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Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride on May 13, 2010wwtk-caroline-palomas-nest

I have always admired the success of today’s guest. She’s invented a unique product which has been featured all over the world. Each piece is handmade and each piece has something really special about it. Today we’re joined by Caroline Colom Vasquez, the lady behind Paloma’s Nest.

Tell us about yourself. Were you always a creative person, even when growing up?

Most definitely, I have always been a creative type. Sometimes that meant taking art classes, other times it meant painting murals on my bedroom walls! I have always been an “artist,” for as long as I can remember.

I grew up in Mystic, Connecticut, a tiny New England town situated on the Atlantic Ocean, bursting with architecture, history, and old things. I moved to Austin, Texas -a vibrant city full of music and art- to go to University. It is here that a met my husband and we have since settled here permanently.

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The quality of your ceramic ware is beautiful. Where did you learn your craft?

Thank you! I did study Ceramics while pursuing my degree in art and design at university. But the development and refinement of my personal techniques and “trade secrets” are all self-taught. Practice, practice!

Where did the initial idea come from?

The brand Paloma’s Nest came from my desire to share my work with a broader audience. Being based online, I was able to reach that audience and “curate” my own shop. Through the internet, I suddenly had all of the tools of branding and marketing at my fingertips, making it easier to tell the story I tell with my designs. Paloma’s Nest (“Paloma” meaning “Dove” in Spanish) embodies a range of emotions and connotations relating to peace, joy, gratitude and more. Creating work that inspires my audience to commemorate an occasion -and the emotion connected to that occasion- is what I enjoy the most.

What made you decide to pursue this creative idea, rather than pursue a more ‘conventional’ career?

I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit in me. I don’t think it is something you necessarily choose to do with your life. More, it chooses you- and you are never satisfied until you commit to making it your art your life!

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You have an eye for the simple and stunning. What inspires you?

My love of history fuels my commitment to crafting items of heirloom quality. Seeing pieces passed down from generation to generation- through families or towns or communities of all kinds- inspires me to create simple and timeless designs that will remain strikingly beautiful for many years to come. I don’t do “trendy”- unless trendy is something that will still look good in 100 years.

Can people commission particular pieces from you?

All of my designs are available in custom texts and even custom motifs. Custom/ bespoke work is a big part of what I do at Paloma’s Nest.

I provide extensive design services for events, such as favors & bonbonniere, place cards & escort cards, signage, and more. I also work on a commission basis with restaurants, boutiques, and individuals looking for specific decor or home goods.

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What do you love about creating these pieces for brides?

I love being part of such a beautiful celebration. I craft my pieces with the utmost pride and care, knowing that it will be looked upon as a special keepsake for years into the future. Knowing the emotions and memories that can be held in one small piece of art is a huge deal for me.

What is your number one tip for brides?

Follow your bliss! The day only happens once and should be a true reflection of you as a couple. Plan your budget based on the things that are the most important to you and will be the most memorable once the day has passed.

Thank you for joining us today Caroline! You can check out more of the gorgeous Paloma’s Nest creations by visit the Paloma’s Nest website.

Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride on April 13, 2010

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We are lucky in Australia to have some amazing bridal designers producing exquisite work. Today, I’m honoured to be joined by one of them- Johanna Johnson. Her red carpet worthy gowns are the epitome of 1920’s glamour and have a beauty that takes my breath away.

Johanna not only creates beautiful bridal creations, but has recently launched an online store for her accessories line. I wanted to find out more about the woman behind the Johanna Johnson label, so Johanna joins us today to talk about what really makes her tick.

Tell me a little about yourself, your background?

I am the creator, designer and director of bridal couture line, Johanna Johnson. As the creator of inspirational and elegant bridal gowns, my gowns are known for their sophisticated old Hollywood style, red carpet glamour and timeless appeal. I spent my early years in New Zealand and moved to Australia for my teen years and education. I studied Graphic Design in Melbourne and before launching this label, I had my own highly successful international graphic design agency. I am now happily married to Andrew and have two gorgeous boys, Charlie and Tom.

How did you get into the wedding industry?

I was inspired to create my couture collection when looking for my own wedding gown. Like every bride, I was searching for the ‘perfect’ gown, and after no success in finding the style I wanted, I took pen to paper and created the perfect dress. It was here that I identified a niche in the marketplace, not only for a couture collection that epitomized simplicity, grace and style – but also for welcoming, personalised service and client care throughout the experience.

In two short years during the birth of my first child Charlie, I juggled the joys of first-time motherhood with career and took the concept of Johanna Johnson couture to reality. I wanted to create beautiful gowns for brides that I would want to wear and feel magic in. Each gown I create is from a unique styling perspective, and everything is considered from fit to quality to comfort. Purchasing a gown is a very intimate, exciting experience and should be a memorable occasion. I wanted to provide impeccable service and attention to detail, for the bride and her family, to add to the Johanna Johnson experience.

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You have one store in Paddington, Sydney and pride yourself on personalized service. What can brides expect when they visit your store?

At Johanna Johnson, the emphasis is always on creating a warm, welcoming environment. It’s actually one of the values at the very core of the company- I understand that buying a dress should be an exciting and memorable experience (and as stress-free as possible). We pride ourselves on creating an atmosphere that the bride and her whole family can feel comfortable and excited in. Our stylists have a wealth of experience and always ensure that the bride has a uniquely styled look for her day and is utterly confident in the craftsmanship of our seamstresses and production process.

Your dresses and accessories are just beautiful. What are the key features that set your collections apart?

The main features that we like to focus on is bringing a high level of craftsmanship and Red- Carpet worthy gowns to Australian brides. We like to focus on sleek, Old Hollywood designs that enhance a bride but let her personality shine through. We merge vintage styles and finishes with on trend designs to cater to our modern, fashion-forward clientele. We are different because we approach design from a different perspective; at Johanna Johnson we focus on researching into the Golden Era of Hollywood and translate that into beautiful, wearable gowns for the here and now.

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Do you design a new collection/s every year?

We do. In the future, we are looking at doing a new collection bi-annually.

How do you find the inspiration to design a collection?

It happens completely at random; a word or phrase, a picture, something I come across on the street- I never know where my next burst of inspiration is coming from.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything; in the beginning, it was the old lace houses in Paris and hours walking around flea markets in Paris that really inspired me. For this collection, it was all about a kind of dark beauty; black violets and dark corners in chandelier filled rooms, that really heady sense of old school decadence and glamour. I had a few images of muses, 1930’s socialites and how they flaunted their couture gowns with a shameless knowledge of their own perfection. I wanted this sense of abandon and sensuality to be embodied in Zepphora.

How would you describe your style?

My signature style is all about elegance, grace and simplicity; the Old Hollywood style of these eras epitomize this aesthetic and really appeal to me. There is passion about purity of line and heavy, simple silk, old-world craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail and cut. I have long had a passion for all things Art Deco (it’s a long, long term personal preference!) and this is reflected in my collection.

You now sell your accessories online. How does a bride decide which of your accessories might suit her dress (if not bought from you), or which veil or headpiece might suit her features? Any tips?

We find that brides normally have a very clear idea of what they are looking for, and tend to know what they want when they see it. We focus on accessories that can be styled with any gown and, although we’re biased, we think that all of our accessories can work for every person! A single headpiece can be styled in so many ways; so even if you get your piece home and find that you don’t like it where you think you would have, we find that our clients find a way to wear it where suits them best and rarely exchange it for another. When it comes to tips, experiment with shapes until you know what best works with your face. If you have a very petite face you may want to steer clear of the larger pieces, but as always, if it’s your style and you work it will look spectacular.

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Do you see a particular incoming trend in weddings for the next 12 months?

At the moment we’re thinking a lot about soft golds and interesting, enchanting use of beadwork, encrusted lace and draping.

Where do you see Johanna Johnson in 5 years time?

We see Johanna Johnson being stocked internationally, and being worn by all of our most beloved celebrities as well as every blushing bride. We see ourselves still consistently bringing the best in Old Hollywood glamour, craftsmanship and customer service to every one of our clients well into the future!

What is your number one tip for brides?

Never, ever dress to please anyone else. Always stay true to what makes you feel magical: it’s your day! Also, be open minded; what you dreamt up as a five year old may not be what actually appeals to you in the here and now. Let yourself explore new designs and features that you may not have previously thought would work on you. At Johanna Johnson, our stylists often suggests gowns that the clients may not have chosen with fabulous results, so it’s important to listen to the people helping you. You don’t shop for a wedding dress every day and our stylists know our collections like no-one else!

What are your favourite wedding ideas?

I love to see brides really embracing whatever style or theme they are going for and carrying it through from the ceremony to the reception. Whatever it is, it’s wonderful to see a bride let her imagination and personality run free on her wedding day. We create gowns that can compliment and enhance any kind of wedding; we like to think one of our gowns could take a wedding to the next level of wow. Recently I was at a wedding that had each of the tables named after a place that was important and significant to the bride and groom. On every table was a little booklet with information about the people they were sitting with. It really brought the reception together, added a sentimental touch and got people talking.

What do you love about Australian Brides?

Australian Brides are not afraid of anything. I find with Australian brides that they are always pushing the boundaries of styling and creating something that is personal and exciting to themselves. I find that the Australian Bridal culture puts a lot into the day as a whole, and I love that effort.Johanna-Johnson-Couture01

What are 5 clever ideas to create a stylish wedding?

1. Start with no more than three colours and go from there. (Johanna Johnson’s brand colours are black, white and peacock blue).

2. Choose a venue that reflects both you and your partner.

3. Do be sentimental, it’s nice to be able to have a story about different elements of your wedding, and also to be able to have little things to keep to show your children and grandchildren. Traditions and heirlooms have to start somewhere!

4. Explore the possibilities with flowers. I have seen incredible floral artistry and it doesn’t necessarily cost a fortune for a big impact.

5. As clichéd as it sounds, remember to enjoy the day. Plan ahead and delegate so that your bridal party and family have a role in ensuring that the day runs smoothly, so you’re not mentally ticking off moments rather than experiencing them. A stylish wedding is one full of love, joy, and personality.


Thank you for joining us today on Polka Dot Bride Johanna! You can view more of Johanna Johnson’s exquisite designs on her website or view her brand new online accessories store here.

Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride on March 18, 2010

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Unless you’ve been living under a blog rock, chances are you’ve heard of our guest today. It was very early in 2009 that I received an email from a new Brisbane photographer. He’d only ever shot two weddings (the first of which I featured in a Snaphot Sunday in March). Geoff & Cait being his second.

Since those first two weddings, photographer Jonas Peterson has been swept up in a whirlwind – one that has led him to be shooting over forty weddings all over the world this year. His immense talent, combined with the rawness of entering into this world of photography has led him to be a well known name internationally. I have been completely amazed by his journey and his growth that I have been lucky enough to witness, as not only a photographer but as a person learning and finding their way in a brand new way of being.

What was the catalyst for starting Jonas Peterson Photography?

Life. My partner Jacqui and I had both worked in different roles in advertising for a long time and felt the need to do something real. I was quite honestly fed up with coming up with creative ideas for clients who didn’t care about anything but making money. Jacqui saw my frustration and pushed me to focus on the thing that made me happy creatively – photography. Shooting weddings was never the plan, as with many things it just happened. I was asked to shoot a wedding for friends and I told them I would make a lousy wedding photographer. They told me to shut up and capture it my way, so I agreed. When I later posted the wedding on my newly set up website, things exploded in my face. I was absolutely blown away. All I did was capture a wedding my way and people went berserk. I think I got around 70 comments on that wedding alone. At this time I was still working as a creative in advertising, but soon after we had to make a decision since were getting more and more inquiries every day. We decided to focus fully on my photography and haven’t looked back since.

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What is your business philosophy?

I want to do something that makes me happy. I also want to do something that makes other people happy. Both are equally important.

Your website is beautiful in its simplicity. And you also have an easy style of writing about yourself that captures the reader. How would you describe your photography style?

You have to remember you’re talking to a seasoned ad man here. I’ve come up with more cheesy descriptions and fake labels than most people out there. I wanted my photography to be the absolute opposite of that. I wanted it to be pure. So I hope that’s what it is.

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Does your photography style reflect the way you see life?

It’s taken me a while to realize, but I shoot the way I do because that’s how I see things. I can’t do it any differently. The things I see are the things I capture. So yes, most definitely.

What do you love about Australian brides?

Their simple and relaxed approach to life. It affects everything around a wedding and suits me perfectly.

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What do you look to for inspiration?

I try not to look at wedding photography too much, but apart from that – anything around me. Literally. Music, TV, books, design, food. Anything.

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Do you have a ‘feeling’ about each bride you photograph and then plan the photo shoot accordingly?

I scout locations and visit the church and venue, but apart from that I don’t plan a thing. My approach is to not have an approach. Every bride is completely different and most of the time I’ve only met a bride once before I shoot their wedding day. There’s no way I know who they are after one meeting. Because of that I walk in with a sense of naivety. I slowly get to know them and let that guide me through the day. When it’s time to shoot portraits I know more about who they really are and that dictates how I capture them. I always adapt to them and never ever add bits of “me” to their photos. I want the photos to reflect who they are and not be a bunch of shots I want to take because they’d look cool in my portfolio.

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A lot of your shots seem casual and relaxed. How do you encourage a bride and groom to feel relaxed about having their photo taken?

Since I’m around all day people generally trust me. It’s that simple. I’m a fairly laid back guy myself and I try and not make a big deal of anything. The more relaxed I am, the more they relax and that hopefully shows in the pictures we capture together.

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What sets you apart from others?

I leave that call to others. The simple answer is me. If I stay true to who I am and don’t try and be someone I’m not, I will immediately be different from others.

How do you keep on learning?

By staying curious and open to everything around me.

How do you keep your product fresh and different?

By staying curious and open to everything around me.

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What is your number one tip for brides?

It’s your wedding day, so make it YOUR wedding. No idea is too kooky, nothing too personal. Don’t do things a certain way because you’ve been told that’s how you do them. Listen to your heart and let that dictate everything your wedding is about.

What are your favourite wedding photography ideas?

The ones I haven’t seen yet.

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Do you travel anywhere to do a shoot? Tell us about some of the more memorable places you have been to do a wedding shoot.

This year I’m shooting weddings all over Australia, but also in Asia, Europe and North America. I simply love to travel. And the thing is I actually love the actual traveling too. Once you arrive somewhere you’re static. Since I’m Swedish, I have to mention the wedding I shot in Sweden last year. It was my first time back in Sweden for a couple of years and my first Swedish wedding. It was a long Swedish summer night by a beautiful lake. To me it felt like being in a Swedish fairytale. You can find the wedding here.

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What is in the future for Jonas Peterson Photography?

To quote my 3-year old son, Noah, “Lotsa, lotsa, lotsa fun!”.jonas-peterson020

Thank you for joining us today Jonas and thank you for allowing us to be part of journey! You can find more of Jonas Peterson’s work, thoughts and travels on his website and blog.