At Home With Emily Sell, owner of Ever After Press

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Despite being now happily settled in the city of lights for a year, it never really occurred to Emily to move to Paris. She relocated last summer after her husband was offered a job in the French capital - something not many could or would turn down! They met whilst both living in Dubai, so although Paris was never on her to-do list, having lived as an expat for a few years in the UAE, it seemed like a natural decision to live in another city. I met her not long after she moved for a coffee and was very happy to have a fellow Brit in town. After visiting her apartment one evening for a little soiree that she organised with friends, I felt I had to photograph her in her beautiful space and find out a little more about how she set up Ever After Press and her interior inspirations. 

Scroll down to read the interview! 

What inspired you to establish your own wedding stationery company and how did you get there? 
It's been a pretty circuitous route! My first ‘grown up’ job was in a law firm in Dubai. I had just finished my law degree and moved out to the UAE after university. I really enjoyed it, but I’ve always been very creative and it wasn’t long before I started to crave a less corporate career. Once we started planning our own wedding I became pretty obsessed with wedding stationery, and Style Me Pretty

In order to gain the technical skills I needed to work in design, we moved back to London where I studied Graphic Design. After graduating, I worked as a designer in London for a couple of years, before going full time with Ever After Press. I think I always knew really that I would like to work for myself, as the kind of design that I like is quite niche. 

I started off working from home, setting up a basic website with the designs that I had already done for friends and starting to figure out my prices. A year later I redesigned my website, as by then I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to offer. I'm now excited to be working on a new high end range of off the shelf designs which I hope to launch in a few months time. Working as a wedding stationery designer is the perfect way for me to be able to work with the understated feminine graphic design aesthetic that I love every day, and help my bespoke couples transform their ideas into reality.

What words of advice do you have for someone following their own career path and setting up a business? 
Spending time on getting things right behind the scenes and streamlining everything as much as possible is a real investment in your business, so don't worry about taking your time and figuring out the small details so that everything runs as smoothly as possible. I think it's also important to be flexible and to continually assess what your clients are looking for, and then try to answer that with your offering.

I always find it inspiring to listen to the Design Sponge Heritage Radio Network podcast 'After The Jump' and at the moment I'm enjoying the emails for entrepreneurs that you can sign up for at Hey Sweet Pea

What were the biggest decorating challenges? 
I was pretty determined to find a classic Haussmann style apartment with herringbone parquet floors, coving and panelling (you only live in Paris once, right)? and was really pleased when we managed to wade through all the bureaucracy and secure one that we liked, but all the panelling means that we have lots of canvasses tucked away in cupboards and under beds. I was surprised by the lack of central ceiling lights, apparently that's a typical French thing...we only have one chandelier in the hallway and other than that we have to rely on ambient lighting. We definitely need to invest in some more lamps. It makes for quite a cosy atmosphere at night though. It's pretty geeky but we were lucky to find a place with a fair bit of built in storage which I love, I'm a bit of a neat freak and love having somewhere to hide away coats, shoes and suitcases.

How would you describe your interior style? 
Minimal with a neutral palette, with Scandinavian and French influences. I like a lot of grey and white with a splash of pink here and there. I love having fresh flowers in the apartment - peonies, white hydrangeas, anenomes and ranunculus are my favourites when they are in season.

Favourite piece(s) of furniture/treasures? 
I love my sleep so one of my favourite items has to be the beautiful French carved bed we bought just before moving to Paris. We have a pair of vintage Bertoia white chairs from the 70's, which I love because they are just a little bit rusted and imperfect in places. Some paper pom poms left over from our wedding hang above my desk and the Paloma's Nest ring bearer bowl that we had made for our wedding, which sits on my bedside table (and where I keep my everyday jewellery when I go to bed), is really special to me too. I love everything Paloma's Nest make – they are the perfect gifts for any friends getting married.

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home? 
My favourite interiors stores are West Elm and Cox & Cox. I also love Aesop, Diptyque, Ferm Living and Story North.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?
I love design blogs, such as LOVENORDIC, The Design Chaser, The Style Files and Blonde and Bone - my Pinterest account is full of home inspiration that I love, as well as boards categorised by room. For something more colourful I always like checking out the work of Emily Henderson and on Instagram I love @mrorlandosoria for his hilarious captions as well as interior design inspo. I'm always so impressed by furniture hacks like those on The Painted Hive...I wish I had her patience! :) I like Antipodean design a lot - Graphic Design, Interiors and wedding styling, they just always seem to get it so right!

What do you like most about the area you live in, in Paris?
We live in the 16th arrondissement, an area usually known for its affluent older ladies and little dogs, as well as its beautiful architecture. I love living there as we are right in between the Eiffel Tower and the Arc De Triomphe. We can wander down to Ladurée on the Champs-Elysées for a weekend brunch in 20 minutes and our local art gallery, the Palais de Tokyo, is my favourite in Paris.

Favourite three social media mavens? 
This is such a hard one!! For lifestyle and fashion, I love Kelli Murray @kellimurray - an incredible illustrator based in California, with the best IG feed and blog...her style is awesome and she's a friend of my amazingly talented calligrapher friend Suzy Lee @hellosuzylee - (Suzy's work is beyond perfect and she is also an incredible person).

For general design inspiration, Besotted Blog has been my go to favourite for a very long time.

And last but not least, @thefatjewish and @picathepom ... they are always guaranteed to make me laugh.

Favourite three lifestyle blogs?

Last good book you read? 
The last book I read (in 2 days without putting it down) was The Martian - I loved it! So different from what I normally read, and a total page-turner, I highly recommend it; I'm now obsessed with space! I usually end up reading quite dark books and I'm trying to change that. I love Kazuo Ishiguro, and East of Eden by John Steinbeck is another favourite. 

What’s in your magazine pile?
Kinfolk, Cereal and Living Etc.

What’s in your fridge?
Champagne, lots of cheese, loads of fresh veggies, fruit and probably at least one cured pork product (my husband is of Italian descent so we always have pasta ingredients ready to go). And some very dark chocolate.

Go-to evening drink? 
I do like a good Hendrick's and Fever Tree tonic with cucumber. I love a cold bottle of corona (I'm such a lightweight I often can't handle wine) and after dinner an amaretto always makes me happy.

Tea or coffee?
I have an embarrassing sensitivity to caffeine, which means I'm normally the person trying to ask for chamomile tea or chocolate chaud in terrible French, in all the great new coffee places popping up in Paris.

Handbag essentials?
My iPhone, a good book for the metro, Narciso Rodriguez perfume, lip balm and a snack, to avoiding being hangry! 

And finally a few of your Paris favourites?
Café: Our favourite little local French place for relaxed almond croissants on weekend mornings
Restaurant: Ellsworth
Shops: my local florist, Merci and A.P.C

A Weekend in Montargis

Thursday, 13 August 2015

I do love a good weekend getaway, and August is the best month for it, especially if you're one of the last souls who has been left behind in the city, while what seems like every last Parisian has deserted the capital in search of sun, sand and sea.. Luckily my friend Meg invited us (along with a few other friends), to her boyfriend's parents' ridiculously beautiful, film set-worthy house in Montargis. Although the weather didn't quite play fair and it remained cloudy most of Saturday, it didn't stop us frolicking in a sunflower field, picking fruit and vegetables from the amazing garden (serious life goals right there), BBQ-ing, eating outside and generally enjoying a couple of days of not breathing in Paris' car fumes or other ripe, unpleasant smells that emanate from the streets in summer - dubbed by many as 'eau de Paris'. Having felt lethargic as of late, it was the perfect weekend away to rejuvenate, enjoy nature and leave my cares behind for a couple of days. 

Following My Nature

Monday, 10 August 2015

I've been having one of those moments of late, which surface every now and again. With summer firmly set in Paris these past weeks, the heat getting up to an almost unmanageable temperature and my (what seems like) incessant travelling backwards and forwards to the UK recently (I go again in a week!), I've felt lethargic at best and not so willing to conjure up new posts, or feel confident with the ones that are a work in progress. I know I'm in need of a rest. Freelance is wonderful, but it takes its toll, especially when I'm juggling so many things at once, or hustling for new projects. Luckily we're flying off to Santorini in a couple weeks, which I cannot wait for. The only downside being that our summer holiday this year, like the last, will be based around weddings - one in Santorini and the following in Biarritz. Not that I don't love a good wedding, and both I know, will be beautiful. But I could do with one whole week on a beach doing nada. Another project that is a work in progress. But enough of my first world problems, as I wanted to share a collaboration that I worked on earlier this year, with Marc O'Polo for their #FollowMyNature campaign. I love the photos and this is the type of project that I would love to do more of. 

The task entailed picking of few of my favourite items from their collection and wearing them around Paris - a bit like a day in the life of.. I purposely chose places that at first glance might not appear very 'Parisian' - places with darker tones and natural materials - wood, concrete etc... because I don't count myself a typical Paris blogger. It was a campaign I was happy to get involved with as I like to think that I tend to follow my nature. I followed my heart to Paris and have followed my gut to change career direction towards things that I personally enjoy and find more rewarding, even if I have in the past been warned against it by the more cautious. 

For the project I picked Fragments, a lovely minimalistic cafe in the 3rd and one of my go-to galleries in Paris, Yvon Lambert, which is located just off one of favourite streets - rue Vieille du Temple.  I felt that both complemented the clothes, and also reflected my personality and style tastes which are usually quite minimal. You can read the full feature + interview with me on their blog here. I'd love to know what you think! 

Photos by Ylenia Cuéllar, edited by me. 


Monday, 3 August 2015

I ventured over the the 11th on Friday lunchtime with Cindy - an arrondissement I'm migrating to more and more these days - to check out the recently opened Pickled. A canteen/culinary agency, Pickled (cute name by the way), was set up by two friends: food designer, Myrtille and chef, Amandine. I'm all for women teaming up and doing business together and they seem to make quite a pair. They've created a welcoming, beautifully thought out space with an equally aesthetically pleasing menu - as you might expect from a food designer and chef duo. I took my camera along just in case and couldn't help but snap a few shots of the food and interior. If you're looking for kitchen storage solution inspiration, this is the place - I love that white wire wall. 

Amandine and Myrtille serve a daily changing menu with seasonal ingredients. We tried the pickled yellow pepper and coriander cream 'le Plat revisté en sandwich' - basically their dish of the day made into a burrito, cauliflower soup and cheesecake to finish. I like to count myself as a bit of a cheesecake connoisseur. Unless there's salted caramel on the menu, it's my go-to dessert, with my favourite being Rachel's blueberry cheesecake (that you can find at her eponymous cafe and in The Broken Arm), but Myrtille and Amandine's offering with sesame crust, drizzled with a refreshing citrusy lemon coulis, might just be my new favourite. 

54 rue Basfroi
Paris 75011

Myrtille and Amandine

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground