Vendor Spotlight | Cat Schultz | Beautifully Noted
One of the best things about the event planning industry is the amazing vendors we get to work with! These people are some of the most creative and kind people you will meet. Each month in our Vendor Spotlight we will introduce you to some of these creative entrepreneurs. In this series, we will get to know a little about the businesses these entrepreneurs have created and what drives them to be successful.
Today we introduce you to the lovely lady behind Beautifully Noted - Cat Schultz. With a background in graphic design, Cat has been creating original paper goods for all types of events since 2015. She specializes in customization and ensuring that your paper goods (from save the dates to invitations) perfectly capture the spirit of your event. She is a talented designer and even sweeter person. We hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about Cat and Beautifully Noted!
Tell me a little about beautifully noted. When or how did it start?
Back in college, I studied graphic design. I did a few wedding invitations for friends here and there, maybe 2-3 in all, and really enjoyed it. During my senior year, I was given a project in a web design class—I needed to create a landing page for a fake business. I created a web page for a stationery company that I named Beautifully Noted. The business didn’t actually exist yet, but the idea was there.
After I graduated, I started looking for a graphic design job. I interned at a couple of larger firms that were focused on advertising and branding, but nothing felt like quite the right fit for my strengths. Fortunately, they were both short-term contracts and I got some great experience under my belt. The following January, I landed a position at a boutique stationery shop in Cincinnati. The shop had been in business for over 20 years and the owner shared incredibly valuable expertise with me: from conducting consultations, to understanding trends, to memorizing etiquette, I learned so much from her! She and the team really introduced me to the ins and outs of the business. Within a couple of months, the other designers at the shop started scaling back to spend more time with their growing families, so I pretty quickly stepped into doing the majority of the consultations and design. I welcomed the responsibility and fell in love with the process of getting to know clients’ stories and earning their trust. Within a year, the owner decided to retire so she could have the freedom to visit her grandchildren, which I whole-heartedly supported. On the other hand, I felt like my dream job was disappearing before my eyes, right when I began to feel most confident in what I brought to the table. When I learned we would be referring clients to other shops in the area, I thought to myself, wait, why wouldn’t I do this? I remembered that website I made in college—I already had a name!
I was really fortunate to have those great relationships and experience as my foundation.
What motivated you to start your business?
Besides realizing I was out of the job, definitely the personal aspect of my work! As a designer, I love getting to be creative and give life to ideas that only exist in my head. With weddings specifically, I can use that creativity in the context of a couple’s unique story. When I worked with larger corporations, I didn’t experience that same connection. With this work, I get to know the couple and their story. It becomes personal! I also love that my work lives on. It will spark conversations and tell stories for generations. My grandma has her wedding invitation framed on her bedside table. I just think it’s so cool that something I create will continue to be treasured for so many years to come.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’d say just starting the business to begin with! Launching a business can be scary. You aren’t quite sure if it will take off. It can be really lonely. You wonder more than once if you are qualified to do what you are doing. I’m generally one who lets my fears hold me back, but I’m so glad my friends and family encouraged me to dive in. If I had never taken the leap and started my business, I wouldn’t have encountered the many blessings that come with it. Entrepreneurship constantly forces me to push the boundaries of what I think I’m capable of accomplishing. If you ask me, doing something beyond your comfort zone is always something to be proud of!
Where would you like your business to be in 5 years?
I hope to experience continued growth! I have always been the heart and hands behind everything Beautifully Noted produces. I want clients to know they are working directly with me to create their perfect invitation. I’m the one conducting consultations and designing and gluing every invite, which I love! But as life changes over the course of five years, I may have to consider restructuring. I really struggle with the idea of not being 100% involved in every project, so that is something I’ll definitely have to think about and plan for in the coming years. It’s important to me that as my business grows, I maintain the personal aspect of it. Eventually, I might explore a semi-custom line for couples who want some level of customization but may be limited by budget. I’ll figure out what avenues to explore when the right time comes!
A major goal that’s driven Beautifully Noted from the beginning is to run a business that allows me a certain amount of flexibility so my priority can be family, and someday, that will include little ones!
What is the most important thing you have learned as an entrepreneur?
Seek out opinions and feedback from other professionals that you trust. They have most likely been where you are! Or find a friend that understands running a small business. Finding people you trust that you can vent to and get feedback from is so essential. When you are an entrepreneur, you are the one responsible for your business. That can feel really lonely. So having a community of people around you who “get it” is so valuable.
What do you do on your days off?
Just this summer, I transitioned from juggling a second full time job to now dedicating my work hours fully to Beautifully Noted (yay!), so having days off in general is really new to me! My husband and I recently relocated to Colorado, and being closer to family was a big factor in our decision. I love that we can spend more time with them. We really enjoy hiking and getting out in nature.
What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?
It’s weird to think of an accomplishment outside of Beautifully Noted because it’s kind of an extension of me. My business accomplishments are very personal! But I think maintaining family relationships and making those relationships priority is a big personal accomplishment. That can be extremely challenging when you own your own business. One of the reasons we moved to Colorado is we wanted to share as many experiences with family as possible. My sister, who is my best friend, is getting married in a few months, and I didn’t want to miss a second of this season in her life. I’m proud that I have made big leaps and stepped out in faith in order to keep family as my top priority.
Cat is the owner of Beautifully Noted, a full-service stationer out of Colorado. She creates custom designs for weddings and all of life's milestones. You can find more about her at http://www.beautifully-noted.com/. Follow her on Instagram @beautifully_noted.