Location: San Francisco, CA
Size: 4,000 square feet
Years lived in: Rented for two years
Hello!Lucky, the hugely popular letterpress card and invitation company, began in 2003 as the brainchild of sisters Eunice and Sabrina Moyle. Their San Francisco studio reflects their taste for pretty, eclectic, vintage items, and their desire to be as earth-friendly as possible. It includes both an upstairs office and a printing studio on the lower floor.
When the business first began, Eunice, a talented illustrator, had begun designing birth announcements and party invitations for friends and printing them on her antique Vandercook press. Sabrina was an experienced art gallery manager and Stanford Business School graduate. The sisters were inspired by the idea of bringing art and design to an appreciative public. On a whim, they sent a package of Eunice's designs to Kate's Paperie in New York, which immediately placed a $1,500 order. The company quickly expanded into custom design and printing with its baby announcement line in 2004 and a wildly successful line of wedding invitations in 2005. Both are available through select retailers and direct from Hello!Lucky.
Our style: Whimsical, vintage-inspired, with a modern-twist
Inspiration: Vintage advertising and book illustrations, packaging and pattern design, interior design, fashion, flea markets, travels - we love to read design blogs and magazines, and honestly we pretty much get inspiration whereever we look!
Biggest challenge in being a green company: Balancing being green with offering an affordable, lovely product. When we first started our business seven years, options for affordable green papers that had the thick, luxurious texture that works best with letterpress printing, were extremely limited. Now, as more and more stationery companies and customers have gone green, the options are much better, so whereas we initially printed our cards on 30% recycled paper, it is now 100% recycled (or in the instance of our wedding invitations, 100% cotton, a renewable resource). Similarly, when we first started our company the sleeves that protect our individual cards were only available in a clear plastic (which was recyclable but not recycled). A few years into later, by popular demand from ourselves and other companies, the sleeves became available in biodegradable cornstarch, which is what we have used ever since.
Biggest joy in making your mark: Making people happy with a wonderful product that they truly love!
Best advice you've ever received: "Keep buggering on!" (in the words of Winston Churchill). Seriously, though, I think the best advice we've received has come from a number of friends and family, and that is to do what you love - other people will be able to feel the passion and joy we put into our work, and it will be infectious and help create a genuinely enthusiastic and loyal following. So far, we've found this to be very true!
Do you have any future goals in the industry or personally? We both recently started families, and are excited to balance our family lives with our company and set an example as a business that makes wonderful, creative eco-friendly products, and is family friendly and women-owned.
Do you have any advice for those looking to start up a green company? Try to incorporate green values in your product and culture from the very beginning. This saves costly and awkward transitions and changes to your product as you go green, and ensures that it becomes integral part of your day-to-day activities which can help preserve the environment in small ways (e.g. composting employees' lunch scraps and paper towels). At the same time, understand that there is a continuum of green practices, and that every action you take towards becoming green counts. Don't assume that in order to be green, you need to live up to the strictest standards in everything you do. For example, you may not be able to afford to use 100% eco-friendly materials in the beginning - do your best given your resources and the practicalities of your business. Focus on balancing your business needs and environmental concerns as you do the hard work of getting a company off the ground. Don't lose site of your green goals, but make staying in business your top priority (the world needs more green businesses and green business owners, and you won't be able to help the movement if your business fails, after all!).
Furniture and Accessories: The Alameda Flea Market, Northern California's largest antiques and collectibles show.
Floor Paint: Shot sign-painter's paint.
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(Images: Adele Peters)