ASK A WEDDING VENDOR: STATUERUE
We had the opportunity to chat with the artist behind StatueRue, Melissa Nezezon. As a formally trained illustrator, fine art painter and graphic artist, Melissa has always had a love for design. StatueRue designs embody modern minimalism and old world charm - the most romantic, magical combination!
Photo by Lisa Vigliotta Photography
What lead you to create StatueRue?
What initially got me started in stationery design was working as graphic designer in a small print shop in Stoney Creek, Ontario. My boss quietly took me aside after a few couples came in looking for wedding invitations and I was excited to work with them and use different paper stock than plain old 100lb Standard Matte White cardstock. He told me to not accept any more wedding invitation orders, as it's too time consuming and such a niche market that we have other clients with a quick turnaround time to focus on - He saw no value in it. So I asked him if I can do it on my own time and he said no problem. I then registered my own business name and worked on my own business part-time while working in the design industry for various companies for the next 14 years full-time, until 2017 when I decided to quit the 9-5 desk job and work solely for myself / StatueRue. I read a quote somewhere on day that really resonated with me that said "If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs." And that really was the deciding factor for me.
What is the story behind the name StatueRue?
Funny story! It's just two random words combined together while I was driving past the Courthouse on Main Street in Hamilton, Ontario.
I was working in marketing at Re/Max at the time when I got a "cease and desist" letter in the mail about my business name. StatueRue was previously "iDesign". Little did I know when I was 21 and registering my business name, that I should have done a business name search first. Apparently, there was another 'iDesign" located in Toronto, offering the same services and had been in business longer than me. Therefore I was to immediately change my business name. I was brainstorming so much and nothing stuck. I even had all the real estate agents that were coming in for orders help me. Still nothing. Until one day, one of the real estate agents said "Forget about it. Stop stressing. Let's go out for lunch and we'll come up with something.. you need to get out." We were saying every name in the book as we sat and ate... "table.. chopstick...red car... " lol Still nothing. We were on our way back to the office when we were both simultaneously looking out our car windows and he saw a statue (The United Empire Loyalists" on one side of the street, and I saw the word "Rue" on the side side (on the Courthouse building because it said the address in both English and French). So as soon as both of us heard "Statue... Rue" come out of our mouths, we looked at eachother and I asked "is that my business name" and he said "Yeap!". It really means nothing. And I was good with that, therefore no one else would ever have the same name, and I wouldn't have to rename my business again.
What inspires your work?
Timeless craftsmanship and design. I grew up in a very artsy family. My parents had their own upholstery shop for over 35 years where I grew up playing house in foam castles I built and cutting out patterns from beautiful textiles. My sister is an art teacher. And my grandpa was an university professor of Architecture back in Europe. So it's not just one thing; it's a combination of the people around, fabrics, patterns, architecture, life is self all around me. It's all beautiful. In the simplest form; life inspires me.
Above photos by Alix Gould
What products/services do you offer at StatuRue?
There's a wide scope but mainly wedding stationery, creative branding, commissioned art - from concept to completion of a finished product.
We love your collection of wedding offerings! Do you offer custom designs as well?
Yes! I originally only offered custom designs - I love creating unique pieces for my couples. Semi-custom suites have been newly added, for those couples that would still like to work with me, at a more cost effective price point!
What does your booking/ordering process look like?
Inquiries can be made through my website where I will send a questionnaire to get a better understanding of the project. We will then arrange a design consultation via phone, zoom or in person at my studio where we discuss papers, printing methods, embellishments and overall design. Once a custom quote has been sent and the client would like to book with me, the design process begins. This can range anywhere from a couple weeks to months. Every client is different! We work together with revisions until the client is 100% happy and then it's off to the presses!
How far in advance should couples inquire/order their wedding invitations?
It depends on what they need. Every design is different and different papers / printing processes take different amounts of time. I suggest booking a consultation at least 4-6 months in advance to when they'd like their finished product. For instance, if they want to send out their wedding invitation 2 months before their September wedding, then contact me between January - March.
Photo by Will Reid
What are your favourite tools or materials to work with?
I really can't choose. It's like asking a parent who their favourite child is lol But my go to's are: handmade paper from Pressed Paper, cardstock from Cards & Pockets, hand dyed silk ribbon from Stella Wolfe, and wax seals from Artisaire.
Do you have a favourite font or script?
Have you ever had a client request elements or themes that conflict with your style? Were you able to incorporate those elements while still staying true to your vision?
Yes! This happens a lot. I love hearing from clients with unique ideas. For instance, this summer I'm working on a multi-cultural Hindu and Canadian wedding and I can't wait! The couple are both film majors, so we're mixing film and embracing both their cultures into a beautiful symbiotic love story!
What are some unique ways clients can incorporate your work into their wedding?
Day of stationery! Whether it's a large format welcome sign, menus, or vow books - it makes their day that much more special and personalized for their guests. Or my favourite; a custom illustrated venue sketch; to frame and have as a keepsake!
What should your clients consider when selecting fonts, aesthetic, overall design, etc?
Stay true to yourself! It's your wedding! I love when I can meet clients in person or via zoom; as it gives me a better idea of their style - which always reflects through to what fonts, colours and aesthetics they like. If you like clean and minimalist, do that! If you like bold and colourful, let's add in fun pops of orange or teal! The world is your oyster!
Photo by Robin Sassi Photography
What lead you to offer brand development to other creatives?
I'm a formally trained illustrator and graphic designer and have been in the design / creative branding industry for over 16 years. From brand development, stylist, to creative director for brands and clients such as Le Labo, Re/Max, Indigo, Byredo, Aveeno/Neutrogena etc. I love elevating brands to the next level!
What is your biggest piece of advice for artists emerging into this line of work?
Quality over quantity. I'm a true believer that we as artists need to stand behind our work and products we create. I take my time working on each order. Putting my whole heart into what I do. I'd rather focus on a select number of clients than rush through orders.
We love how you speak about both brand identity and design. What does your creative process look like?
It's always unique to each client and their needs, as every business is so different. I initially sit down with them for a design consultation via phone, zoom or in person and go through exactly what they are looking for. Some clients only need a few items to get them started on their way and others I've helped carry out their branding through the years. I personally love staying in contact and helping my clients with new projects. This way, we evolve the brand throughout the years to flow with the times. It's like a wardrobe, you want your classic pieces to reflect your style, but you always add in one or two new pieces a season to freshen up your look!
Above photos by Emily Jean Photography
What has been your biggest challenge?
Being a one woman show! From meetings, design, invoicing, taxes, ordering materials, printing...It's a lot! But I wouldn't change it for the world! Sometimes I work in my pyjamas from bed ;)
What is the largest/most time consuming project or order you’ve created for a client?
I design invitations and day of stationery for a large company that holds an annual gala every year in either Bahama's or Las Vegas. They have a new theme each time, from "art deco" to "Junkanoo", it's always so fun to work with them! And I get help set up, so the hot weather and view always helps!
How has your business had to adapt during the pandemic?
There have been a lot of shifts in the wedding industry. From mirco wedding, to postponements, to cancellations. It's all very new to us, but I'm very blessed to have such wonderful clients and work associates. It's really such a lovely industry to be in. With understanding, patience and kindness we've adapted through very unique situations to make the most of what we can.
What has been your most memorable moment or experience?
I've had so many - oh gosh! #1 has to be being able to travel for work to some beautiful places has made me so grateful. #2 would be being featured on The Marilyn Denis Show with Lexi from Lexington & Co.!
Photo by Erin Leydon
A huge thank you to Melissa of StatueRue for taking the time to share a bit of her story with us! If the StatueRue aesthetic makes your heart skip a beat, we can totally relate! Here's where you can find more:
Tale of Tulle, Canadian Wedding Magazine