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Like many brides, Bliss & Bone founder Cindy Skanderup never expected to work in the wedding industry—or become her husband's business partner, for that matter. Before joining forces with her husband, Carl, to start their incredibly luxe line of letterpress stationery, the creative director (née Phillips) earned her degree in fashion design from Washington University with the hopes of starting her own clothing brand. Her dream "faded" when she realized that the "creativity in that field is minimal, unless you have somebody who's going to fund your line," she says.
Instead, she got a job as a graphic designer at an ad agency in New York, "an incredible experience" that gave her the opportunity to truly exercise her creative muscles. Skanderup packed up and moved from the Big Apple to LA a few years later, serving a brief stint as a t-shirt designer before starting her own creative studio, C-Arte (Disney, Nike and Kitson were just a few of her clients). About four years ago, she and her future husband met at a friend's dinner party ("he actually crashed it!" she laughs); they tied the knot three years later and within a year, Bliss & Bone was born.
We got to know the insanely talented (and super sweet!) creative force behind the couture-inspired stationery and design studio over juice at Juice Served Here, where we discovered the story behind Bliss & Bone, what it's like to be married (literally) to your work, and much more.
Image via Bliss and Bone
You already had a career in graphic design before starting Bliss & Bone, but did you ever have an 'a-ha' moment that inspired you and your husband to really go for it?
"It actually happened twice. We were on an airplane and we started brainstorming: 'How can we do this, how can we make something like this happen, how can we fill this hole [in the bridal market]. I was on my own as a designer for a while and just ready for a change. He was miserable at his job, and by the end of the flight we had put down the notepad with tons of ideas on it, and said 'Oh my god, this is too much.' We actually put it away because it was too overwhelming.
Several months passed, we both had a little time to settle back into our routine and into life and realize that we were up for the challenge. It was only if we did it together that it could happen—any other way it wouldn't have been that same effort and energy. It was a big risk, we put everything into it!"
What's it like working with your husband?
"Interesting. We got married and immediately started the business. It went from normal amounts of time together to a whole lot. I have to say I really enjoy it and I wouldn't want to be doing it with anybody else. It's a journey that has certainly brought us closer. Of course, we have our moments, we have our days..."
Cindy and Casey Skanderup. Image via Bliss & Bone
Well, you guys are married!
"Right! If the other one wants to leave the house we're always happy, like 'Go! Go hang out, do your thing!' and get some alone time. [Starting the business] was a big decision, especially for a newly-married couple, like, 'Oh, let's go spend all of our money!'"
What's the most surprising thing people don't know about custom printing?
"The cost per item—there's a setup fee, [especially] with the types of printing that we do with letterpress, foil, you're not just pressing print on your computer; these are 100-year-old machines [that] you have to set up. There's like cranks and wrenches to get it just precise. That fee [on smaller runs] doesn't get distributed as much."
What's the most important thing a couple should know before ordering invites?
"I always try and ask my clients up front what their budget is, that way I can guide them. If I know how much you want to spend, I can tell you were to spend your money to get the best possible result. I don't expect them to know, I don't want to surprise them and I don't want to taunt them with something they can't afford. Money is always the trickiest part."
What's the most money someone has spent on invitations?
"$10,000. They sent out 150 invites, which means they probably anticipated 225 to 250 people. That's also one of my big tips&8212;knowing the difference between how many people you're inviting and how many invites to print. It's a very costly mistake."
Okay, lightning round! What's the best gift you've ever received and why?
"My first dog! I was eight years old and I asked for a puppy. It started me out on understanding what that relationship is with a pet. It just a whole new dimension to our life and our family and the connection it drew individually with the animal but also between our family. A bijon frise, a little fluffy thing."
Awww, what was its name?
"Candy Lou! I have two older brothers; I was eight and they were 16 and 18. [They named her after] the daughter, I think, of someone in the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But I of course was eight and I was like, 'Candy! Awesome!' I didn't care."
Favorite subject in school?
"Aside from art, I really liked math. I was a math and science girl. I hated history!"
Sweet or savory?
"Up until recently I would've said sweet. But more recently I've been on a savory [kick] for the past couple years. I think [maybe] taste buds may have changed."
Most spontaneous thing you've ever done?
"It's probably something very inappropriate! [Laughs] At 2 a.m. one night in Manhattan we went to Atlantic City, it was really random and spontaneous. It's two hours away and it's the Vegas of the East, I guess! And starting Bliss & Bone was very spontaneous, in a very different way. From one moment to the next our lives were turned upside down."
Favorite vacation so far?
"My honeymoon. We went to a two-week safari. It was life-changing."
What was a standout moment?
"The whole experience—I feel like I'm still digesting it. Not only the wilderness, but the people and their culture; it's just a different world. I'd say the best part we went to this one camp—it's an 800-acre conservancy, so there's nobody else. The bush had been really built up because the elephants had been driven out, [and] we were really fortunate that we were the only couple there for three days. The owners of the camp were another couple our age, and it was just such a spectacular few days. I've never seen Carl cry, but when we were leaving, he was definitely holding it back!"
What's your favorite movie?
"I've always loved Garden State. I'm not a big re-watcher of things, but [that movie] is one that I always…even the soundtrack I could listen to over and over and over. It reminds me of a very particular time in my life, too. It's a very nostalgic movie."
If you won a million dollars, what would you spend it on?
"In all honesty, I would go shopping. I'd probably go back to Africa [and] take my whole family. […] I would obviously take a little bit and go shopping, take a little bit and donate it..."
Last book you read?
"This is so embarrassing. I read total chick novels! I read the most recent Emily Giffin book Something Borrowed. I don't watch a lot of TV—this is how I'll rationalize it—I don't watch like trash TV like at all, so this is my fluff."
· Bliss & Bone [Official Site]
· All Weddings Week 2014 Coverage [Racked]
· LA's Bliss & Bone Designs Couture-Like Wedding Invitations [Racked]