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Invitations that set out to define

Paper Jam Studio's Danielle and Irini talk inspiration and success with Neos Kosmos

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30 January 2017

Paper Jam Studio is a boutique event stationery company, headed by Danielle Kanatas and Irini Piperoglou, two best friends with a unique passion for design, texture and all things paper. Not only are Danielle and Irini successfully juggling the demands of a thriving business which has grown from strength to strength, but Danielle, formerly in marketing, is a full-time mum of twin four-year-old boys, Nicolas and Zac, and two-year-old Amalia, and Irini is a recently- married, full-time practicing solicitor.

Their passion lies in creating unique stationery that is customised for their clients' every occasion, with a plethora of choices in typography, designs, paper stocks and colours at their fingertips. Both have a genuine excitement in their voices as they talk about weddings and other special occasions they have worked on, feeling as though they are a part of their clients' special day from the very beginning. The close rapport they create with their clients often sees their brides return for other milestones or refer their friends to them.

Some past clients whose names you may recognise include Cricket Australia, Harry the Hirer, social ambassador/blogger Rozalia Russian, as well as football player Travis Cloke and his model wife Beccy Panozza.

Danielle and Irini met five years ago through their husbands Theo and Kosta, who are childhood friends. The girls quickly realised they had a lot in common, sharing similar interests and upbringings. They have fond memories of Greek school, Greek dancing and both have strong family values as well as sharing a passion for entertaining, which they credit to their mothers. Danielle fondly recalls how their friendship flourished over the twins' christening. Despite being in the early stages of their friendship, she was deeply appreciative of Irini's help with the coordination and set-up of the event. They saw how well and enthusiastically they worked together, and the idea of Paper Jam Studio was born.

Paper Jam seeks to "beautify events through paper", with a range of products starting with invitations right through to the latest trend of personalised coasters. With the majority of their business being weddings, Danielle and Irini love being the ones responsible for introducing the milestone and embracing it each time as if it were their own. As they explain, an invitation to an event is the first representation of that day, it sets the tone for what your guests will expect on the day.

With a background in marketing, Danielle spends hours photographing the invitations for their social media. Being in the creative space, not only do the photographs need to cut through the visual 'clutter', they also strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors with a more witty and humorous tone.

"There's no point in talking about how luxurious the invitations are, for a photo will dictate that. Pictures speak a thousand words. We prefer to stop, talk and entertain our prospective clients by posting a great quality product."

The girls also realise how important customer service is in such a competitive market. They not only aim to respond to their enquiries in a timely manner, but to take the time to truly understand the unique requests and expectations of their clients, particularly for the most important day of their lives. Their passion is constantly acknowledged by their clients and respected by their suppliers.

They describe their style as "classic, timeless, and embracing typography". When they present their designs to a bride, they will often talk about the origin of the font and when it was created (some of their fonts are inspired by those from the 1800s). They like simple designs on luxurious imported papers, experimenting with vintage printing methods such as letterpress and foil printing. When a bride opts for specialty printing, it's important to keep the style minimalistic and not too over the top, which is also indicative of both of their personalities and personal styles. The adage 'less is more' is very true to their style.

When I asked about their favourite collaboration, without hesitation, they mentioned illustrator Natalie Rompotis, who they not only described as approachable, smart, intellectual and tenacious with well thought out execution, but also as a mentor, both professionally and personally. They have collaborated with Natalie on more than 15 occasions and the results have always been spectacular, with their styles meshing together naturally.

Having clearly defined roles in the partnership is something they also credit their success to. Both women design, and during their busy periods will engage a third external designer. Irini is the one in charge of customer service and the general running of the business and Danielle handles the wedding stationery, social media, branding and packaging. Packaging is very important to them and it's a part of their branding process. It's the end-to-end service they strive to achieve and beautiful finishing touches for the client to feel special. I ask them if they have ever clashed or disagreed and I'm assured that they haven't. There is a mutual respect and trust between them which is of the utmost importance, they tell me they "balance each other out" which, although by complete accident, they are so grateful for. They have successfully managed to balance their professional and personal relationship, both being quite regimented and setting aside time for weekly work meetings, even if it is in Mykonos while on a honeymoon or family vacation.

Plans for their own studio is at the forefront of their to-do list in the future, with the intention for it to be a beautiful workspace that employees love to work in. They plan to offer pilates classes, to help with the health of their co-workers and flower posies, handpicked from the market weekly. Danielle tells me they often use flowers in their work photography, not only for the aesthetics, but to stimulate their creative minds.

Currently, they are also very excited to be working on a mystery high-profile celebrity wedding who noticed their beautiful work on Instagram.

If you would like to know more about Danielle and Irini head to their site, www.paperjamstudio.com.au/what-we-do to find out a whole heap of quirky facts, from who considers themselves the "carrot connoisseur" to who loves everything French, as well as the fact that they are both self-proclaimed "cenosillicaphobics" (they have a fear of an empty wine glass). You can also see more amazing images of their work on Instagram @paperjamstudio and follow them to see who the mysterious celebrity wedding will be.

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