Wednesday, December 12, 2012

meet the maker: brake ink

Local District stationary company, Brake Ink, is a woman-owned small business offering creative and whimsical stationary, invitations, moving announcements, holiday cards, calendars and even luggage tags. 

Got a design in mind?  Brake Ink will make it possible.  

Need special invitations for your bestie's baby shower?  Get them from Brake Ink.  

Want to find stationary on which kids will actually WANT to write thank you notes after the holidays?  Brake Ink is the place.  

And their specialty is customization - quite a rarity these days.

All of Brake Ink's products are printed locally, too!
Today, ICDC is thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Elizabeth Brakebill of Brake Ink.

celebrating the new Brake Ink logo!

ICDC: Tell us a bit about yourself.

EB: Thanks so much for having me! This is a big day for Brake Ink- our first blog feature! Glad it is ICDC!

ICDC: How did brake ink come to be?  How did you have the courage to create your own business?

EB: I grew up painting and have always had a love for art, design, and paper. While I took all varieties of art classes as a kid, I had never really tried watercolor until I studied abroad in south of France. It immediately clicked and seemed like such a natural medium for my pen and ink sketches. After that semester I returned home thinking about how my whimsical creations could really translate well into invitations and stationery. I did a few projects here and there for family and friends- but it wasn't until a few months ago that I decided to officially dive in and see where it goes!

It has been a whirlwind and a lot of hard work but a lot of fun. What more could you ask for to build a business around your hobbies! Thanks to everyone's support and encouragement, I have had some great initial feedback and a lot of really creative suggestions on new products and new design ideas. 

ICDC: Tell us a bit about your process.  How do you create new designs? 

EB: All of my designs start with an original pen and ink and watercolor art. This is my favorite part of the process! Sometimes a client will come to me with an idea of what they want and other times I'll find inspiration and start doodling. Once the artwork is created I'll scan it into my computer and use design software to edit and create designs. Thanks to technology (and Adobe!) the possibilities for the artwork are endless. Because of that, I've been trying to build families of products that are related- for example kid's party invitations that have matching stationery and matching gift and luggage tags. 

ICDC: How long does it take you to create?  The difficulty of watercolor has always scared ICDC!

EB: It can take hours for just one step of the process! There have been many nights where I'll blink and it is 2am. But I guess that is a sign that I'm enjoying it when I don't really notice the labor involved.  For the custom home designs featured on the site, that artwork averages about 10-12 hours per home because of the precision - and there isn't really such thing as messing up when your final product is the original artwork!

BTW- you should give watercolor a try- it is really fun and can be more forgiving than you would think!

ICDC: What's your typical day like?

EB: Well, I have a full time job so Brake Ink is usually a night and early morning and weekend venture. Translation- I work about 19 hours a day but isn't that all part of the fun? There are so many components involved in running a business- and I still have a lot to learn- but it is really exciting to check them off your list and see your business and your operation really improve. that is what keeps you going!

ICDC: What are your favorite brake ink designs?

EB: I've had a really good time working on holiday designs - there are tons more in my head but considering it is almost halfway through December they might have to wait for Christmas 2013! I especially like the products that feature the pinecone.

ICDC: What or who inspires you?

EB: Paper stores, children’s book illustrations, textiles

ICDC: Where are you from?  Has this impacted your design?

EB: Memphis, TN. My mom taught elementary students at the Art museum in town so I grew up surrounded with art. I have a good feeling it probably played a big role! Plus I was lucky enough to have a very creative group of friends so we were all being artsy nerds together!

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Shop Brake Ink today.  There's still enough time to get a custom design before the holidays!

Stay tuned!  Brake Ink plans to offer products in stores and other websites in the new year.

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