Hi! I'm Ali Mac, a freelance illustrator based in Connecticut. I founded my eponymous stationery brand (formerly LARK+RAVEN) in 2014 to showcase one-of-a-kind patterns and illustrations. Bright colors and bold patterns make me smile, and it's been the aim of my business to share this joy with others.

The inspiration for my work comes from nature, memories and my surroundings. My artist grandmother, with her love for colorful textiles and funky objects, has been a major influence in my life and my work, especially my stationery items. In 2018 I set up Love Lore, a new studio for creating bespoke wedding invitations and cards. This I named after my own mother Florence, who has kept every invitation and card she has ever been sent, and who is another big inspiration of mine.

Gift-wrapped parcels

Because my logo is really playful, I try to stick to the same minimal palette throughout all branding materials. I also keep fonts and lettering consistent, which makes my style a lot more recognizable. This is important as I’ve showcased my illustrations in a variety of different formats, from stationery to prints, wall decals and gift-wrap.

My biggest piece of advice for new business owners is don't compare yourself to others, you're doing just fine! This is something I have to remind myself of often. In the age of social media, it's so easy to tear apart your work and your efforts because someone else appears to be doing it all better than you. If your work brings you joy, that's all that should really matter.

Ali Mac custom tissue paper

Sustainability is very important to my business, but I think there's always room for improvement. I ran into this question with my recent rebrand. I hated the thought of wasting perfectly good product because it had my old logo on it, so my solution was to add a note in my packaging that explains the name change, and my refusal to add my new logo until I've run out of stock. If this results in a little confusion for a year, so be it. A big challenge for me was figuring out how to package stationery items where cellophane is the norm/expectation. I'm delighted to see that my supplier just introduced plant based eco alternatives. Yay!

Top tip: Ali’s creative solution to a classic rebranding issue is a brilliant example of how you make sustainable business practices into a key selling point for your brand. Clearly stating your convictions and giving examples of how you stick to them shows your customer that you are trustworthy and authentic!

New York City greeting card

I chose noissue because they offered what I couldn't find elsewhere. I had been looking to make custom tissue paper for a while, but I couldn't find an option that offered two-color printing with lower minimums at a reasonable rate. I'm so excited to finally have the custom packaging I have been envisioning for so long, because it adds a layer of fun to my offerings!