Insider to Insider: Whitney Speir, Owner Brown Sugar Design

June 26, 2009 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Brown Sugar Design

Brown Sugar Design

A few weeks ago I wrote about knowing your competition.  I told you to hug your competitor because he or she can be your greatest ally in knowing the specific niche for your business.  This week, I introduce to you one of my FAVORITE competitors: Brown Sugar Design.  Whitney and Jonathan Speir are co-owners of the invitation business and their work is exquisite!  They have elegance and beauty in everything they produce.  And they are really sweet too… sorta like brown sugar.  Here’s my interview with Whitney… enjoy!

Whitney Speir
Co-owner of Brown Sugar Design
Based in Seattle, WA (sell worldwide)
Established 2002

What is your favorite thing about weddings?

We love seeing details come together to make a wedding uniquely personal. Since we work with brides and grooms pretty early in the planning process, we get to hear them describe their perfect day…and as time goes on, and we work closely with them from save the dates to invitations to day-of items…we get to see their vision become a reality.

What is your best tip for time management?

Time management has been an ever-evolving project for us. Since we love what we do, we tend to work 12-14 hour days without even noticing. We’ve learned to discipline ourselves and to stick to a specific work schedule so that other important aspects of life don’t fall by the wayside.

With individual projects, we’ve found that two secrets to successful time management are 1) setting a timeline and 2) communicating that timeline with our clients. After all, we’re dealing with a hard deadline: the wedding day. Communicating deadlines for receiving content, sending designs for review, and the like at the start helps our clients feel at ease and keeps every part of the process moving at the proper pace.

What is your little marketing secret?

Our blog ( has been a great way to introduce new projects and keep people interested in our freshest work. We’ve also tried to be diligent to create and maintain relationships with other bloggers out there so that when we have something exciting to tell the world, they’re ready and willing to help us shout it from the rooftops. This has been such a wonderful source of business and press for us – and it’s free!

What is the funnest trend you are seeing in the industry?

In the invitation industry specifically, we love seeing the use of unexpected materials and techniques. Metallic foiling on chipboard, blind letterpress on wood veneer, screenprinted fabric, etched plexiglass, laser-cut details, die-cut shapes – there are so many new and interesting ideas out there!

If you were starting your business all over again, what would you have done differently?

We would have been much more diligent from the start in keeping tabs on our accounting. While we’ve always monitored it satisfactorily, it’s only been in the past year that we’ve really taken more of an interest in carefully planning every dollar in and every dollar out. It’s been such a benefit to us that I wish we had started much sooner.

Thanks Whitney!


Entry filed under: Insider to Insider, Market It, Productivity, Time Management, Trends.

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