This week the Ohio Creative Collective member spotlight is on the Wedding Wire Couples’ Choice Award winner, online based stationery company, The Paper Vow. Specializing in custom designs to suit every style and every unique customer, the creative line of paper goods spans the likes of the bold, modern, whimsical and lovely- and it doesn’t stop there! Christy Townsend is the mastermind behind it all and I was lucky enough to get to know her a little better and learn about the rise of The Paper Vow.
First, tell me about yourself! Who is the woman behind The Paper Vow? Anything you want people to know about you!
I grew up in a small suburb of Cleveland called Twinsburg, (in) famous for its annual Twins Days Festival—where duplicate humans descend upon the fair town. When I was little my mom said she knew I was going to be in the creative world (aside from my nerdiness and being tormented by my older brother because of it) when she caught me drawing simultaneously with a crayon in each hand, illustrating a heart, one side of the heart with my left hand and the other side with my right. A neat little party trick is that I can write my first name with one hand and last name with the other (challenge: give it a try).
What else? I’m a snowboarder at heart. The mountains are a great inspiration and have been a huge part of my life ever since living in Park City, Utah for three years after graduating Bowling Green State University. I don’t settle long, having moved 4 times in the past 4 years with my husband, Clark; most recently moving from Cleveland to Columbus (Go Cavs! And go Browns?)
Me in a nutshell: a campfire surrounded by friends, family, and our two furry children – Kyra and Penny—sharing great memories and good beers.
Where did your passion for this come from?
I’ve always loved the whimsical idea of weddings, but it wasn’t until I was planning my own wedding in 2011 when I realized the true passion. The process of creating and designing invitations to give our guests—a first glimpse of our wedding day—was beyond thrilling. Some may find it boring, but going through paper options, choosing a metallic or matte finish, and types of pocket folds, oh my goodness, my jam. All the possibilities that you can do with invitations and how creative you can get… I knew I had to find a way to get involved in the wedding industry.
Did you mean to start a business, or did it just sort of happen along the way?
The idea of starting a new business had never crossed my mind. I went to school for Graphic Design but fortunately my major was half business classes. It wasn’t until an Adobe Creative Conference in LA in 2013 where I realized The Paper Vow idea needed to come to life. Hearing inspirational speakers that conference weekend, talking about doing what they love and what creative freedom they had, it filled me with such motivation and determination. When I got back to Ohio, I put in my two weeks at a previous job, and started the journey. At the time it was scary, emotional and crazy but was the best decision I could have made.
What are all the products that you make?
The Paper Vow’s main specialty is custom wedding invitations; creating a shabby-chic, online boutique where stationary is the main focal point while continuing to build our collection of handmade gifts like Ohio totes and t-shirt bags.
I’ve always been obsessed with t-shirt design, so you will find some fun bridal tees (a new one will be launching this fall!). Everything we sell is something that was produced with creative passion, and the team is always trying to think of new projects or crafts that would make awesome gifts for our customers.
What inspires you? Do you have a creative process that you tend to follow or is it always different?
Mostly, my environment inspires me. I mentioned the mountains, but traveling, hiking, or walking the dogs, or a bout of inspiration right before falling asleep. Oh, and Pinterest of course.
Where would you like the business to go in the future?
Simply put, I would love to open up a brick and mortar within five years. Until then, we’ll keep up the creative integrity; connect as much as possible with the community, Ohio (and regional) business owners, and upkeep our Etsy shop.
Are there other products you would like to add to your line?
We plan on adding more paper goods such as printable greeting cards, signs and card sets. We love the idea of giving a gift to ask your bridal party to be a part of your special day, therefore we would love to keep expanding our collection of gift ideas.
Where can people find goods to purchase?
Under our “Shop” tab on our website as well as visiting our Etsy store!
What do you love most about creating?
I love the satisfaction of making clients happy while surprising yourself, creatively, along the way.
Do you have a favorite design?
Our ‘Ohio Bridal Collection’ is definitely a favorite, we wanted to create something special that truly spoke of the Ohio pride that we have. Each design we create has a special place in our heart, it is hard to choose just one!
What advice would you give to aspiring makers or designers?
Stick with your own style. You are going to see designs that blow you away and get bummed at the fact you didn’t think of it first, but never try to mold into what you think you should be or what you feel others would like out of you. You will have people that doubt you artistically, let that feed the fire to prove them wrong.
What do you hope to gain from your membership to OCC?
Meet talented people, collaborating, and building friendships. The creative world has so many nooks and crannies of types of ingenuity with writing, shooting photography, illustrating, etc. Meeting someone that is exceptionally talented at something you could never imagine doing is inspiring and truly a great learning process! I am very excited to be a part of OCC and having this opportunity to be inspired by local creators.
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Written by Sarah Picciuto
Ohio Creative Collective Leadership Committee Member