Appointed | DC Artist

Photographed by: Rachel Maucieri | Interview of: Suann Song of Appointed Co

How did you get started?

I have loved paper and stationery for as long as I can remember. I used to play paper store when I was young and have always collected paper—stationery, notebooks, pens, greeting cards—and still do. I’m a self-taught designer and designed “on the side” for years while I was a PR and marketing director, with the hopes of working full-time in the creative world one day. Shortly after the birth of my son I took a letterpress printing class and within the first hour of that class, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue.  That began my road to working in the creative world. For years, I built my experience and portfolio by designing and producing everything from wedding invitations to business collateral. That eventually lead to running a growing design studio where we opened a small stationery shop.  

Fast forward to 2013 when I came up with the idea for Appointed. My personal aesthetic has always been minimalist and gender-neutral and while I loved, and still do, Japanese and European paper products I couldn’t find the type of paper products I wanted—so I decided to create my own. That began 18 months of researching, prototyping and designing what I considered my ideal line. All my years of marketing, PR, owning a stationery store, letterpress printing and designing for others have played an invaluable role in the building of Appointed. 

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What influences you?/ Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m hugely inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese design—I’ve always admired the pared back and thoughtful approach to design from these regions. I’m also a long-time fan of British designer Margaret Howell. She has a very utilitarian and minimalist approach to her luxury designs.  Any time where minimalism and design meets function is super inspiring to me.  

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How do you balance your personal time + work?/ How do you create separation?

I try to schedule out my days and weeks as much as possible. I also organize my tasks — things I can do from home or on the way to work or tasks that can only be done at the office.  My days vary a lot because I run Appointed, maintain branding clients for my branding company and I’m also a mom.  So I’ve learned to try to be as organized as possible in order to get everything I need to get done each day.  But it's not easy and there are days I feel like I’m just running around! 

Its taken me a long time to learn how to separate personal time + work but I’ve learned over the years its important to have that separation and to have work/life balance.  When I’m having family time I try to be as present as possible and not check email or my phone.  And when I’m working my family knows that I work best when I can focus on work. So it's definitely a joint effort and having a super supportive and understanding family and husband. 

What keeps you motivated?/ Why do you love doing this?

I love paper and I love designing. So I’m usually pretty motivated because I’m so fortunate to get to be doing what I love. I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit — and seeing something you create and watching it grow and catch-on is motivating in itself.  For me, the biggest challenge is always coming up with new ideas, content, products but that’s also the fun part. 

Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years?/ What's next for your brand?

I hope to continue to grow Appointed.  I was as strategic as possible when I launched the brand and tried to build something that would scale.  In the next few years I would love to be one of the leading brands in our category — a go-to for fine American-made desktop paper products.  We’re working on several new releases for Spring 2017 including a series of leather products and expanding our popular planner series!