In the Spotlight : Emilie Dulles of Dulles Designs

It’s so fun to feature my very dear friend, Emilie Dulles of Dulles Designs, on the blog today! She is the epitome of polish and poise and the ultimate local stationer and gal-about-town. Read on for more . . .

A little about you, your business, your inherent you-ness:

ED: I am a consummate stationer, philosopher, budding golfer, gourmand, casual fisherman, Princeton alum, and natural redhead. My heritage is a multi-cultural blend ~ born in Manhattan to an American father and French mother, I grew up in Switzerland and England before returning home to the States for college. Nowadays, I celebrate life and its memorable events, be they big or small, through the exquisite medium of custom stationery most often engraved or letterpressed and always intentionally designed and produced to set just the right tone for a wedding or correspondence. At Dulles Designs, I have the pleasure of working with vibrant brides, private clients, and distinctive paper lovers.

Your best friend is coming to visit Charleston for the first time. Where would you take him/her  eat, drink, chill, and play?

ED: There are so many wonderful restaurants and chefs in Charleston! It is hard to narrow down the choices, but if limited in time we’d have to check out the raw bar at Amen Street, the steaks at Oak, the green curry chicken at Basil, and the fresh fish tacos at Poe’s. drink? We’d sip our way through the mixology of Cypress, Fish, Husk, Ok-u, and then purchase some organic fruit and vegetables from a local farm for some delicious homemade breakfast juice. Charleston is a feast for the senses and a reservoir of beautiful culture including, the Gibbes Museum, the Charleston Library Society, the Nathaniel Russell House, the Pitt Street Bridge, and the Thomas Elfe House, and Middleton Plantation. Then we’d put the Choos aside and take a walk South of Broad. The best of Charleston is discovered in the happenstance of exploring the smaller alleys and hidden gems of history peppered throughout the peninsula. For chilling, Sullivan’s Island or Kiawah Island for an afternoon escapade with a favorite book, picnic, and pink fishing pole.

Your ideal Saturday afternoon is spent . . .

ED: I work most Saturdays, so I most enjoy having a great meeting with a bride or private client with whom I create a distinctive design for their stationery. I love learning about the families and stories behind the style of the wedding and having a great connection to each project. I’ve learned there is no such thing as normal when it comes to family and delicate frankness is the best way to assuage any tension or emotions. Afterwards, I love getting together with my darling Baron and good friends for oysters or sushi.

What’s just one thing that sets you apart from your peers? Don’t be bashful!

ED: Have you read Malcom Gladwell’s bestseller “Outliers”? If you haven’t, I recommend picking it up. It is a great book that analyzes what makes industry leaders particular and how they reached their level of expertise that sets them apart from their peers. In short, his thesis is that each industry leader puts in their “10,000 hours” to hone their craft. Having been involved in the stationery industry since the age of 9 when my mother first imported American stationery to Switzerland, where I grew up from ages 2 to 14, I have a deep appreciation for beautiful paper and a thorough understanding of the mechanics and engineering behind the production of a stunning engraving or letterpress project. I absolutely enjoy figuring out the best way to express a style, and set just the right tone, for a wedding through the subtleties of paper texture, ink color, type face selection, and careful wording.

What’s one (fun/weird/crazy) thing we wouldn’t know about you?

ED: I used to figure skate 5 days a week. Growing up in Switzerland I would skate during the two hour lunch/study break we had and was even an Onion in the opening ceremony festivities of the 1990 European Figure Skating Championship. I was produce on ice! I went on to master downhill skiing as well. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh!

Hollywood calls and they’re going to make a movie of your life. What’s your opening musical score (or the top hit on the soundtrack?)

ED: A song I sang to my father at his 50th birthday surprise party: “I just called to say I love you,” by Stevie Wonder.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your business?

ED: The long standing client relationships and the constant honing of my craft. I have the privilege of sharing intimate and significant life rites and celebrations with my clients and expressing them through exquisite stationery. I’m so lucky to make permanent the moments and aesthetic selections of weddings and correspondence in what is so often a fleeting digital word. An engraved or letterpress invitation, calligraphed envelope, hand addressed thank you notes, these are all the sweeter parts of life that resonate with our senses a good glass of wine or delicious meal. I get to preserve the written word and help my clients look stunning. How special is that!

No wedding is complete without . . .

ED: Love! There is enough suffering, pain, and conflict in the world, that I find it absolutely ridiculous when two people choose to meld their lives together if they are not best friends, happy lovers, and partners in the team that is to become their family. Love, affection, care, and respect are the values that create a solid foundation for a lasting relationship. Having seen most family scenarios, I know that money, career, and other material effects will never replace the importance of love in a good marriage. Ultimately, a wedding is at the beginning of a marriage, so let love set the tone.

{images via Charlotte Elizabeth Photographer, except fishing shot}




  1. kk1107

    wow. i love her description of “no wedding is complete without…”that is just beautiful. say hello to my new facebook status

  2. Jessica

    Love Emilie! What a fabulous interview. She is elegance personified!