Today we’d like to introduce you to Taylor Near.
Taylor, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in a creative household – both of my parents attended the Rhode Island School of Design and always encouraged my sister and I to experiment with different mediums. Family and friends were recipients of homemade gifts and custom care packages, and many of them expected me to go into a creative field. Instead (with a touch of encouragement from my dad) I decided to get my business degree and a nine-to-fiver. My husband and I, and our families created most of the decor and elements for our wedding. This included many customs, heirloom pieces that showed me that there was a place in the industry for my talent and vision.
We made Save the Dates that featured custom brass hotel keys engraved with our wedding details and 150 embroidered napkins with our custom monogram. I learned calligraphy for our invitations and escort cards and created my first custom wedding map for our welcome boxes. A few months before our wedding we were hiking around Equinox Pond in Vermont, brainstorming ways to turn the creative outlet that we had found in designing our wedding into a career. Then and there we came up with the name Mulberry and Elm, after the lane that he had grown up on and the street where I had.
I created my custom wedding invitation suite with my mom, a graphic designer who has been in the industry for over 40 years. My mom has taught me everything I know about the business – I would definitely not be where I am without her knowledge and expertise. From using InDesign to Photoshop, relationships with printers and general industry knowledge, she has been a vital asset to the formation of Mulberry and Elm and I am incredibly grateful to her.
In the early days of Mulberry and Elm, my husband and I were living in 640 square feet in Bay Village, the teeniest neighborhood in Boston. I carved a space in our apartment for painting and calligraphy and I was truly fortunate to have a few friends and family that trusted me with their wedding stationary. These projects connected me to some fantastic clients and from there, things took off. Recently my husband and I moved to Portsmouth, NH to get back to our roots. I am currently transitioning out of my full-time job in order to give Mulberry and Elm my complete focus.
Has it been a smooth road?
I feel so fortunate that I am able to create a business centered around something that I am passionate about. That being said, there have definitely been challenges while getting up and running. Being present and available for a full-time job while taking on as many new clients as I could handle meant that my creative work was done during nights and weekends. There are many nights where I can’t put the paintbrush down until I had finished a client’s work – I am just as excited as they are to see a finished piece!
Trials and tribulations of working with different paper options and compatibility are just things that are part of the learning curve of the industry. One of the best parts of working in the wedding industry is how collaborative other vendors have been. When I had no idea where to begin tracking my expenses or how to prepare for tax season, there are so many helpful and supportive vendors in the field that are willing to answer my questions and help me understand the business more.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mulberry and Elm – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Mulberry and Elm specialize in custom stationary and design. I love to create custom watercolor elements such as monograms, crests and maps in order to help tell a couple’s story. All of my projects begin the same way: getting to know my client. Whether via email, phone call or meeting in person at a local coffee shop, the most important thing to me is to understand who my client is, what their vision is for their wedding, and how I can fit my designs to their visions. There are many services online these days that will provide the standard pieces of wedding stationary – I want to show my clients that we can create a custom suite that will work with their budget and feel true to them.
All of my custom work begins with pencil and paper, sketching out designs for my clients to review. We make edits to the design in the pencil stage before proceeding to a color mock up. Once the client is completely happy with the design and all elements, I will create the watercolor and calligraphy version. It is very important to me to make sure that my clients are absolutely thrilled with the design before painting the final version. I will use these custom designs to weave throughout a stationary suite – pulling certain pieces out of the design in different areas to create a cohesive look. One of my favorite aspects of the wedding business is meeting amazing couples. I love getting to know them throughout the process and can’t wait to see photos after their weddings.
I am proud of the relationships I have created with my client’s, from being a sounding board on all things wedding to arranging pickups of marble escort cards that were too heavy to ship. I try to think a few steps ahead of my brides, and anything they might not think of – from addressing etiquette, to postage fees, I want to prevent them from having any bumps in the road in their wedding stationary process.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Moving from Boston to Portsmouth has been an adjustment, but a welcome one. Boston was amazing – we lived there for eleven years enjoying all that Boston had to offer. I loved walking through the Commons and having dinner in the South End. We absolutely miss the hustle and bustle of the city and being closer to our friends.
What we don’t miss is living in 640 square feet and driving two hours from our lake house in NH on Sunday evenings in the summer. Portsmouth is a great city to move to after living in Boston. There are amazing restaurants and bars, and a great community feels everywhere you go. We love to go to Prescott Park for the summer concerts and pop downtown on Saturday mornings for a coffee at Breaking New Ground.
- A full invitation suite generally starts at about $1,400
- Custom design elements begin around $250.
- Website: www.mulberryandelm.com
- Phone: 603-361-4623
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/mulberryandelmdesign
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/mulberryandelm
- Other: www.pinterest.com/mulberryandelm