Every so often, a designer comes along that leaves a long-lasting impression and has the ability to transport us to a world of floral dreams and lovely thoughts. That person is Bonny Kuhl. The founder of Archer and Olive.
For over 15 years Bonnie has been creating and painting beautiful floral designs and leafy elements. It was a natural continuation of her creative passion to start her next chapter, and Archer and Olive came to life. Bonnie has rolled out a stunning collection of dot grid notebooks, planners, stickers and more. She creates all of the artwork and designs from scratch. And don't even get us started on the 160gsm thick dreamy paper that she has chosen for her line of notebooks (goodbye ghosting!). Sigh, swoon ♥.
You can just tell by looking at her planner covers and products that they are special. Each and every item she offers is made with the final user in mind. Her whole collection is visually comforting and her attention to detail is flawless. From the harmonious colors that she chooses to the well thought out planner layouts, she has turned Archer and Olive into one of the most beloved stationery brands in the journal community. She sure has captured our journaling hearts over here at DIY Craft Club!
We were thrilled when Bonnie took time out of her extremely busy schedule to speak with us. So a very special thank you, Bonnie, for letting our readers get to know you better! We truly appreciate it!
What does your morning routine look like?
Mornings are my favorite time! I'm up by 6:30 helping to get my son ready for the day. I always cook the same thing for breakfast (malt-o-meal) and then get started with work. I (try) to answer all my emails, and knock out the creative work like blogs, and layouts in the morning.
Take us through a typical week of Archer and Olive.
Sure! I try to ship all orders every day. Thankfully, I have a high school kid who comes to help 3 days a week. My days are mostly spent planning and writing blog posts, planning and photographing images for Instagram, answering questions, and shipping orders. I do make sure I always spend time thinking, dreaming, brainstorming, and coming up with new ideas!
Tell us about your workspace. Where does all the planner magic happen?
I'm lucky enough to work out of my house. We converted the dining room into an office, so I spend most of the day in here. Currently, it's just me (and one high school kid I hired to help with the shipping). I am about to hire someone to manage the wholesale side of my business and customer service. All of the art is created right here in my house.
Do you remember your very first order?
I started off selling wedding invitations and custom portraits. I remember my first order was a custom portrait. I received 5 that day because of a feature on Instagram.
What are the most important qualities of your planners that make them stand out?
Definitely the extra thick pages! I made my notebooks and planners with the creative in mind. I wanted to design a book people would feel comfortable drawing in, writing in and painting in.
Your signature dot grid notebook covers are beautiful. Tell us more about how they are created.
Thank you! I start by sketching out some ideas in my sketchbook, and then painting them with black gouache paint. Once I have the design nailed down, I photograph it, and use Adobe Illustrator to turn it into a vector, which I send to my printer to have stamped on the books.
We adore your sticker collection. Please tell us about the process on how you make your signature planner stickers.
Sure! I start with a theme in mind. Usually it's floral, and then I decide on a certain color palette. I'll start by sketching out the designs, and then painting them with gouache. Once the paintings are complete, I photograph them (with my iPhone) and edit them in Photoshop to remove the background and make the colors as true to life as possible. Then I send the Photoshop file to my printer.
What are your favorite color choices and combinations?
I love using shades of green, and one pop of peach.
What is your favorite inspirational saying?
Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle. It's SO TRUE.
We have been enjoying your YouTube channel very much! Tell us what are some of your favorite off-screen things to do?
YouTube has been so fun! When I'm not creating, I'm chasing my almost one year old son around. He is very curious and interested in everything. After he's in bed, I enjoy playing tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons and Pandemic.
The planner community is super tight. Describe the feeling when you see people talking about your company on social media.
It's surreal! Reading all the awesome reviews is honestly what keeps me going. I'm SO GLAD I made a product which helps others stay organized AND be creative.
Tell us an inspirational story that comes to mind.
I have been wanting to start a planner/notebook business for over 10 years. It wasn't until 2 years ago that I finally decided to get started. While working a full-time job, (which I still do) I finally transitioned Archer and Olive from wedding stationery into notebooks. It's been such an awesome ride.
If you could give three tips for people just starting out in bullet journaling and planning, what would they be?
What else would you like our readers to know about your company?
The reason I was interested in journals and planners, was because I used bullet journaling (before it was called bullet journaling) as a way to deal with my bipolar disorder and anxiety. Along with Dr. Prescribed treatment, journaling has been incredibly therapeutic.
Thanks again Bonnie! It was a pleasure to speak with you. We will continue to watch your progress and share your new creations with our readers.
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