I am sharing the story of Veronica who I chose to create my new company branding, I adore what she created, it has totally captured the essence of what we are about. Veronica is a renowned calligrapher, wedding stationer and graphic designer whose creations are deeply influenced by the shapes and patters found in nature. With a client list including Chanel, Gucci and Montblanc, Veronica is also the author of two books and the founder of L'atelier de Veronica Halim, a luxury design atelier focusing on wedding stationery, gifting and all things beautiful. It was a joy to chat to Veronica about her journey.
Tell us your story and what inspired you to set up your company?
I started my career as a designer specialising in corporate branding in 2004 and went on to open my own design studio with my husband. It was a fun experience and I really enjoyed working and learning about different types of businesses from different corporate sectors (from financials, retails, manufacturing, plantations to mining). When I was planning my wedding, I started to take more interest in the beautiful and delicate world of weddings and started to pick up calligraphy again in my free time as a meditative hobby. One thing leads to another, I started to do more and more calligraphy workshops in Indonesia and Japan and decided to leave the corporate design world and start a new company focusing more on the wedding industry.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment was being able to introduce Modern Calligraphy combined with everyday styling to the Japanese audience in 2014 and make it into a trend that is still growing really fast today, just from doing regular workshops all over the country. Being able to author two books (“Calligraphy Styling” in 2017 and “Calligraphy Lifestyle” in 2020) both published by Shufunotomo Co. Ltd. is also another accomplishment I’m extremely proud of. “Calligraphy Styling” went on to be translated into 5 different languages.
What do you love most about running your own business?
Having the freedom to set the direction for the company and be able to produce things that fit our vision.
What is your company mission statement?
To be able to inspire and bring smiles and happiness to our clients and customers.
What sets you and your business apart from competitors?
We always create from our heart, not following trends but to always try to set the trend.
If you were re-starting your business again, what three things would you do first?
To set up a better internal system, starting from day one.
What is your vision for the future of your company?
To have boutiques in different major cities in the world so that our customers all over the world can experience our quality stationery firsthand.
What are the most rewarding aspects of what you do?
You get to do the things you like and to interact with and be inspired by many like-minded creatives in the industry.
What do you think it takes to build a successful business and brand?
Consistency, curiosity, persistence and having a great team.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would say I am leaning towards Laissez-faire leadership style where I set an overall direction for the team, inspire them and let them imagine, dream and explore by not limiting their creativity.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Like minded creatives, or brands that have a similar aesthetic and value.
Favourite part about your job?
To be able to create different things for each project and come up with new and fresh ideas.
What is the best piece of career advice you have been given?
Don’t create things based on the market’s demand but to create the demand.
What advice would you offer budding entrepreneurs?
Do things that you are passionate about and love, not because of the money. Money will come eventually when you really love what you do and keep on doing it and elevate.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Adaptable, creative, positive.
What is your life motto?
To be grateful each day and stay positive.
Who inspires you and why?
Too many great artists, designers, inventors and creatives inspires me, from Michelangelo, Renoir, Monet, Finn Juhl, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Phoebe Philo, Oki Sato, Hiroshi Sugimoto to Steve Jobs. Their visions and the abilities to see things that other don’t see and express them in their works is what inspires me most.
What book should we all read?
White by Kenya Hara.
Do you have any daily routines?
My typical day starts with a cup of coffee, I go through emails, touch base with my staff reviewing lists of ongoing projects for the week, lunch break, 2.5 hours of my 'do not disturb' time focusing on creating, drawing, calligraphy, designing, followed by some client meetings, coffee break at around 4:30 – 5 pm, finishing loose ends and preparing things to do and what needs to be completed the following day before ending the day.
What have you learnt over the last two years?
To be as flexible as possible. During the first few months of the pandemic, wedding business especially were hit hard as couples postponed or outright cancelled their events. During this time, we managed to come up with products such as handmade style shoots as well as our personalized paperweights to help the company stay afloat. Thankfully, due to our global clientele the bad situation didn’t last too long for us and we could go back to somewhat “business as usual” in less than a year.
What is your favourite possession and why?
My adzuki bean heat pad given by a dear friend of mine in Japan. After a long day of sitting on my desk, I usually end up with a stiff neck and shoulder. So, at the end of the day, I pop in the microwave and put it on while sitting on the bed. It’s really relaxing.
What is your greatest personal achievement?
My work is my life, and my life is my work, therefore, my personal achievement is the same as my #2 work answer.
What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
My day always starts with a cup of coffee, a slice of toast with my favorite jam while listening to my calming morning playlist. During this time, I usually browse the internet, read blogs to find new things that can inspire me.
How do you unwind?
Definitely a hot bath followed by watching my favourite series.
How would you spend your perfect day?
Being in Japan, going to the rural areas. Staying in a nice ryokan with a nice outdoor onsen. Spending the day roaming around looking at odd and interesting things I can find.
What makes you smile?
The smell and sound of rain.
Tell us about your personal style
I like something timeless, something neutral and not too vibrant or colourful.
What are your wardrobe staples?
Clean cut Jil Sander tailored blazer.
Where is your favourite place to travel to?
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration for me comes from everywhere. Especially through people I’ve met and the story they share, space, objects and through observation in nature. Inspiration doesn’t always come in a visual form, it can be also from a non-visual form such as senses, the sound, the smell, taste, feeling and emotion/experience.
Who are your style icons?
Do you collect anything?
I collect ceramics, pretty papers, and unique product packaging, especially chocolate boxes.
What are your favourite instagram accounts?
@a_unefille , @maureenme
What are your Top Tips for entertaining?
Creating an element of surprise and make your guest feel at home.
Image copyright - Veronica Halim
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