1) What inspired you to start Snow in July Designs?
Leigh Ann Cairns is a Boone native and Appalachian State Graphic Design graduate. Although her initial intentions were never to start her own business in Boone per say, her work and life experience eventually let her back to her hometown.
Post-graduation she decided to experience the city life and moved to Washington D.C. where she worked for an award-winning PR and advertising agency. There, a diverse creative team with international clients gave her a solid foundation to grow her design skills. After a few years in D.C. she moved out west to Seattle where she freelanced and learned some new aspects of independent contracting. D.C. taught Leigh Ann how to work in a team environment, where as Seattle was more of working autonomously and really showed her how to successfully run a business. Her next move was to Greensboro, NC where she found herself right back in a marketing setting. For family reasons, she decided to move back to Boone hoping she could find somewhere to take her talents and experience. Seeing that there was a void of graphic design and marketing agencies she decided to embark on a new adventure and start her own business.
Snow in July Designs originally started with marketing, advertising and logo design services. From there, the projects started to have a wider scope and with little experience creating wedding invitations, she started working with Events by Elizabeth Ashley. Within a short period of time things naturally progressed and what was once a dream turned into a boutique design studio in Downtown Boone that offered not only full service branding, but also a growing wedding stationery enterprise.
So where exactly did the name “Snow in July Designs” come from? There is an old wives tale about Grandfather Mountain back in between the 50’s and 60’s about a freak snow storm that came through. While on the swinging bridge, a group of people experienced a snow storm in the middle of July. The sky suddenly turned and it began pouring snow! Leigh Ann loved how this represented the power of nature. “Our clients are unique and the designs we create reflect their uniqueness, that is just one part of our mission statement. We apply this idea to everything that we do, whether it be a new logo or an entire wedding invitation suite.” Using her branding skills she applies this idea when she meets with brides and grooms. She creates an entire brand for weddings catered to their individual styles and specific needs. Leigh Ann says, “The idea of snow in July is meant to exemplify the beauty of the unexpected. We want our clients to discover this unexpected beauty in the work we create. Boone is so beautiful with its diverse climate and environment it’s an inspiration that I take to all my work. Expect the unexpected!”
2) What are all the services you offer?
Her business is multifaceted with branding and advertising for small business as well as wedding and event stationery. Her “Invitation Design Package”, allows clients to work with an experienced graphic design professional to create a unique and memorable brand for their wedding. This custom look is achieved by exploring numerous fonts and typography, custom color palettes and imagery from the bride’s own vision. Snow in July Designs services include: save the dates, wedding invitation suites, escort cards, menus, favors, programs and much more. “Basically, any paper goods needed for the big day!”
3) What are your biggest tips for brides in finding the perfect design for their wedding?
“There’s a lot to think about when creating an image for your wedding, but it is best to start with some thoughts and ideas before you sit down with me. Having a plan and a budget in mind makes the process a lot easier, enjoyable and productive.”
She goes on to say “Pinterest is always a great way to gather your thoughts and get some ideas. Pin a color swatch or palette, a flower, your dress, a sunset, anything you want that speaks to the vision of your big day.” She went on to say this process helps figure out a direction in theme, whether it be modern, traditional or a mix of both.
The more modern type looks tend to use digital printing which can be very budget friendly. The sky’s the limit with what you can do with design and colors. Whereas the more traditional route is geared more towards tried and true printing techniques like gold foil or thermography, which are all done by a printing press and can be a little more costly. The catch with these is the color limitations due to printing plates. Think about where you are at in this realm, there is a unique option for everyone. Snow in July works in a phased approach. Phase 1: Brainstorming ideas, designing and endless creativity. Phase 2: Take these ideas and translate them to paper. “This two-step approach works beautifully.”
4) What is your favorite thing about your job?
“There is never a dull moment and I get to be creative all the time. Meeting new people that inspire me to push myself to the next level with a new idea or something completely out of the box. I always get to be creative and inventive. I started working with brides and grooms in 2014 and it is amazing to see how everything is evolving so quickly.”
5) What drives you?
“The creativity. There is a lot of pride to be taken when you have your own business.” Everything she does falls on her shoulders whether it’s deadlines, tracking down invoices, finding new clients, or editing an invitation at the last minute. She built this company from the ground up and each year business almost doubles. “Being an independent female business owner is awesome and I am super proud of creating something special that has grown into what it is today.” Leigh Ann does little advertising, clients usually come to her through word of mouth. She is staying true to her values as a business owner to create good strong work that she is proud of and her clients are happy with.
Leigh Ann now operates out of Asheville now, however she is still seamlessly working between there and Boone for all her clients. If you are in need of any of her services for your wedding, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and also check out her website at http://snowinjulydesigns.com.