A Conversation With Amanda from Wit & Whistle

Wit and Whistle Process and Workspace

Welcome to the revival of the Conversations series at the Salonniere’s Apartments!

A little bit of background: I first envisioned the Conversations series as a series of interviews with artists, writers and other folk who inspire me with their passion and their work. Also, as a way of letting me poke around and ask questions of the people I admire!

My first ever interview was a Conversation with Taylor aka The Style Gent, a fellow blogger, personal stylist and a truly inspirational gentleman. Unfortunately, right after that, the Conversations series was forced to take a backseat for well over a year now as I worked on redesigning The Salonniere’s Apartments, with the help of the amazing designer Rashi Birla, and finding my own niche and voice in the blogosphere world. Now that I feel far more confident and happier about the direction in which The Salonniere’s Apartments is going, I can’t wait to start the Conversation series once more!

Now, without further ado, please give a warm welcome to Amanda of Wit & Whistle, our first Conversationalist of the brand-new, revitalised The Salonniere’s Apartments!

Wit & Whistle Products 1

I loved the Wit & Whistle blog from the moment I came across it. It’s such a warm, friendly, homey place filled with touches of whimsy and creativity that I really felt as if Amanda had invited me into her own home and was offering me a cup of tea and a plate of chocolate chip cookies while I perused through her charming artwork. I was entranced right away, flipping through her posts, admiring her gorgeous photography and her super adorable dogs, Oliver and Mabel.

It is also here where Amanda lets us view glimpses of the behind-the-scenes progress that goes into creating the quirky and whimsical designer paper goods she sells in her online shop of the same name. Her products include greeting cards, notebooks (remember this notebook in my The Salonniere’s Christmas Gift Guide for Writers?), rubber stamps, tea towels and much more – be sure to check it out!

In the meantime, brew yourself a nice cup of lemon green tea, pull that plate of hot cookies closer and snuggle up on the rose damask sofa in the salon as we talk to Amanda and find out more about the inspirations and creative processes behind Wit & Whistle!

Tell us about yourself!

 I’m Amanda Wright, and Wit & Whistle is my paper goods shop. I feel so lucky to have a job I love! I haven’t changed much since I was a kid—drawing, gardening, animals, and eating cookies are still at the top of my favorites list. I live in Cary, North Carolina with my husband, 2 dogs, and 3 chickens.

Could you tell us about the process that led you to find your niche in creating designer paper goods?  

Before starting Wit & Whistle I took a silversmithing class, a jewelry making class, taught myself to crochet, painted, researched glass blowing, and spent hours on Etsy to find out what kinds of things could be sold there. I knew I wanted to start my own creative business, but I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to sell. Finally, I decided that I should do something that would make use of the Bachelor’s of Graphic Design degree I spent four years earning. So, I set up an inkjet printer, a stack of paper, a little paper cutter, and my MacBook. Then I started designing greeting cards!

 What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while starting up Wit & Whistle and how did you overcome them?

Not having any idea how to run a business was definitely my biggest challenge when I started Wit & Whistle! I had to take it one day at a time without letting myself look at the big picture and get overwhelmed. Doing a lot of Googling helped too. 😉

What do you enjoy most about your job?

 I most enjoy those moments when I’m developing a new design, and it starts coming together just as I envisioned it. That is the best feeling, and it usually results in a happy dance. I also love having flexible work hours. After all, the creative urge doesn’t always strike between the hours of 9 and 5.

 What’s an average day like for you?

 Every morning after breakfast I make tea and go down to my studio to ship orders, restock, and do other necessary stuff like that. I try to reserve my afternoons for creative pursuits like sketching, photography, blogging, and such.

 You’ve mentioned before that one of your reasons for obtaining a bachelor degree in Graphic Design was partly because you were terrified of becoming a starving artist. That struck a particular chord with me because I have known this fear as well! Artistic pursuits don’t often make for the most practical or profitable career paths. As the current owner of a successful online paper goods business, could you share a few tips for other creatives looking to make a career out of their passion?

 I think every artist needs to experiment to find out what works for them and where their strengths lie. Before I opened Wit & Whistle, I set up a practice shop and listed a variety of products for sale, such as elegant cards I hand printed from carved blocks, invitations, and some cards similar to the snarky products I offer now. I didn’t worry too much about branding or anything at that point. It was just research. Once I realized customers preferred my more witty products I was able to start developing my real business and settle into my niche in the world of paper products.

 What/who are some of your sources of inspiration?

 My greeting card ideas are often inspired by joking around with my friends and family. Everyone is quick to point out when I say something that would make a great card. Design-wise, I get inspiration from browsing Pinterest (of course!), flipping through design books, and making a point to observe the world around me. When all else fails I just sit down with my sketchbook and wrack my brain until I think of something.

 What’s next for the future?

 I hope to just keep doing what I’m doing—making things and working to improve my design and illustration skills.  I couldn’t ask for more!

All images courtesy of Wit & Whistle

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