Upon first landing at Allison’s website, I was immediately drawn in with her bright and bold branding (not to mention PINK!), her impeccable styling, and of course, her immaculate invitations and paper goods. I just knew Allison Barnhill Designs would be the perfect fit for my featured Friendor series, and also exactly the kind of referral I would want to tell ALL my brides about. And that’s exactly why I do these Feature Fridays – one, so I can get to know new creative local to me, but also so my brides (and everyone else’s brides, too 😉 ) can find the very best fit for their wedding day!
As I was putting Allison’s feature together, it was so fun to see so many of the images she shared with me are by photographers I know and LOVE! It reinforced the fact that she has great taste, and her work deserves to be seen and her business shouted from the rooftops!
I loved reading a bit more about Allison’s home life, as seeing her heart within her family gives me an idea of the type of heart and dedication she puts towards her business. I discovered that after her then 20-month-old twin boy was diagnosed with Autism, her and her husband founded the Avergan Foundation, in hopes of promoting awareness and acceptance of Austism Spectrum disorders. Allison lives by the motto that, “If we can help others, we should.” I love that so much, and connect to it deeply, and I love supporting other business owners with like-minded generosity and charity!! Here’s Allison!!
How did you get started in your business?
Right out of college, I got, what I thought, was my dream job at a technology consulting firm in Washington, DC. After 7 years of working crazy hours, being woken up at all hours of the night by ringing pagers (yes, pagers), and dreading Sunday nights, I decided enough was enough. My dream job was clearly not MY dream. Enter entrepreneurship. I have always loved anything creative…cross-stitch, needlepoint, paper crafts, jewelry making, painting, crocheting, knitting…well, you name it and I’ve tried it. As I started getting into my 20’s friends and family kept asking me to help make things for their weddings…veils, invitations, jewelry and more. With a little push from my then fiance, now hubby, I decided to start my own business. In the beginning I did a little bit of everything, but as time went on, I realized my true passion was with paper. I loved designing invitations and working with the client to create the perfect first look of their big day for their guests. And, almost 14 years later, I still feel the same way…still my dream.
How would you describe your style?
I love color…very rarely do you see me design a white card with black text. My designs typically have layers of colorful or patterned stocks and, I tend to throw in a little glitter for good measure!
How do you stay inspired? What do you do when you are in a creative rut?
My clients inspire me at every meeting. Hearing their stories of how they met, why they chose their venue or what colors they picked for their wedding day, make me want to jump into their design and create something unique for their big day. If I do find myself in a bit of a rut, I tend to pick up some other type of art or creative outlet, like crocheting or painting and it tends to recharge my design batteries.
What is your favorite part about your work?
My absolute favorite moment is putting the completed invitation into the hands of the client at the time of pick up. Seeing their face when they see the invitation for the first time is amazing. It’s the moment when a lot of the clients feel that the wedding is real. It’s happening. And, their smiles and joy in that moment is priceless!
How do you love to serve your clients?
I’m an open resource for my clients for any question they may have about their big day…or life in general. I’ve been in this industry for a long time and chances are I’ve seen it or know someone who has. So, I love to put a bride’s mind at ease and answer any questions related to invitations, addressing, wording, but also if they are looking for the right florist or even have a last minute dress issue, I’m there ready to text a vendor to help.
If you had one tip for a bride, what would it be?
Don’t listen to all the “urban legends” regarding invitations. There are so many horror stories that circle the internet about response cards missing guest names, invitees bringing too many guests, and the list goes on and on. Honestly, those stories get notoriety and seem more prevalent than they really are. Odds are in your favor that your guests will know who is invited, write their name on the front of the response card, RSVP by the date you requested, show up at the wedding on time and will be wearing the proper attire!
Lastly, a fun question — what is your guilty pleasure?
Gilmore Girls…period, end of story. I started watching the show when my twins were babies (they are now 11) and episodes would come on at 4pm every day. I lived for those episodes…partly because it meant that my hubby would be home to help me with the twins soon…and because I fell in love with the witty banter between Lorelai and Rory. I own all the DVD’s, a Luke’s coffee mug, Stars Hollow t-shirt, dragged my kids to Yale on our road trip this year (just in case my daughter decides she has to go there, like Rory), watched all 7 seasons in order at least 10 times (maybe more) and am breathlessly waiting for Netflix to share the release date for the new episodes…November??? Guilty. Yep.
Image credit goes to:
Natalie Franke Photography
Lauren Werkheiser Photography
Renee Hollingshead Photography
Kimberly Florence Photography
Liz & Ryan
Carly Fuller Photography
Madison Short Photography
Kate Fine Art Photography
Laura’s Focus Photography