Ask The Experts – Abigail Warner.

Abigail Warner Stationery

If you read our vlogging post earlier this week then you’ll already know that I’m an interior infatuated, art loving, frustrated florist. You’ll also be aware that I’m obsessed with all things paper. Be it a gorgeous print, exquisite handwritten type or the sweetest suite of personalised stationery you can guarantee that I’ll be hooked or it will be pinned to within an inch of its life on my Pinterest boards. (Incidentally you can follow me here if you’re interested in seeing what’s caught my eye this week.)

Ever since I first entered the wedding world (some time ago now folks) I’ve adored, lusted after and admired in equal parts the work of Abigail Warner.

To say she’s a perfect paper genius would be an understatement.

Abbey is the woman (actual guru!) behind the luxury paper goods company Abigail Warner creating beautiful designs for weddings, businesses and paper obssessed folk such as myself.

From designing and selling greetings cards in illustrious boutiques such as Selfridges and Paperchase the world over, to her latest venture – an interiors project with fashion and textile designer, Pearl Lowe – Abbey continues to push the boundaries of the stationery world.

And so today lovelies, we have a real treat for you; we’ve managed to persuade the lovely Abbey to down tools for a few wee hours to answer all of your stationery conundrums and perhaps suggest some solutions to your paper related woes.

Perhaps you’re having difficulty with a certain turn of phrase within your invites or you need some guidance about how to start the process of commissioning a bespoke stationery suite. Are you in a paper pickle over your table plan? Why not let this superwoman work her magic and help you on your way.

But wait. That’s not all. You see Abbey has recently launched her brand new website and some glorious new designs to boot. And folks, they are absolutely exquisite.

Don’t believe me…why not check them out for yourself.

Take it away Ms Warner.

Abigail Warner Wedding Stationery

Abbey: Hello…

I’ll be totally honest with you. As I am typing this, I have a glass of wine in one hand, phone in the other, I’m occasionally scribbling notes, checking emails and wondering if I sent the right documents to print – all whilst having an ear out for the dog wanting to be let out for pee, and planning tomorrow’s outfit in my head but that’s life for us hardworking girls, right? Right! So take a seat and pour yourself some wine {or tea/ coffee/ diet coke depending on what time of the day you are joining me}.

And Hello! I am Abigail Warner or Abbey {unless you are reading this Mum} I have a little design studio in Derby {that’s near Nottingham} but I also spend a lot of time in the smoke as that’s where most of my lovely customers seem to hail from, and as I love shopping, eating out and train travel {good job really} – I don’t mind one little bit.

Abigail Warner Bespoke Wedding Stationery Watercolour Blue

About the Business

I design luxury paper goods for weddings, businesses and people who just love design, paper and illustration. I also design and sell greetings cards for gorgeous boutiques and shops with my designs being stocked in London’s Selfridges and Paperchase as well as in beautiful boutiques in and across the UK, Europe and Australia.

I absolutely love to combine great design with traditional print-making techniques and most of my wedding commissions involve a combination of processes such as letterpress {creating a design that is pressed into the paper}, foiling {using a hot transfer process to create a gorgeous finish} or thermography {using heat to create a raised design}. I love working with brides so that I can help celebrate great love stories, and that is exactly what I do. Each one of my designs are bespoke and, just like my couples, a one off.

Abigail Pastel Bespoke Wedding Inspiration Blue Pink

I limit the number of clients I work with when it comes to wedding design which helps keep my brand exclusive. I’m neither a trendsetter nor do I follow trends, I just love the creative process and I seem to attract clients that like what I like, which is always nice, that old law of attraction at work.

I also find that because I am not known just as a wedding stationery designer I get some really interesting projects that cross weddings, designs, fashion, beauty and interiors, which also helps keep designs fresh.

Abigail Warner Black And White Glittery Metallic Wedding Invite Stationery

I’ve been lucky to be involved in lots of exciting creative projects, from designing retail space at Harrods {in the good ol’ days – until last summer – when Harrods had their own gorgeous stationery department before they sold out to WHSmith – I sold their most expensive card. If bling was your thing I had your back}.

More recently I’ve been involved in an exciting interiors project with fashion and textile designer, Pearl Lowe and her book ‘Vintage Craft’ for Harper Collins (launching May 2013) which saw me creating gorgeous craft projects and working on the design and illustrations; I am also Editor at Large of Pearl Lowe’s Vintage Home.

My client list includes lots of gorgeous folk including some lovely celebrities and also royalty {ooh I say, the girl from Derby done good hey?}.

Abigail Warner Mint Green Blush Pink Wedding Stationery Paper Pretty

My Inspirations

My designs are greatly inspired by fashion and interiors, I spend far too much time pondering love, life and the universe at the V&A, Harvey Nichols and Liberty, and my ultimate brand inspirations are Orla Kiely and Kate Spade.

I adore to travel and my favourite place in the whole wide world {except for my freshly made bed} is the Amalfi coast in Italy and {predictably} Paris. In terms of business I find incredibly successful business women who appear to have life ‘sorted’ beyond inspirational. These include Natalie Massenet who founded Net-A-Porter, India Knight (journalist) and Sophie Dahl (model turned cooking guru) and since attending the Vogue Festival at the weekend – Tamara Mellon, founder of Jimmy Choo {sold last year for over 500,000,000 people, thats A-LOT-OF-SHOES}.

Abigail Warner Pink Striped Stripy Vintage Wedding Invite RSVP Stationery Suite

I keep myself motivated by booking myself on workshops and classes to broaden my skills in design {and non design subjects – unless cakes counts as design?} I also spend lots of time hanging out with very inspirational people in the oh-so-many collaborations that I involve myself and the business in and I also like to have personal projects.

Pastel Pom Pom Wedding Decor OMG Badge

I’m inspired daily; I have a gorgeous house, rather wonderful boyfriend {I’m not being smug – believe me I kissed my fair share of frogs} lovely naughty dog and I get so much support and love from my gorgeous friends and my rather special mum, who handles everything life throws at her with a knowing nod, a wink and chink of a {large} wine glass.

Cute Dog Abigail Warner Instagram AGA

About Me

I am a keen fashion and textile lover, total typography, print-and-paper-making-geek. I am a Diet Coke-hooked, Mojito {and chavtastic Rosé wine spritzer} drinking, Mulberry loving {I have a 1978 from the Saul collection that I would save first in a fire} and Vogue-obsessed workaholic with a naughty sense of humour, the mouth of a sailor and and an eye for style always with my trademark perfectly-painted-nails and trademark never-perfect-blonde-bed-head and I always have a splash of leopard print about my person.

Vintage Mulberry Bag Romantic Florals

I like to take pictures of my feet, food, flowers and daily antics.

I tell it how it is, not always what you want to hear and I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I love to smile, dance, drink cocktails and eat gorgeous food and although I have a prized handbag collection I believe it is the simple things in life that really make you happy.

Cut Glass Crystal Pink Ranunculua stripy washi tape

There are three little pieces of advice that I live by…”kill them with kindness” ”be the best that you can be at what you do” and “pay as much as you can afford.” hardly original – but seem to work for me.

Abigail Warner Metallic Cream Bespoke Wedding Invite Stationery

So then lovelies have you got any questions for the beautiful Abbey?

Just use the comments box below to ping your queries, stationery trials and tribulations or general paper trivia Abbey’s way and she’ll be more than happy to answer them for you.

All my love Lolly xxx

Author: Lauren Gautier-Ollerenshaw
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.

41 thoughts on “Ask The Experts – Abigail Warner.

  1. Amazing work!!! Abigail is also one of the loveliest ladies, she designed me some wedding wallplanners that were so utterly beautiful my Grandma said she wasn’t going to write on it but frame it! Abigail-do you happen to have any birth announcement cards I could take a look at? xx

  2. Morning!
    Abigail your work is fantastic – truly inspirational. My question may be slightly different to some others: for a long time now I have been producing one-off cards and invitations for friends birthdays, weddings etc – it has always been a dream to pursue this stationary love. Recently my job (I’m a kitchen/Joinery designer with a background in architecture) has unfortunately been changed due to a slow economy and I now find myself with two extra spare days a week. So I’ve decided it’s now or never! My fiance and I are getting married in September with a lot of DIY taking place, currently I am slogging away on the invite packages. So far all the feedback I have received has been positive so I want to test my skills and give it a go.
    How did you start up in the stationary business and what advice would you give someone in my position?
    Any advice would be gratefully received!
    Thanks so much x Alice

  3. Do you have a best friend? You didn’t mention one? I reckon I could be it!! Then I could borrow your bags!! (I’m not a stalker)

    Seriously beautiful, cool, different and most of all inspirational. It’s got my head thinking. Again.

    I’ll be viewing this post with interest today x

  4. Firstly thank you to the gorgeous team at Rock My Wedding for featuring little ol’ me!
    Secondly, hello! ask away lovelies.
    Hey gorgeous @sammi – hope you are well and sounds like congratulations are in order!
    I don’t do any announcements of the peg as it were – but can create you something gorgeous so just get in touch.
    Hello @HB that post is taken by my beautiful best friend – who also works with me, but hell there is a lot of love to go round! xo

  5. Hi Abi! Wow what lovely stationery

    I just wanted to ask whether you thought “save the dates” were absolutely necessary and if you find that nearly all your brides have them?…I want to invest in some really beautiful letter press invitations but budget wise can’t afford everything (I want matching menus too!) so thought perhaps I could get away with an e-save the date or something?

    Faye Xx

  6. Abbey you are just wonderful!
    I was extremely lucky to have Abbey design my wedding invitations and menus and they were just perfect. I can’t believe you just ‘got me’ straight away.
    So no questions from me… Just praise and admiration! You do a wonderful thing xx

  7. Good Morning!
    What an inspirational post for a Friday morning – thank you!
    My question is slightly different. For a good while now I have been producing one-off cards and invitations for friends birthdays, weddings etc and have often dreamed of pursuing this stationary love of mine. My recent work situation has changed (I work in interiors) and due to a slow economy locally I now have two extra free days so if not now then when! My fiance (our wedding is in September) has been very vocal about me starting my own little business (thankfully all the feedback I’ve received has been position for my designs) so once our own wedding invitations are all finished (hopefully this afternoon) then I want to try and make something happen!
    How did you get involved in the stationary business and what advice would you give someone wanting to start up? Any advice would be gratefully received!
    Thanks so much x Alice

  8. Hi, Great post and so lovely to learn more about you and see all of your beautiful work layed out together. You seem to have so many different influences and styles but all all your designs are beautiful.

    You mentioned that you attend workshops and courses to broaden your skills, which is something I have been thinking I could really benefit from. I wondered what kind of courses you had found useful and whether you could recommend any you’ve found particularly good.

    All the best,

    Jenni

  9. Good morning @ Faye – first of all congrats, yay for love and marriage!
    OK I absolutely don’t think that Save the Dates are necessary – especially if you plan on sending your invitations out nice and early…
    The only time I recommend them to my couples is if… they are having a weekend celebration they are marrying in a peak holiday period, have a destination wedding or plan to send out their invitations close to the date {for whatever reason} …as a designer I would rather have any extra budget to put towards making the invitations even more WOW.
    I am not a fan of e-invitations – they don’t feel special enough for me {and that’s not just because I am print designer!} but if you did want to go down that route – check out the paperless post {http://www.paperlesspost.com/} another option if you do want to give more notice to guests and budget won’t really allow – would be an “off the peg” digitally printed invitation {lots of companies offer this service} and then have your gorgeous letter press invitations for the actual invitation.
    xo

  10. Hey there @Alice
    Oooh September! not far away, exciting!
    OK if the fiance/ other half/ cat or dog is supportive – that is half the battle.
    When I left my corporate job I told my {then} boyfriend and parents I was on a sabbatical as I couldn’t face the criticism of telling them I had given away everything {obviously I didn’t see it like that} I had worked so hard for – to open a print business – in a recession – in the midst of buying a new house.
    I would say… first of all research your market, critique your product, understand your offering {DIY, Off the peg, bespoke} and customer, create a strong brand, invest in a website and then just work it!
    There are lots of other people out there doing the same thing, a slow economy naturally produces lots of freelances – but don’t let that put you off! xo

  11. @Jessica Good morning lovely lady! and thank you for your super sweet comment.
    We had a good time designing your beautiful stationery hey and then your beautiful wedding graced these very pages and now I get to follow your gorgeous little family on instagram. Have a lovely weekend my darling xo

  12. Thank you so much for your advice – you are an inspiration and a very talented lady! Thank you for the motivation x x

  13. Hey there @Jenni
    My designs are very influenced by my couples briefs so all are very different – but they always have a theme of strong typography and illustrated pretty…
    With workshops – it has to be something that your interested in or absolutely in love with… with me its totally varied and not at all – all work related – So I have been on screen printing workshops, creative writing events, blogging workshops, surface pattern design workshops, managing retail masterclasses, mentoring events, cake pops courses, cupcake courses, upholstery courses, one to one candle making courses, craft and restoration courses, learning about floristry, photography skills… and more! I like me a good course! I also love a good talk so always on the look out for inspirational people waxing lyrical.
    It totally depends on the part of the country that you are in for recommends – as a lot I went on locally to me… but in the smoke I would recommend Print Club London to get a taste for screenprinting, Turnbull and Grey for letterpress workshops and Homemade London for lots of craft goodness.
    Also check out the Papered Parlour, Craft Central, Drink, Shop and Do and CockPit Arts for events xo

  14. Hi Abbey,

    I really enjoyed your post! We are just finalising the design of our invitations, which have been designed by a friend. Initially I wanted to go down the brown Kraft paper and typewriter font look but my friend says that because of what Kraft paper is you can’t really get a nice heavy, thick paper which you would typically use for invitations. I don’t want the invites to look too cheap on flimsy paper…any suggestions?

    Thanks!

  15. Hello Abigail!

    Congratulations on your designs, they are trully wonderful!
    I’m glad Rockmywedding invited you to answer our stationary conundrums as the word conundrum doesn’t even begin to cover what my fiancé and I are facing: we have to deal with four languages for our invitations (that’s right, four!). We decided to go with a front and back design, with an illustration in the front and the text on the back. I have hand-drawn the illustration myself on colored paper (the color I would like for the actual invites) and we are now wondering what is the best way to mass produce it. However, we would only need around 40 invitations in each language. Is there an easy way to do this, and that would not cost the earth?
    Thank you in advance for your reply, your input would be invaluable!

    Have a good day!

    Antonia

  16. Morning Abbey 🙂
    What a fabulous introduction to both you and your beautiful work!
    I am getting married in Italy in June 2014 and we hope to send out our ‘Save the dates come invites’ late this summer to give people the opportunity to book the flights nice and early and at their cheapest! We are hoping to create our own invites and as the boy is a web designer and his Dad is an artist we are aiming for some beautiful hand sketched drawings transferred onto some beautiful rustic card! I wonder do you have any tips with regards to layouts to keep costs down? ( We are hoping to include the invite and some information on getting there and the location itself) and also any easy ways of making our invites look extra special? I am currently considering ordering a custom stamp that we could use on the invites and also on other wedding stationery to help create a bit of a brand!
    Thanks in advance
    Helen xo
    ps. Love love love your kitchen

  17. Hey there @Laura oooh happy days!
    Well I am very happy to say you absolutely can get gorgeously thick Kraft paper in browns or greys from paper merchants GF Smith – http://www.gfsmith.com contact a lady called Janet Stevens and say I sent you – it’s quite pricey but will be the finish that you are looking for xo

  18. Hi Abigail, love your work! And the Mulberry!
    My question is about wording the invitations. Both my parents and my fiance’s parents are contributing significantly towards our wedding, and I’m not sure how best to word it. It doesn’t seem right to say my parents are hosting when his are equally so. And because we are having so much help from them I’d like to mention them on the invitation rather just putting mine and Lee’s names….any words of wisdom?
    Thanks a lot! Xx

  19. Hi Abbey!

    I’m totally in awe of your beautiful work! I’m a complete stationeryphile (if that’s a word??)

    I have been thinking of trying to start out in this industry, I designed my own wedding invites and I’ve got loads of ideas for others, but I struggled to get them printed. Do you have any recommendations for printing them? do you do it yourself or work with a professional company?

    much love xxx

  20. WOW @Antonio bless you!
    Super sweet that you are designing your invitation, it makes the whole process so personal.
    OK if you are having to go with 4 versions of the invitation I would recommend going down the digital printing route… you will still pay a little more than if you were having 1 of a design rather than 4, so expect to pay a little more on the price per unit, but on a digital print you will be able to keep costs manageable and also be able to hard-copy-proof your design, which is always important – but even more so if you have limited print design experience.
    Hope that helps! xo

  21. Hey @HelenMcG WOW! a creative family! well your invitations sound like they may be pretty special already with the family involvement! so lovely and personal.
    OK if you are wanting to include lots of information as well as keep costs down – then I would always recommend a gate folded invitation {side fold and centre join} as you can fill the inside and the back with information- but still have a really pretty design {and/ or element of hand finishing} on the front… for your save the dates you could just send a simple postcard {which is hardly original but works really well for a destination wedding}.
    Custom stamps are very on trend in the paper world so would be a super cute touch xo

  22. Hi Abbey,

    Your work is amazing and your use of colour is gorgeous in every one!
    We are going down the route of a luggage tag style invitation but there will be a lot of info included in 2 languages so each invitation will have 5 or 6 large-ish tags included in the envelope. Do you have any ideas on anything we could use to keep them together that won’t look too bulky in the envelope. I have tried ribbon but it doesn’t look right, the style of the invite is more urban and in a blue/grey colourway.

    Thanks xx

  23. Hey @Chloe thanks for the Mulberry love!
    With wording its always quite tricky – although the good news there is no right or wrong! {or etiquette that you need to follow these days}
    but you do need to consider the wording “fitting” with the day – if its a formal day then you don’t want a quirky worded invitation or if its a quirky day – you don’t want a formally worded invite… so bearing that in mind If you want to acknowledge the contribution with reference both parents then I would recommend…

    “Together with their Parents,
    Chloe and Tim {made up fiance’s names!}
    invite you to join…”
    or
    “Chloe and Tim
    Together with their Parents
    invite you to join…”

    “Mr and Mrs EJ Lord and Mr and Mrs AM Foster
    Invite you to join them at the marriage of
    Chloe and Tim”

    “The Lord’s and the Foster’s
    Would absolutely love you to join them at the marriage of
    Chloe and Tim”

    Hope that helps! xo

  24. Hey @Eleanor

    OOOOh love a fellow stationery lover – I would stick with stationery geek! {sounds a little less sinister!}
    When starting out I would suggest going down the digital printing route… for lots of reasons but mainly because you don’t have to commit to large print runs, can proof your work, turn around times are small and most digital printers use mix of papers so you can have control of what paper stocks you want to use… {although not all printers are that flexible – so make sure you check with them}

    When I first started out i used a HP Photosmart to print myself – but I wouldn’t recommend this – the print finish is incomparable to that of outsourcing and also a really good at home printer is expensive {mine was over £600} and the inks expensive – and you be better off investing that money working with a printer – understanding the process and saving time! xo

  25. @Abbey, thanks not my real name though unfortunately! I will try twine as well but I love the idea of a clothing popper, Thank you!! xx

  26. Hi Loves!

    So interesting to hear all about everyones queries, although @Antonio – oh my goodness! how epic?! four languages….and how amazing that you are going to do that, it will be so lovely to have a copy of each to keep forever.

    @Jessica Lilley – *waves* Hello! I remember you 😉

    @Faye – apologies if you saw my comment editing blunder earlier, that will teach me to have several RMW windows open at the same time and trying to multi-task…I can’t (embarrassing!)

    I’m really glad to see how everyone is enjoying the more “personal” side of this Ask The Experts, I’ve know Abbey for well…a long while now (!) and follow her on instagram, I thought it would be nice to include some of her lifestyle choices so our community could really get to “know” the real her as well as her work.

    Hope that makes sense 🙂

    Charlotte xxx

  27. Thanks Abbey 🙂 I will definitely look into custom stamps!! Now all I have to do is get these creative people in my life to actually start putting pencil to paper and finger to keypad! This is proving to be much easier said than done xo

  28. Sitting drinking my cookie milkshake in a little cafe round the marina in Corfu reading all the lovely comments about my gorgeous friend. She works so incredibly hard and I know of no one that is more deserving of the success she is achieving. When my beautiful mum passed away abs produced the most amazing booklet for her funeral service. The love and care that went into it was outstanding and she knows how forever grateful I am to her. Obviously not something she normally does, but there wasn’t one person who didn’t comment in how perfectly beautiful and “so my mum” it was. She has been my bestist friend since we partied the night away in our teens and I love her muchly. Well done gorgeous xxxxxx

  29. Awww hey @Kirstie beautiful lady! that is so sweet of you to write on here! thank you so much – means the world to me as do you my gorgeous BFF. It was an honour to design your mummy’s book. Love you lots and gutted we’re not having dinner tonight. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  30. Hi Abbey,

    You have such beautiful work – The fancy pants birthday cards in harrods were gifted to my friends a few years back and apparently they are the only cards they ever kept! Ive decided to make my own invites as im a little bit of a photoshop addict but i am really struggling with how to put glitter on the inside of my envelopes – is there a company that does this? do you use just normal glitter or is there something im missing here?

    Thanks so much xx

  31. Hey @Lottie awesome about the fancy pants cards!

    Ooh love me a glitter lining – well you can use glitter paper of fabric from a haberdashery or stationery store which you attach with double sided tape or you glue the inside flap and use loose glitter. Using a printer to help you will be v costly – they use a technique called flittering but normally only on large print runs – on a small order it will just become too costly.

    Hope that helps! xo

  32. Hi Abby, I’ve just read all about you and seen your great work. I was wondering if you would be able to design our wedding invites etc… I’m sure you’re mad busy and I don’t live in derby so not sure how easy it would be..

    Thanks..Yvette..

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