from the states, and their product prices are not inexpensive or even very competitive. but they have unique colours that inspire me and speak to the aesthetic i want to achieve in my shop.

for almost a year i only sold black and white stationery. after that i added in pink, and then grey. when i finally decided to add all the colours of the rainbow, i was excited for a bit, but quickly knew i'd made a mistake. i'd done it backwards again! i made envelopes in every colour in an effort to please...well, everyone. even though i hate the colour orange, only like certain yellows, and have never been able to figure out how to make primary green work...all of these hues were available at isavirtue.

so over the past year i tried to reconnect which the shop that i envisioned. i'm hyper aware when it comes to online shops (and brick and mortar as well) that products affect each other. if they don't look good together, they won't be appealing to consumers.

i've scaled down my colour range now, but also added a number of metallics. i'm focusing on the theme of snail mail, and expanding my font range (but still keeping in touch with what i think looks good). i'm also limited the number of pictorial images i sell - although many are popular and available for profitable use, they aren't mine. which means if i ever want my work to be featured on blogs and magazines, i have to provide pieces that consist of my own design. it's also confusing for buyers who often want custom image order - like last month when i was asked if i could "do a kitten playing with a ball of yarn" - that's not the vibe i want my store to give out!

i'm posting this today because i think i'm finally there. i've achieved the look i want and the products work well together. there's still some pieces i wish weren't in the collection (like this, or this), but it would be silly to unlist them when their purchaser soulmate is out there somewhere!*
*and hey, if that's you, email me and i'll give you a discount code ;)

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