My friend Hayley Hardcastle is just one of those girls. You know them…they can wear just about anything, a pair of ballet flats, strappy sandals, and high heels. She can rock a t-shirt and no make-up, and still pull off a great ball gown. She can wear a tailored blazer and still fit in her skinny jeans (yes, pre-pregnancy and all!) She can even wear hair rollers to the grocery store (On Thanksgiving DAY! – O. ahem. G!) and snap a photo at said grocery store to prove it! (I’ve seen the photo folks, its fur real!) Those girls you love to hate, except that they are so normal once you get to know them that you can’t hate them. She has bad moods, can be a spit fire if you piss her off (can you HH? I can’t say that I recall it too much!), and swears she shakes in her boots if asked to seriously speak in front of a crowd.
HH has the most adorable business, HH Design House in Galveston (http://www.hhdesignhouse.com/). It’s just cute, no other way around it. I secretly crave time in there, I think I truly want to be HH, sporting her blonde shoulder length pageboy, and walking thru said doors and being ever so creative, and making it all look seamless.
Owner and artist, Hayley Hardcastle, began her dream job nine years ago when she designed and calligraphied invitations for her sister and best friend’s weddings. “I began by creating beautiful invitations with distinctive calligraphy as sentimental gesture, and was blown away by the positive reception and the demands for more of my calligraphy, more design work, and ultimately more products. From the first invitation I designed, I could never have dreamed I would be so blessed to create thousands of invitations and see my handiwork on everything from water bottles to iPhone cases!”
From the humble roots of the dining room table and a pen and ink, the business has grown to service niche design outlets like extravagant Wedding Ensembles, intimate Birthday Gatherings, festive Mardi Gras and Gala Invitations, exquisite Holiday Greetings, fine Correspondence Stationery, a Wholesale Line of casual invitations picked up by over 100 retail stores nationwide, and an online store selling proprietary designs on over 50 gift and accessory items!
On July 13, 2013, HH Design House celebrated its soft opening at their new location at 404 25th Street in Downtown Galveston. Specializing in Custom Invitations and Design, HH Design House has been serving the Galveston area for six years and operating out of their current downtown location for three and a half years.
“When we opened the Galveston storefront in 2009, we wanted to establish ourselves as a Galveston business, even though we already had clients all over the United States, “says Hayley. The storefront allowed us to get to know all of the locals and helped establish HH Design House as the premier source for invitations and paper in the area. Experiencing steady growth even in the uncertain economy, it became evident that the space needed to be increased in order to continue to meet clients’ demands. The perfect space was found at the corner of 25th and Market and increased the former space by over three times, which will be zoned into three sections; a store offering a larger selection of gift items and papers available for immediate purchase, a lounge-like invitation gallery and consultation studio, and private offices where the production and business management will happen.
So…I decided to get personal with HH. Here are her responses. Enjoy the read!
What season, talking business-wise here, does HH love and why? What season does HH dread and why?
“It’s the most Wonderful time of the year!”…. Yes and no! Holiday cards have long been my favorite thing to give and receive! I hand-made my own as a child to pass out and even talked roommates in my single years to send them from our “house!” Creating them for countless families over the years has been such a blessing. There are some families I feel like I have truly gotten to watch grow up, add members, and even sometimes say goodbye. I think it is such an amazing and sacred tradition to mark the close of a year and the hope of a coming one by sending a family update as a token of your love, friendship and gratitude. My husband teased me about ‘our’ list and how he doesn’t know half of the people on it, but there is a huge network of love and support that has grown around us over the years and sending a Christmas card is great way to stay connected. But, I do dread the very, very long hours we work to make sure all the families that want to get to send an HH card to their support network as well! I start blaring the Christmas Pandora Radio Stations early in the fall just to get the spirit going when it’s still 100 degrees outside!!!
Speaking of Christmas, when Christmas season come around, how much of “knowing” a person goes into designing a card for someone?
When I first started, I did know most of my clients. Now our business has expanded so much that I don’t know a large percentage of our clients… at least in person. The more work we do for people the more we can gauge what they are looking but initially, I like to ask a lot of questions about style, or look at examples they lean towards, etc.! There are a few funny stories about me running into clients that I have done lots of work for (and recognize them from their Christmas Card Pictures) and being super friendly and going in for the hug and them having NO CLUE who I am until I introduce myself! One time, after the awkward introduction a client even told me I couldn’t be Hayley… They had pictured an “older Selma Blair” and I was way more “Elle Woods!”
Does music help get creativity flowing? What does HH currently have on her IPod to get her mood in check?
Of course!!!! I never have quite mastered making my own playlists, so I rely heavily on Pandora to do the “mixing” for me! As I mentioned, I try to pump myself up a lot with Holiday Stations, and then the rest of the year, we alternate between some pretty great stations we’ve created and tweaked. Highlights include: Otis Redding Radio, Wilson Phillips Radio, No Diggity Radio, and then Praise and Worship Radio to get me through the All Nighters! Some recent ones we are digging are “Alabama Shakes Radio” and the “Gatsby” Soundtrack!
I know you have a flair for the calligraphy, what else does HH have a flare for?
Custom Calligraphy is how I got started nine years ago, but it remains one of the design elements we offer that truly sets up apart! It is one-of-a kind. Some other specialties are Renderings of homes and buildings, which I usually do in a pen and ink and watercolor, and also a love of fashion and costume design, which I studied in University.
You must be a techie, right? What apps does HH love and why?
Oh I am soooo not!!!! Such a dirty secret. My degree is in straight painting and drawing and I have had to teach myself the ropes of computer design. Over the years I have learned short-cuts, but I kind of just know how I want things to look and keep playing until they get there! But I do love all my Apple products and finally got my ICloud to sync them all! My favorite app is probably Dropbox, so I can get any of my files at any time from any device! It has literally revolutionized where and how I can work! But, I’ll admit the most used App on my IPad is the “Pizza Chef” one. My 18 month daughter thinks all of our devices are for making pizzas and carries them to us saying “A Pizza?” She must think it’s really fun to be an adult on your iPhone all day making pizzas. Ha!
For this fall/winter season, what is HH’s must have?
Coffee! Yes…but for real I am seeing glitter everywhere! It’s your time to Sparkle! I am eyeing a couple pairs of sparkly bags and shoes right now that will help me shine all the way through the Holidays!
On the subject of style, how does it influence your designs? Does fashion sense play a role in your designs for “other” products?
I think whether we realize it all the time or not, we are all influenced by the trends around us. Fashion, climate, social issues — they all play into how we interpret the world and therefore express our personal style. The fun thing about Holiday Cards (as opposed to Birth Announcements or Wedding Invitations) is that you really can pick something different every year and express yourself! As I look back on the cards I’ve sent over the past seven years of marriage, they all really do say something about the year and what was going on in life.