May 17, 2016
All Things Bright and Beautiful
All Things Bright and Beautiful is a stationery line created by designers, Joanne and Ah Li. The two met at a craft fair and soon realized their interest in art could become a collaboration. The Hong Kong artist duo bring together a childlike playfulness and whimsy to every card, print, and animation they create.
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind it?
All Things Bright and Beautiful is the name of an old hymn.
The hymn goes like this:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small.
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
We believe that the world is an amazing place. Sometimes we just need to make an effort to look around and discover the beauty.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
Like the name of our brand, our designs are almost always bright and colorful. We try to show people the beauty we see in the world around us.
We experiment a lot with shrink plastic because it is inexpensive but versatile. In the past, we’ve made pins, rings and watches (fake, of course) with it.
We’ve also used them to build mini worlds. We draw on white shrink plastic with markers and they shrink to one quarter the size after baking. Then we use the pieces to make an imaginary world and take photos of them. Sometimes we use the pieces to make stop motion animations. This is our youtube channel!
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
A few years ago, we designed a set of 12 notebooks. We found a factory to get them printed and we paid them right away. It turned out that there were 10% to 20% that were printed so badly we couldn’t sell them at all! After that, we always made sure to find reliable vendors!
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
In the beginning, we could only afford to pay ourselves a pretty low salary. Even so, it’s been a lot of fun and we always get to do different things. We have a lot flexibility and learn a lot more than we did in our nine to five jobs. So, no regrets.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Recently we painted a big mural for a campsite. It was our first time designing and painting an outdoor mural. We worked late into the night to get it done on time (and before the rain came). It was a lot of work but the outcome was worth it.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
We live in Hong Kong. The rent is very high so we work from home and try not to keep too much stock! HK people speak both Chinese and English so we use both languages in our work. We also try to draw things that are funny and positive because city life is stressful.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
Before we met, we both had jobs that we didn’t like and were thinking of quitting. After we met, the idea of starting our own business became more and more plausible because we could brainstorm and make decisions together. We put our different talents together, came up with a brand name,and things grew from there.
What are some inspirations for your work?
Animals, picture books, the sky, friends, daily life.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Ah Li: Don’t forget to think ahead, consider costs, time, practicality, and to make clear goals, so that your business can continue.
Joanne: Be open to try different things and take things step by step. If one thing doesn’t work, you can always try something else.