Ellen Powell is the founder and chief creative officer at Blushing Confetti – a pretty rad stationery company that likes to mix that cheeky Aussie humor with on trend design. 😉
Did you know?
Ellen is a Scorpio who has lived in London twice and would move back in a hearbeat if Australia wasn’t so bloody incredible. Her friends will tell you she is the crazy cat lady who not only talks to her cats but for them as well and 80% of her snapchats are about her fur babies.
When we asked Ellen where the name of her stationery brand on the rise came from, she explained to us that she was and still is obsessed with paper, especially the confetti kind and her favourite colour is blush – hence BLUSHING CONFETTI.
Blushing Confetti creates cheeky yet charming stationery for the modern, fun lady. The range extends from greeting cards, notepads, agendas, prints, gift tags, gift wrap to calendars with much more to come.
Everything that is produced by BLUSHING CONFETTI is designed and hand-assembled in Australia with only the highest quality of materials. Most of the products are also printed locally too! #supportlocal
“We want people to feel excited and maybe even chuckle when they receive a package so orders are often teamed with a handwritten note or unexpected message. We want everyone to have beautiful stylish desks or connect with someone else through a cheeky card. We want people to feel something.” – Ellen Powell
Ellen finds inspiration from EVERYWHERE! For BLUSHING CONFETTI a lot of the inspiration comes from interiors and fashion but also everyday life. The next collection has stemmed from one photo of a tile taken somewhere in the world which will of course be mixed in with a whole lot of other ideas but nevertheless starting at one tile used in paving. Ellen also has to keep in mind that there’s not just the graphic design to think of but also the functional product. In that case inspiration comes from their friends and things that make sense. Ellen always asks herself – “How would I use that?”
“Our ideas start spinning when we see pattern, texture and colour!” – Ellen Powell
*We are gasping at the fact Ellen is already designing items for her 2018 collection! ARRGGHH!
Ellen jumped heart first (she wouldn’t say head) into First Instyle in Melbourne 2015. She’d been coming up with road blocks when trying to wholesale her small range of 12 card designs and a few prints back then. BLUSHING CONFETTI had an average retail customer base coming to the website regularly but not the high volumes they required to create more product. Life Instyle was their first real investment into achieving that reach into the wholesale market.
“Moving into wholesale has made it possible to ramp up our product development.” – Ellen
Straight from the horse’s mouth….
How did you first discover you were talented in the art of stationery?
My talent for incorporating foils with different coloured card and paper types really came about in university. If you don’t know much about foiling, well let me tell you it’s super pretty but super expensive to have printed. I somehow twisted the arm of a local foiler (who foiled Brisbane City Council products… random!!) to do one or two samples for me when it came to University products. I was obsessed then and it hasn’t ever stopped. I then went on to do wedding stationery and then landed where we are now!
Why do you do what you do?
Ultimately my passion lies in print and that is translated through to our products. Creating my own product is a dream but it’s not just the product that gets me out of bed everyday. Each day is a new challenge and boy are there lots! Challenges you never thought you would ever have to deal with and as you grow, even different stuff happens. Those challenges excite me, scare the shit out of me and motivate me to keep going.
Challenges are something all businesses face. What challenges has BLUSHING CONFETTI had to face and how were they overcome?
Gosh where do you begin… your whole journey is just challenge after challenge to be honest! But these two are probably the most relevant for any business starting out.
Feeling alone in your journey:
When you are starting out, you most likely ARE on your own… unless of course if you have a business partner. At the time of Blushing Confetti moving from wedding stationery into actual products, I had an on the fence (yet supportive) husband who didn’t really understand why I would want to give up a high paying professional Art Director role. He was incredibly worried for me and due to his lack of knowledge of the industry couldn’t really comment on it or motivate me other than to say to go with how I felt. Owning your own business can be an incredibly lonely experience but oh so rewarding! Be sure to surround yourself or at least try to connect with like minded business savvy individuals in any industry that you can have a chinwag with.
How do you balance it all! Especially with trying to increase product types, wholesaling etc. There is no quick answer here. It really comes down to each individual case but you can’t be safe. You need to take calculated risks. Extend yourself but don’t put all your eggs in the one basket. We invest a lot in trade shows both in Australia and the United States and yes it does hurt the bank balance at the time, but the benefits do and will continue to outweigh the negatives.
To any business out there that is currently feeling like they are struggling, what hard hitting advice would you give them?
The brutally honest answer is Work Smarter. Hustle harder and Make It Happen. If you have a well thought out product/service that there is a genuine need for, then you just need to create your space in the market. If you have exhausted every avenue then you can always reevaluate, play with new product or designs until you find your niche. Whatever part of your journey, you will always have to shift directions at some time – it could be small product changes and it could be significant business changes but nothing will ever be easy or remain the same.
Before I started a business I kept hearing the age old advice of there is no such thing as luck, only hard work. Now embarking on the journey with my own company, I definitely believe this is the case. You create your own chances with sheer hard work and determination. It won’t happen overnight. It could take 12 months, 5 years or even longer to get there. Don’t give up!
Triumphs are also a huge part of business life. Give us a reason to crack open the vino!
I am actually the worst at celebrating my triumphs because I am normally onto the next challenge but here goes…
– A biggie for me was Launching in New York at the National Stationery Show. That took some guts – financially, emotionally, physically and we got through it… just!
– We’ve been working behind the scenes for a while now with some big brands and exciting collabs.. whilst I can’t reveal these yet. It’s pretty cool that these brands think we are a bit of alright!
– Launching new product types. There’s a whole big process that happens prior to even a notebook coming out. So the fact that it makes it onto the shelves on time and looking great is a huge triumph for me!
If you were hosting a dinner party what 4 people would you invite and why?
Lisa Messenger – Because she is one hell of a motivational woman! She has nothing but positive vibes ALL the time! Not to mention.. launching a magazine in a time where print media is slowly dieing and ACTUALLY succeeding. Incredible.
Anna Rifle – Anna is the founder of Rifle Paper Co. which is a US based stationery company. She is humble, very talented and such an inspiration in my industry.
Anne Hathaway – Now this is one classy lady. Beauty, brains and I reckon she’d be pretty damn cool to chat with!
Richard Branson – Well it’s a no brainer really. Plus I needed at least one man at the dinner table right?!