In today’s Chancey Charm Denver wedding vendor highlight, we’re chatting with Sophie Ulibarri of Sweet Zion Paperie! Known for creating custom invitations that are tailored to fit each client’s event vision, style and wedding budget, Sophie considerers it a blessing to bring out + support the creativity in others by crafting the perfect product for a couple’s wedding day. She’s sharing how she got her start in the wedding industry, the best moment of her career, wedding planning tips for brides + more. Enjoy!
–The Chancey Charm Team
Photo: Sara Lynn Photographic
What’s your area of expertise?
Event Stationery, Calligraphy, Signage
First job you ever landed
Right out of college with a BA in Psychology, I initially planned to head into more schooling. But after marrying my college sweetheart and moving to Denver, life had different plans. I decided not to go back to school and took a job at a non-profit as an event coordinator where I organized travel, speaking engagements, and humanitarian efforts for a well-known teacher/author.
Photo: Brumley and Wells
What brought you to the wedding industry?
In the non-profit sector, you wear many hats – not unlike the life of an entrepreneur. I had always been artistic and had started a little Etsy shop of my work, but one of my assignments at my day time job had me sitting in front of a design program I knew nothing about with a really intense deadline and a magazine advertisement to design and perfect. I rose to the challenge, ended up loving the computer side of design and found it streamlined the side of pen and paper art I was used to. After creating many baby shower, birthday, and house hold party invitations, one of my friends, who is also in the industry, really pushed me to begin this business. We are now celebrating our 6th year and employ two additional people. I’m so thankful for all the love and support we’ve received and how the industry has been so welcoming.
A lesson you’ve learned the hard way in the wedding industry
Last year, I had a really difficult client – I mean DIFFICULT. They were nothing short of abusive in the way they spoke to me, treated me and often took our working relationship to personal levels. Those who know me know that I am stubborn and will often stick with something until completion, even if it’s totally unhealthy for me personally. However, after far too many insults being hurled my way, I ended up canceling their contract, which was very hard to do. Months after their wedding, I received a less than flattering online review saying that they, in fact, had fired me. It took everything within me not to retaliate and to just let it be. As unfair as it was, I had to realize that negative people thrive on attention and insecurity often leads people to not accept responsibility for their part in failure. Learning not to give negative types of people satisfaction in knowing they get a reaction is difficult – especially when it’s based on fallacy. I had to believe that my business (and sanity) were worth more than a rebuttal and to let my business reputation speak for itself.
Photo: Paige Eden Photography
Favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon
Morning coffee, church, brunch, and spending time outdoors.
Best piece of advice to someone new to the wedding industry
Align yourself with people in the industry who you can not only glean from, but who you can also add value to.
Hustle and work hard.
Be honest and take responsibility when things go wrong.
Above all, operate with integrity.
Best piece of planning advice to a new bride
Hire a planner! Many people still look at a wedding planner as a “luxury”, but in truth, planners can save you a lot of time, money, heartache and frustration. They know who to hire, where to allocate your budget, and have connections in the industry that you don’t.
Some words you live by
Lions do not lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.
Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself – it’s thinking of yourself less.
To those whom much is given, must is to be expected.
Photo: Laura Murray
Best tip for balancing work + home life
I’m not always so good at this, but I like to take my time in the morning – whether it’s a morning workout and then coffee or a quiet moment out on our deck (also with coffee) before I begin my work day. You have to make time for the important and occasionally fun things in life that will refresh you and your passion for your career. I am also very list motivated, so each night I write down in a little notebook the tasks for the next day. Crossing them off is very fulfilling to me and those tasks I do not finish, I just carry over to the next day. It’s also been helpful to set up a worksheet for clients to help them understand our standard working timelines. Setting those boundaries with clients has been a really great move along with delegating tasks to our team members.
Best moment of your career
Quitting my part-time job to solely focus on Sweet Zion and the hiring of our two team members. That has taught me so much about my abilities as a leader, delegator and business owner.
Food Network, Haribo Raspberries, coffee and a little retail therapy.
Your favorite Instagram account
We know so many super talented wedding pros, so without naming names and having to pick just a few, I’ll focus those I follow who I find to be inspirational for calligraphy and hand lettering.
Chancey Charm Denver Wedding Planner