Member Focus – Ananya Cards
Today we are delighted to introduce new wedding supplier member Vaishali Shah who runs Ananya Cards. Over to you Vaishali…
How did it all start?
With my British Asian background, being educated in the UK, Jersey and France, and having been fortunate to travel the world from a young age, I had been fascinated with the unique qualities, themes and symbolism of different cultures and wanted to bring together aspects of those cultures in a way that was fresh, fashionable, contemporary and exotic.
I spotted a gap in the high-end stationery market for Asian and multicultural weddings. There wasn’t anyone in the UK offering exclusive, bespoke, contemporary stationery influenced by the East. So Ananya, meaning ‘without equal’ or ‘unparalleled’ was born in 2006, and this year we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary of luxury stationery that is distinct, unique and a fusion of Asian and British styles (where appropriate) that appeal to the modern British taste.
Through our 10 years in business, we have been constantly innovating and evolving our designs and techniques, making them relevant to the changing trends and audience, e.g. for our Jersey clients, we have a special collection based on vintage and floral designs.
Do you have a favourite venue?
I do not have a favourite venue as such. What is more important to me is that a venue should reflect and complement the stationery and theme of the wedding itself. One of the venues I love is Longueville Manor in Jersey, Channel Islands. Although it is a very impressive and imposing building set within an 18 acre estate with a lake and beautiful gardens, it retains a very homely atmosphere. Traditional in style, it can also cater for ‘state of the art’ weddings and events. Impeccable service, kitchen garden for ‘garden to table’ dining, and quirky elements like Hunter wellies for guests at the ready in case of inclement weather are just some of the features that make it a much sought after venue. Ananya hosted our stationery showcase in their lovely Bateman suite last summer.
How would clients describe you?
I think clients would describe me as someone who:
- Has a lot of enthusiasm, passion and knowledge, and someone they feel comfortable with
- Is very patient, and really tries to understand them and what they want
- Is detail oriented
- Adds value by offering tips and suggestions on how the stationery theme can be used elsewhere, for example in the theming and décor, and always happy to pass on names of other wedding suppliers to bridal couples
- Is resourceful in finding creative solutions
Wedding planners or suppliers you particularly admire?
The wedding industry is full of very talented planners and suppliers. The ones I particularly admire are those who think outside the box, who are innovative and creative. They have attention to detail and are reliable in terms of meeting deadlines, etc.
How do you unwind?
It all depends on how much time I have to unwind. I love going to the spa as often as time allows. Meeting friends and socialising are also very important. Listening to music is a great way to unwind, and I can do it in short bursts either to relax, or as a pick me up when my batteries need re-charging.
What trends are you seeing for 2016/17?
In 2016/17, I see the continuation of the floral/nature/rustic themes which have been in vogue for a few years and are still gathering steam. Metallics will continue to sizzle, as will the global traveller theme and destination weddings. However, above all, the focus of the wedding stationery should be to portray the personality and individuality of the couple rather than following a particular trend if it does not reflect their style.
What is your signature dish?
Coconut and sweetcorn curry. It is my mother’s own recipe, and is a combination of sweet corn, coconut milk and crushed peanuts. It’s not difficult to make, is absolutely yummy, and you won’t find it in Indian restaurants.
Whose celebrity wedding (dead or alive) would you love to work on?
I would love to work on a Bollywood celebrity wedding. The stationery would be very well suited to the Ananya brand which is exotic and influenced by the East, with the added opulence and glamour that stationery encrusted with crystals and pearls would give a Bollywood wedding. With a big budget and lots of pre-wedding events, we would have a field day designing and coordinating the themes and adding an extra special element to each insert…and all presented in a magnificent presentation box.
What is your vice?
Jewellery, watching TV, especially box sets featuring courtroom dramas such as Suits and The Good Wife.
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