Bring a little bit of wild to your wedding stationery and signage with the hand-designed, heartfelt work by Smitten With Love — tucked away in Central Otago.
Loved ones will be blessed with an envelope full of sunshine as the love inspired illustration and designs give a small taste of what’s to come for the magical day ahead.
Smitten With Love’s collections delicately flaunt an abundance of textures, colours and shapes — creating a subtle uniqueness to each design. Bespoke designs are also crafted for those with a wild and romantic dream for their beloved pieces.
We speak to the creative wild child behind Smitten With Love, Kim McCone and hear more about how the wedding stationery boutique came to be.
Give us a classic, ‘First Day of School’ introduction of yourself
Hi I’m Kimberley (30), but you can call me Kim, I’m the Founder and Creative Director of Smitten With Love boutique stationery and signage, currently based in Winton, Southland. I often find it difficult to give myself just one job title, but I professionally trained as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator and now dabble in all things creative, perhaps creative wild child is most appropriate – many tabs open. So a little about my story, I started my first business Kimberley McCone Creative at the age of 18, this mostly consisted of creating portraiture for parents at the primary school I attended. With the aid of Facebook this slowly grew to providing artwork for clients all over New Zealand and as my degree progressed, graphic design and commercial illustration too. This was a great wee side hustle to keep a poor student in cash as I studied a Bachelor of Design (1st Class Hons) in Wellington and a Diploma for Graduates in Marketing and Advertising in Dunedin. It was around this time that in my little moleskin of ideas, I planned my intent to get into wedding stationery. I wouldn’t action this until three years later. My first Mac design job took me to Auckland, it was here I started with DDB an international advertising agency, working on clients such as McDonalds, BMW, Mini and Stihl. I will forever treasure the team who made up the DDB studio and the skills I learned and practiced. Also during that time a few of my friends were getting engaged, so on the side I offered to help them with their stationery and I LOVED it. It became evident to me that working with small businesses and individuals were what I enjoyed most. The hands on, human connection and start to finish briefs gave me real job satisfaction and creative opportunity. I moved back to the Tokarahi home farm for 3 months, attending a local rural ball for a bit of fun – one that hadn’t existed for 50+ years. And I meet him. When I say meet, I actually mean physically collided as we crossed the dance floor. Stephen and I would go on to move multiple times to chase his passion of dairy farming, one stint relocating us to Missouri in the USA. Constant moving meant I had to be able to work online and being based rurally meant I also had a bit of spare time on my hands – no casual lunches or meet ups available. I contracted myself out for my original business, but it was time to pursue some dreams. I set myself a deadline of 4 weeks and designed what would be my very first wedding stationery collection. At this time I also contacted Wild Hearts about their newly launched wedding fairs. The door opened to a vast, supportive, and inspiring industry that I couldn’t have existed without, that paired with social media, using it as a platform to connect with couples and other like- minded industry professionals (I can only cope with so much grass growth chat and for Stephen wedding stationery vice versa). I had 7 clients in my first year, I now work with 60+ couples a year. And that has to be the best part. THE COUPLES. Creating and crafting beautiful work is my soul passion and I love to see and read the joy and satisfaction of my clients. Being a part of the lead up to their big days is an honour and I can’t believe this dream is my job. Initiating a business has gifted me with so much learning, experience, and human connection – gifts that help me to continue to grow as a person and a business.
If you were not designing your beautiful stationery, what do you think you would be doing?
I think I would have like to have tried out building or photography, vastly different but they pique my curiosity for different reasons. I love getting hands on and I have a little bit of an obsession with light and shadow.
Where do you draw inspiration for your work? Tell us about your design process.
Inspiration for my work comes from a multitude of places, I have a hoard of curated books, magazines, and Pinterest boards. I often find myself drawn to colours and textures created by light and shadow, the folds of fabric and the intricacy of flowers. I’m inspired by the way I see and interpret colour, shape and form through making and experimenting with colour wheel is so satisfying. Being around other creative people is also infectious.
What has been a major career highlight that you have had so far? I recently finished a bespoke suite for Bianca Macliver in Perth, the colours, whimsical design and nod to illustration was a fun creative challenge and she was a dream client to work with. We used letterpress and then handmade paper after Covid, when we to reprint. I’ve also performed live portraiture for the PR opening of the Mecca Maxima store in Christchurch, that truly pushed me out of my creative comfort zone and
I’m about to launch a new Little Ones line of stationery, think cute and fun birthday invitations, birth announcements and fine art prints! My biggest lowlight would be experiencing cases of plagiarism, seeing identical or incredibly similar products or designs pop up after you release them on social media – sometimes a double edged sword – it simply isn’t cool. Being unique and passionate is so important in this tight knit industry and it makes you authentic.
What is something you love to treat yourself to?
My love for fashion is real – beautiful clothes, textured fabrics, prints and colour are my absolute achilles heel. Dressing how you feel is so fun and expressive. Justifying purchases is my super power- let me know if you need an enabler.
What is something you have been reading, listening to, or watching lately?
During work hours I like to listen to start up podcasts so my most recent is the latest episodes of Lady Start Up. Outside of work I like to try and switch off, I’m currently listening to ‘Chasing Charlie’ (True Crime) and have just finished reading ‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper (Now a film).
What is your favourite hidden gem in Central Otago?
Clyde. It truly is my happy place, every year for as long as I can remember my family and extended family come together for weeks at a time. We’ve played, celebrated, loved and connected here for decades, the peaceful little town is like a breath of fresh air. It’s river walks, cycle trails, swimming spots, indulgent eateries and wineries are also definite perks.
We are excited to have Smitten With Love as part of our exclusive Wild Hearts Vendor Collection. Check out more of Smitten With Love’s boutique wedding stationery here and follow Smitten With Love on Instagram here.