Insider to Insider: Cathy Olson, Owner of Love at First Invite

Cathy Olson’s wedding invite designs mirror her brand name. They truly are lovely.  And, I’m quite impressed with everything she’s been able to do in just 2 years in business!  Wow.  (Seriously, I think at year 2, I was just barely getting my website up.)   I love her bio:

“Wedding stationery design found me, and I’m so happy it did, because it truly was Love at First Invite for me.”

It’s a love affair with paper!   It’s a love affair with design!  You can see it Cathy’s work.  You can see it how she talks about her craft.  And, for those of you that are reading this… afraid to take the big scary leap… do like Cathy… and “push past the uncomfortable/scary part and get through it.  I always come out on the other side with a new outlook.”  I LOVE THAT!

Cathy Olson
Owner of Love at First Invite & Love Inspired

San Diego, CA
Established 2008

Why did you start your business(es)?

All of my life I’ve been an artist, but I’ve always been searching for that medium that was “the one” for me. From a young age I was in drawing classes, watercolor classes, photography classes, sculpture classes, animation classes, you name it. In graphic design and web design I finally found my medium. After getting my Bachelors in Art and Design, I got a job at a hip design studio in downtown San Diego. I was liking it, but it wasn’t until designing my first wedding invitation that I truly found my passion – Love at First Invite. I looked around at custom wedding stationery studios only to find their prices were much too high for the average bride to afford. I then set out on a mission to bring custom wedding stationery to all engaged couples, at all price points, because everyone deserves to have their stationery totally and completely reflect them as a couple and their perfect day. Once I began meeting with people both deeply in love with each other, and my work, I was hooked! I opened my own studio and have never looked back.

The beginning of this year I also started up Love-Inspired, to bring together my knowledge of corporate print and web design, with wedding industry design, in order to help Wedding professionals create effective and relevant branding materials to help their businesses grow and reach more clients. Working with other wedding professionals has been such a blessing to me. These folks are my kindred souls and I am amazed by all the talent I get to see everyday in them.

What book do you recommend to new business owners? Why?

Now, I am really into reading business books. It’s one of my most favorite things to do in the whole wide world. But the very first one I read, still to this day, had the most impact on me. I am totally, forever, and always in love with this book for its humorous and complete insights for women creatives trying to bring their dreams to the world. This book gave me the courage, strength, know-how to go out on my own, quit my 9-5 and follow my dreams. It’s called “The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business” by Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon. I really can’t say enough about this true gem. It’s got advice from just starting out, to staying in business, and everything in between. These ladies are my heroes and I’ll forever be changed by this book.

Do you have any cool goal-setting tips to share with us?

To me, it’s always about having that high-level plan. I hear a lot about making small, attainable goals, but I also feel it’s soooo important to dream big. What would you do if all of your wildest dreams came true? What are your wildest dreams? What’s keeping you from pursuing them? Figure out your obstacles and overcome them anyway. I find that whenever I encounter something hard to do, or something super scary, if I push past the uncomfortable/scary part and get through it, I always come out on the other side with a new outlook. #1 It never was as hard as I imagined it to be, and #2 amazing things start to happen that I never could have imagined! It’s those times in life that require a little irrational thinking and a lot of faith that really make a difference. Start big and make big goals! Then take leaps of faith to make those happen.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge as a business owner?

I find that the biggest challenge to a business owner is to “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch-on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mister in-between.” It’s a cute song, but has a very important message to tell us. It can be hard sometimes to block out negativity – whether it be from a family member, friend, message board, client or even yourself. Negativity, stress and worry are completely unproductive and do nothing to help us reach our goals. I practice “letting go” and giving things “up” when I start to feel negativity creep in. Surround yourself with positivity and things that de-stress you – whether it be music, a candle or scent, colors, certain photographs. Stay around positive people and dwell on positive feedback. Keeping in a state of gratitude keeps us grounded. Some keep journals to keep track of all of the things they are grateful for. A good friend told me, positivity is like soil, water and sunshine to the soul! We begin to grow!

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

If I had it to do over again, there are a few things that I could have done to make it a little easier on myself, but it’s always a learning experience, and it was my path to take. But… if I was giving advice to myself two years ago, I would say, don’t be afraid to get help when you need it. It’s okay to give up control sometimes and trust others. And… enjoy the ride!

Thanks Cathy!

Want more great reads?  Check out our book list!

Is there someone that you think is AWESOME in the wedding industry?  Tell us about’m!


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