Each hand-made customized themed invite Melissa creates with her client,showcases her passion for creating a timeless memory that captures the event forever happily for the recipients. Her international background as a German-American allows her to combine European classical design with American sensibilities into modern and sophisticated invitations and cards.
Melissa McDowell is currently a Bellville, New Jersey resident. Pricing for invitations are available upon request.
What inspired you to start the House of Papier collection?
While I have always enjoyed making cards and invitations for friends and family, I never considered doing it for a profit until I was asked by a friend to do invitations for the launch of her non-profit organization. Her request was prompted by a hand-made invitation I sent her to join my book club. She called me and asked me to create 250 invitations for her event. I hesitated at first because I had never created such a large quantity at once. Eventually I gave in and got such positive feedback from the guests who received them that I decided to start a business. I started out doing notes cards, stationary and invitations. Once I began to research the invitation industry I saw the interest and need for custom high-end invitations. I eventually narrowed down my product to silk box invitations when a bride requested them but could not find a stationary company that could create them for her.
Your background is very diverse , German and American, did this influence the style of the collection when you select what to create?
Yes, my German heritage has had a major influence on my entire business. Just in the name alone, the word "Papier" (pronounced pop-ear) means "Paper" in German. Growing up in Europe you are heavily influenced by fashion without even realizing it. When I was younger I always thought the U.S. was ahead of us in terms of fashion trends. However, as I became an adult I began to realize that not only is fashion in the United States influenced by European fashion, but that the fashion designs in Europe are a season ahead of the United States. To this day I love buying new purses and shoes when I go home to Germany because then for a whole year I have fashion items that don't start appearing in stores here in the states until a year later. This fashion experience translates into the couture nature of my invitation designs, I approach my invitation designs the same way a fashion designer approaches the one-of-a-kind design of a custom dress. Thus the name House of Papier; I see my company as a design house for invitations.
How challenging is to interpret your clients vision into an amazing keepsake that is distinctly a HOP creation, but still their own treasure?
It's really not all that difficult. People choose House of Papier invitations because they love the uniqueness of our designs. They want to include the opulent features that are customary to silk box invitations so it really comes down to incorporating the client's vision without compromising the integrity of the House of Papier brand.
What are some of the most interesting or unusual invitations you had to create for a client?
The most interesting was my first silk box invitation. The client and her fiance were jewelers and were interested in an invitation that was decked out in Swarovski Crystals. The main embellishment on her invite was a large teardrop Swarovski pendant. It was very lavish to say the least. The most unusual and I think most creative, was an invitation for a couple who were having a beach wedding in Jamaica. They wanted to incorporate palm trees, sand and seashells. The seashells and palm trees were easy to include, but I had to get creative with the sand without creating a messy invitation. I ended up using the sand at the base of the palm tree so that it looked like the palm tree was on the beach. It was beautiful and is by far my most favorite creation to date.
What is next in 2010 for HOP – what are some of your seasonal items, we would know about?
2010 is gong to be a big year for House of Papier. I recently hired an Assistant Invitation Designer to help meet the demand of large orders which will help free me up to do more selling and designing. I also have a new Clutch Invitation line coming out next Spring that was inspired straight from the Bryant Park runways of New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion week. I am really excited about this collection. Since all of our designs are custom, we don't really have seasonal items per se, but during the Spring and Summer we have a huge influx of orders for wedding invitations.
When not designing your exquisite invitations what do to relax?
When I have time to relax, which is not that often I love to workout, read, or just cuddle on the couch with my dog Midnight and watch mindless television.