Brand Journey: Gatlin Paper Co.

Some of you who have been following my artistic adventure from the very beginning may remember my little online shop called Thistle & Bur. I sold greeting cards with whimsical painted designs and took on custom painting gigs. Those early days were a ton of fun and I was blown away by support from friends and family. However, about a year into business I realized that this “art for art’s sake” approach to business was unfulfilling for me. I loved creating the little scenes and quirky patterns for the cards, but there was no real meat behind what I was doing… no “why” behind my “what.”

Some oldies, but goodies from the Thistle & Bur archives...

When I was given the opportunity to jump back into the world of small business, I knew that something would have to be different this time around. I began to lean into articulating my motivation and defining a vision for where I wanted to see this new business go. I hoped to start afresh with a solid foundation on which I could build a thriving small business-- a business where I could help others, my ideas could flourish, and I could actually be profitable. One tool that I found incredibly helpful during this process was a webinar called “You the Brand,” hosted by Kathryn Duckett of Crème Brands and Katie Selvidge of Cottage Hill.

Why I Founded Gatlin Paper Co.

I love the process of creation-- it is challenging, exciting, frustrating, and wonderful. I believe that there is something about intentional, slow-cooked, quality design that needs to be held tightly. I strive to create beauty and discover simplistic visual harmonies that resonate with my clients. I believe I have been given the opportunity to love people through the work that I do, to show them that I truly care about their story.

Why I Stick with it

I love working with other passionate entrepreneurs in this industry and am inspired to see my peers' continual creativity and hard work. All of the sleepless nights are worth it when a branding clients feels cared for, at ease, inspired, heard, and blown away or when a couple is able to relax, knowing they are in good hands, and are able to check one more thing off their wedding to-do list.

What I Don’t Believe in

Sometimes it is just as important to define what it is that you don’t believe in in order to bring clarity to what passions actually drive you. I don’t believe in cutting corners, overworking myself to the point of horrible anxiety and burnout, accepting projects that are too far outside my aesthetic realm, or allowing fear to exist as a suppressor of creativity.


I dove into Gatlin Paper Co.’s first full wedding season with guns blazing. Within the first month we had four weddings booked and I had to postpone refining my own branding in order to meet the needs of my growing clientele. For most people in the wedding industry, summer is the busy season. But as a wedding stationer, my workload is heaviest in the months leading up to the summer celebrations. Now that weddings are underway I finally have the time to take stock, breath a little easier, eat lunch on a regular basis, and really dig into bringing all of the pieces of my own branding together. I have already established the reasons I do what I do, why I keep doing it, and what I don't believe in-- now it is time to build the aesthetic representation of those ideals.

I want to invite you to join me on my own branding journey. Over the course of this six-part blog series, I will break down the Gatlin Paper Co. process for building a rich and dynamic brand arsenal, step by step.

the branding process

  1. Brand Inspiration Board

  2. Logo

  3. Supporting Brand Elements

  4. Collateral

  5. Website

  6. Launch


I am so excited to have you along for the ride!

Are you interested in building a cohesive brand identity for your business? Do you need help with a facelift for your current brand? We still have 3 branding spots available for 2015 and would love to work alongside you to bring your vision to life. Send me a note here.