Aeolidia to the rescue!
Printmaker Katharine Watson has been in business for nine years, successfully wholesaling and licensing her line of paper goods and textiles. The global style and traditional hand-carved block printing techniques featured in her products draw plenty of curious customers at in-person events like art shows and pop-ups.
While business is booming and Katharine’s social media presence is thriving, she saw an area of her business that could be a missed opportunity. She hadn’t yet put much effort into driving traffic towards her online retail store. She already had a Shopify wholesale site that was doing well, so she wanted to expand her online efforts to create a profitable retail e-commerce shop.
Aeolidia to the rescue!
Since a large part of her existing business already came from in-person events, Katharine enlisted our help to translate that experience to her retail website. She told us:
I’ll feel like it is a success if we can capture some of that casual, conversational, walking-into-our-studio vibe that we’ve been able to translate to events. I want our online customers to feel as connected to the business as in-person clients do.
Designer Christine Castro Hughes wove together Katharine’s own gorgeous artwork, branding colors and fonts, along with some additional block printing inspired type and textures. She was careful not to distract from the shop and product information, however, and left plenty of room for Katharine’s product images and copy to shine.
Compelling, cohesive photography paired with graphic details and engaging copywriting by Natalia Sylvester will keep Katharine’s customers scrolling and encourage clicks—and ultimately, purchases.
What Our Client Had to Say
I’ve had some experience with web design in the past, so one of my main worries was that it wouldn’t be worth it to hire someone else. After seeing the finished product, everything is so polished and professional, and looks SO much better than a DIYed site, that that question is long gone. I was hoping for a site that was simple but polished, professional, and easy to use, and I think Aeolidia really delivered on that!
The homepage Christine designed sets the tone for the whole website. She took great care to plan all the little details for the homepage, which would be repeated and carried through all the pages of Katharine’s site. The new design introduces customers to Katharine’s work and her traditional block printing process, while making it clear to website visitors that they can purchase the products online.
Christine’s responsive design ensures that the elements will flow and shift easily to look great on smaller screens like tablets and mobile phones.
A Handmade Impression
Katharine Watson makes block-printed paper goods and textiles for the home. Inspired by beautiful patterns found around the world, each original design is drawn and carved by hand in her Portland, Maine studio.
Preserving the Craft
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With her love of block printing deeply rooted in its history and craftsmanship, Katharine Watson is inspired by the process of creating work by hand. She celebrates the imperfect, one-of-a-kind look of handmade items in all her work.
She begins with sketches of her signature floral patterns, then carves them into linoleum blocks and presses the designs onto stationery, textiles, and other usable goods. It’s Katharine’s way of preserving the traditions behind the craft. It’s her way of passing it on from her own home, to yours.
Based in a converted carriage barn behind her home, Katharine lives and works in Portland, Maine, with her husband and business partner, Joe. When they aren’t working in the studio, they can be found out in the ocean eating Maine oysters, or working in the garden with their two dogs. They often pass the long Maine winters in Katharine’s hometown of Hong Kong.
The history of the brand
She studied printmaking in college and then trained as a block printer’s apprentice in Jaipur, India. It was here that she learned to bring the technical aspects of printmaking to everyday goods.
After graduating from Kenyon College, Katharine took an internship at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. She soon launched her eponymous brand, originally headquartered in the one-bedroom apartment she and Joe shared.
Today, Katharine Watson sells original art, goods, and prints through retail, wholesale, licensing, and custom design. Katharine’s work has been featured in Vogue and Martha Stewart Living, and she has worked with companies such as the Metropolitan Museum and Chronicle Books, among many others. Katharine prides herself on running a small-batch, one-of-a-kind operation at every turn.
Block Printed Cards
The very first cards on our block. Block Printed Cards were the original products that launched Katharine Watson designs. To this day, each is made completely by hand and printed with hard-carved linoleum blocks on our antique press.
Foil Stamped Cards
A special something to make greetings shine. Foil Stamped Cards begin with Katharine Watson’s hand-sketched, hand-carved linoleum block designs or an original painting. They’re blank inside, so you can add your own heartfelt message to brighten someone’s day.
Send season’s greetings with a little something different. Holiday Cards include new, original Katharine Watson designs each season, as well as classical favorites that she can’t resist bringing back each year. All are handmade and blank inside, awaiting your handwritten wishes.
Celebrate when inspiration strikes. Art prints are original, hand-carved linocut designs hand printed and signed by Katharine Watson. They’re released throughout the year, and some are even limited editions, so we suggest getting them from our hands to yours asap.
Sometimes there can be only one. Ceramics are hand-painted by Katharine Watson, and each one is completely unique. Once one goes, it’s gone. Check this space regularly to make a piece yours.
Journals and Notepads
Keep record of everyday beauty. Journals and notepads feature original block printed or hand painted designs. Use them to add color and inspiration to everything from musings to doodles to grocery lists.
Paper has Katharine’s heart, but she definitely has a soft spot for cotton. Tea towels, quilts, scarves and other textiles bring color and texture into your home with original, hand-printed designs.
See what the new year brings. Calendars are released in two styles each year—a hand-carved block-print design letterpressed onto an at-a-glance sheet, and a 12-month write-in calendar with an original design and color for each month.
Gift and Home
Marvelous miscellanea. Here you’ll find gift-tags and chipboard coasters based on Katharine Watson’s lino-cut designs, as well as kitchen items and other home goods. These are things that might not fit in all categories—but they’ll fit beautifully in your home.
Custom Projects Copy
Licensing, Collaboration, and Custom Projects
The beauty of handmade is that it’s tailored to you. Katharine Watson has created custom designs for Chronicle Books, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minted, and more. We are available for completely custom work based on your brand’s needs.
View our previous custom projects to get a feel for the possibilities. Many of our existing original designs are available for licensing, or you can commission one for yourself or your organization. Contact us about collaborating—we’d love to work with you!
When we checked in nearly a year after the launch of the new website, things were going really well. The new site has a low bounce rate, which means people are spending time exploring, and a high conversion rate means that they’re also purchasing products! Katherine told us:
“The website is working amazingly well! We’ve gotten a ton of good feedback about the design as well as the functionality, and we’re much more excited about pushing our customers there, and therefore spend more time working towards that. It’s also been really easy to customize and make new sections and graphics as needed (like for the holidays, or launching a new product category).”
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