Cutture – The Interview

Cutture is now firmly positioned as one of the leading laser cutting stationary suppliers in the market. Creating astonishing invitations for world class events. Cutture’s invitations are pieces of art.

Designed and made in London and Bedfordshire, the invitations and event styling pieces tell unique stories. Upon receiving one of their invitations, you couldn’t possibly not attend the party.

Cutture is now one of the most well respected stationary designers out there with a very unique product. Where did it all begin?

Well, it’s a long story! Dominic and myself (husband and wife) met at university where we became Interior Architects by trade. Fresh out of uni we both worked for a prestigious architecture company where trained to be model makers. I continued to work part time for this company whilst Dominic became full time on our first design practice. We were both the tender age of 22. Whilst working on interior architecture and graphic design projects, we finally got our first, very cold, brick shed office away from home.

We then began freelance work with local architects in Fulham by offering an architectural model making service. Using our landlords workshop, with every commission we bought a new piece of workshop equipment. Fast forward a few years, we got married and also started a family. Then in 2005 we purchased a laser cutter and began experimenting with graphic design and laser cutting. The possibilities seemed endless and we completely fell in love with the process. Cutture was born.

We illustrated and laser cut life stories for friends wedding invitations. Before long we had a client base, a place in the luxury market and traction for some really interesting projects. And so it began. We now run Cutture as our only company. Our previous companies helped fund its start up, but we couldn’t sustain running three with three children! Now we run a team of nine from a beautiful London studio and a new manufacturing workshop in Bedfordshire. We’re very proud of what Cutture has become.

We love that you have a husband and wife team at the helm! Has this helped grow your business to the height it is at today?

We are often asked this and how we manage it. The truth is we have always worked together, from university to all our business ventures, it just works for us. We know each other inside out and the key is to have different roles. We learnt that early on.

Creatively we each bring different things to the table. Rarely do we clash on ideas for products or innovation – well maybe occasionally! We’ve sometimes felt we have held the company back by having huge pressures of family responsibility. Perhaps this has been a good thing though and enabled us to grow steadily in a considered fashion.

What journey can your clients expect to experience from the moment they enquire with Cutture?

We have three very different types of clients. Ultimately for all, we want to deliver quality and reassurance that they are in the best hands for bespoke stationery and laser cutting.

For our wedding clients we want them to have a really enjoyable experience. So often weddings become unnecessarily stressful and we don’t want creating their stationery to be a stressful process.

We get to know each and every one of our clients. We listen and understand exactly what they are envisaging, then make it happen.

For our corporate clients similarly, we have experience in working with luxury brands and understand the need for meticulous organisation and designing products which use their voice to get people to come to their marketing events. It’s a really vital service we are offering for brands.

We recently opened one of your invitations. It was a golden box and inside was a dancing ballerina and a giraffe! It was incredible and we wanted to put our dress on and go to the event immediately. Do you think that your invitations increase attendance to events?

Well that is exactly the reaction we aim for! Absolutely, our mantra is that a Cutture invitation will increase attendance to your event. We had a lightbulb moment when we were at an event once, which we designed the invitation for. I over heard more than once ‘I only came became because of the invitation’. It was only then that we truly realised what an important job we were are doing.

The invitations are not extravagant to be flash. They genuinely get people to events, which is vital for companies needing to launch a new product or send a message out there. It’s better to send less invitations which are far more considered than thousands of generic ones which end up in the recycling. Surely you want yours to still be on desks months after the event?

Even for private clients parties or weddings, a great invitation is kept, memories are preserved from it, and in this day and age, that is a wonderful thing.

Do you find that your corporate and private clients have the same level of creativity when it comes to their event styling and invitation design?

Generally people who hire us to create their invitations see the investment and understand the reasons for our creativity and design, therefore yes both types of client generally have the similar creative edge over others. Often we are working with event planners who have an overall vision for the event design and they are pulling together lots of other fabulous supplier ideas too. It’s wonderful when we get a really creative brief and have free reign over the design, they are always the best for us!

What was your first major order and how did you deliver it without the production unit that you have today? 

Our first major project was for a 40th birthday party for Quintessentially. A great client to get early on and always a creative brief, we created a stunning 3 dimensional box invitation to mirror a venue which then closed down, so we had to re-design a new one very quickly. Still a box style invitation wth gold silk screen printed vinyl record graphic, information booklet and wrist band embedded within the box and 3 dimensional butterflies popping out. This was before we discovered the glue we now used and had to double side tape all of the thousands of butterflies to pop out in a certain way, it was painstaking, I think we had to make 250 hours of work with all hands on deck, we just worked though the night in those days and called on friends to help!

What have been your proudest moments so far at Cutture?

There have been a couple of stand out moments, every new premises is always the big one, walking around after hours, thinking ‘we’ve done this’ and from our kitchen table. We have renovated all of our spaces ourselves so it’s a big achievement every time and hopefully providing spaces our employees love to work in as well as for clients to visit.

Last year was also a bit milestone, Dominic and I have been working hard behind the scenes on the business and have been working to raise investment to buy new machinery. There have been Dragon’s Den moments, raising finance along the way and now we are happy to say we have a private investor after 2 years of hard work business planning, it was really great to see someone else sharing our vision and believing in what we have done.

We’re so excited for the future of Cutture… with a new unit just opened in Sharnbrook, what we can expect from you over the next couple of years?

Our new workshop houses our incredible new laser cutter which the investment has helped buy. It’s game changing and will allow us to design for retail and take on volume in-house. We want to become a household name and create the best of the best product. Whilst continuing working with our bespoke clients innovating in design and expand into other countries, just a small case of making it all happen now!

 

With special thanks to our industry expert

Helen

Helen

Founder of Cutture

With a history in architecture, Helen's passion for conceptual design runs through the brand to the core. Responsible for developing Cutture's vision and how they present ourselves, she helps ensure the company be what you expect them to be.

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