Hi Kalo, it’s so nice to meet you! Although we have never personally met but we’ve had the pleasure of collaborating on a wedding shoot while I was in Hong Kong. So, please do tell us a little about who you are and what you do…
Hi Carmen, it is a pleasure to meet you too! What a great honor to be featured on Smitten! It is a really inspiring blog, filled with lots of interesting contents! Having been a bride recently, I visited your blog regularly to get ideas for my own wedding!
Hello Smitten readers, let me briefly introduce myself … I am Kalo, the Creative Director and Designer behind Kalo Make Art. I specialize in bespoke wedding invitation and stationery. I provide the whole range of wedding stationery, from save the dates, wedding invitations, RSVP, wedding table stationery, ceremony program, thank you cards, wedding favour stickers to wax seal stamps.
The unique part of my service and what most people approach me for is my “Bespoke Design Service” – engaged couples share with me the ideas for their wedding stationery and I help them to bring their ideas to reality.
It’s great to know all the different stationery products you can provide a couple with! So, where are you based?
I split my time equally between Hong Kong and Singapore (where my Mr. hard-working husband lives and works). I have a design studio in Hong Kong, so whenever I am in town, I am able to meet my clients personally, show them my invitation samples and discuss further.
Do you work with international clients too?
Yes, most definitely! I work with clients from all over the world on a regular basis. Nearly forty percent of my clients are from or live in different cities around the world, including London, New York, Sweden, Tokyo, Amsterdam to even Morocco! Among these clients, most of them I have never met in person! They learnt about my invitation designs through friends’ recommendations or through my website and wedding blogs. Very often, we use emails to communicate the design concepts and printing technical details. If there is no huge time difference, we can also arrange Skype or Facetime for video meetings. Thanks to the “life-saver Internet” which makes everything possible!
That’s amazing! Please tell us about your background before you began Kalo Make Art.
Before Kalo Make Art, I studied Fine Art in London where I lived for the past decade. After graduation, I worked in various art galleries and spent three years working in a concierge company, while making artwork in the evenings. I must admit, being an artist in a creative city like London wasn’t easy! Luckily, my passion and hunger towards art never faded and it helps me to achieve what I really love to do today!
In the summer of 2011, due to my husbands job, we moved from London to Singapore. Since I am much closer to my hometown, Hong Kong, I fly back almost every month! My twin sister, Kalam, who has been working in the Hong Kong’s bridal industry for many years, encouraged me to make an attempt at the wedding invitation design industry. After some “investigations”, I realized there was a lack of personalized and creative wedding invitation card design service on the market, so I was determined to give it a try and this was how Kalo Make Art was born.
It’s very interesting to know how Kalo Make Art all started and you’re clearly very passionate about art and design – it’s fantastic to know you are doing something you love every day and putting a smile on peoples faces. As we all know, being in the wedding industry requires us to be creative and passionate about our jobs – where do you gain your design inspirations from?
I gain design inspirations from various things and among all, nature is one important aspect. I visit botanical gardens and zoos to draw regularly, a lot of my In House designs are original artwork from these drawing trips. During leisure time, I visit art galleries and museums to get inspirations by learning other artists’ work. Important people that influence my artistic career include contemporary New York illustrator Yuko Shimizu, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, British children’s book illustrator Anthony Browne and the late Austrian painter Egon Schiele!
At work, I spend about eight hours a day focus on designing wedding invitations, the remaining time will be used on administrative work, such as replying emails, updating website, blog Facebook page, etc. I work an average of twelve hours a day! Sometimes when I look at the same invitation card design for too long, my perception gradually becomes numb! To regain inspirations, I will also do activities that are non-art related, such as swimming, cycling and yoga.
I have a huge love for pretty and stylish stationery – is there a particular style you love to work with too?
This is a very tricky question! Since Kalo Make Art is dedicated to provide Bespoke Wedding Invitation Design services, most of invitation designs are created in response to customer’s design brief and requirements. And as the designer, I enjoy the diverse styles among each project, and this is what makes my job creative and fun!
If I have to choose a particular style I love to work with, I would say a style that is “quirky” and “whimsical”! Previously, I created an “infographics” bespoke wedding invitation suite for a couple which I really enjoyed. Nancy and Liam come from a financial background, processing data and figures are an important part of their everyday work. They asked me to use infographics to illustrate their interests and backgrounds on their wedding invitation. During the design process, they gave me a total of nine pages of information! The data includes the latitude of the place where they were born, the total distance they travelled together, their average annual household expenditure and even their daily energy cycle! It was really quirky and untraditional.
Wow! I love the idea of an infographics invitation! What advice would you give a bride-to-be when looking for her perfect wedding stationery designer?
I would say choose a stationery designer who is passionate in what they do, someone who is patient and listens to your needs and most important of all, someone you feel relaxed and comfortable to work with. Most wedding invitation design process takes time and you don’t want to get trapped with a designer who is not able to meet your requirements.
And what stationery trends are you seeing right now?
Hot foil stamping used to be popular in the old days and this trend seems to be coming back! In the old days, hot foil stamping did not have a huge colour range options but nowadays, there are a lot more yummy trendy colours to choose from, such as fushia, lime, turquoise, plum and charcoal! I personally really love hot foil stamping as it gives a special touch to the invitations and the printing cost is not as high as the other print methods.
If you wasn’t based in Hong Kong and Singapore – where in the world would you like to be?
I would love to live in New York if I ever have the chance! It is a city full with creative, inspiring people. Also they have the National Stationery Show, which is the world’s most comprehensive marketplace for social stationery and paper products! I am hoping to visit it in the very soon future.
I agree, New York is the hub for latest trends and is full of creative people – I hope you visit the National Stationery Show soon and take back with you some incredible ideas for your next projects. I also hear you have recently got married yourself too! Do share with us your top wedding planning tip!
Yes, I (finally) got married this summer and our wedding was held on a farm in Brighton, U.K. Our wedding venue had a rich countryside, rustic atmosphere, so we chose to use ‘animals’ as our wedding theme. Although Daniel does not work in the creative industry, he came up with lots of ideas! For the wedding invitations, we drew a pair of piglets looking at the sunrise to represent the happiness of our future. We also created many DIY animal ornaments to decorate the venue on the wedding day – I can’t think of anything that is not handmade by us!
Although planning is fun, sometimes it was really overwhelming to look at the list of things we needed to organise for the wedding. Both of us tried to keep our planning enjoyable and stress-free! There were several weekends where we planned our wedding on the beach and at coffee shops. I guess my top wedding planning tip will be “Do one thing at a time”. For most people, planning a wedding is probably the biggest event you will ever experience in your lifetime, so do it bit by bit, enjoy every moment and have fun with your love one!