April 18, 2023

Tying the Knot

Tying the Knot

Tying the Knot

woman smiling

Shana Wanco is no stranger to taking chances.

From changing her major from nursing to visual communications behind her parents’ backs in college, to buying a 1920’s letterpress off Craigslist and starting her own business.

Now six years old, Wanco’s company is named Iris + Marie, after her own middle name, Marie, and her letterpress, Iris.

artworkA major player in the wedding industry, Iris + Marie creates bespoke wedding stationery on a national level. It all began with Wanco’s first encounter with letterpress was in Dr. Gregory Fry’s class, where the art professor introduced students to the traditional, laborious art form.

“One of my graphic design professors, Gregory Fry,was really awesome,” Wanco says. “He is the one who introduced me to letterpress, which is the path that I took after college. I had not seen letterpress first hand until then. Now that is a big part of my business.”

That experience planted the seed. Years later, feeling frustrated with her 9-to-5, Wanco seized the opportunity to have a letterpress of her own. Iris was Wanco’s one-way ticket out of her current position and into entrepreneurship. Wanco decided to go all-in and build her own letterpress business from scratch. Iris + Marie began as a local business serving clients in the Columbia area, but quickly exploded into a national force to be reckoned with in the wedding industry.

artwork“It grew organically on Instagram and a lot of my business–especially at the beginning–was from word of mouth,” Wanco says. “Now wedding planners and designers seek me out from all over the country and they’ve become repeat clients.”

Serving only six wedding clients per year, her services have become exclusive and highly sought out. In addition to wedding clients, Wanco also offers branding services for local Columbia businesses. Wanco’s unique trademark style could be to blame for such rapid success.

“I have a unique and distinct style, but it kind of flows between which client I’m working for,” Wanco says. “Overall, I would say my style is very whimsical, a little bit quirky and definitely very colorful. I take a lot of inspiration from vintage pieces, especially something groovy or a little kitschy.”

Wanco has never looked back since becoming a business owner. The fulfillment of working directly with couples to express their love stories through art is a dream come true for her.

artwork“The best part of my job is when I get to connect with wedding clients to create something that captures their story and expresses who they are through artwork,” Wanco says. “People commission artwork all the time, but it’s different with wedding invitations because all your family and friends will see them. And having a wedding suite be a true reflection of yourself, that’s really exciting. It’s always very fun to see how creativity brings my clients’ stories to life on paper.”

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