Meet the Maker: Andria Sato of Lilikoi Design + Letterpress
Love letterpress as much as we do? Then get ready to fall head over heels for the next maker in our series presented by American Express. Meet Andria Sato, the founder of Lilikoi Design + Letterpress. She makes swoon-worthy (and sustainable!) paper goods in her San Francisco and Los Angeles studios. This nod to our HQ here in SF is one of our favorites.
If you want to check out all of Andria’s goods in person, you’ll be happy to hear that she’ll be joining us at Re:Make SF on September 13th! Alright, ready for more? Here’s her story.
First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Los Angeles native, currently living in San Francisco. I draw upon my multi-cultural upbringing, diverse creative background and love of nature, fashion, travel and art to design and letterpress print custom work and now a retail collection.
Why did you decide to start Lilikoi Design + Letterpress?
I founded Lilikoi in 2007 out of my passion for graphic design, a love for ink on paper and an open heart for the cherished, handwritten note. After several years of experience with print media, a desire to own my own business, and my love for letterpress that started back in college, the opportunity to own a circa 1889 manual press presented itself and there was no turning back.
We have grown steadily creating and producing custom projects, running our studio with sustainable practices and using high quality, carefully chosen materials made in the USA. Custom projects include wedding invitations, stationery, business cards, hang tags, and baby announcements.
Tell us why you love to make.
Creating something by hand has so much love and soul—and I get to share that story.
What does the making process look like for you?
It’s very labor intensive! Our presses are run by hand, so we get quite a workout! Quality is really important to us, as well as where our items are sourced from because they are major factors in the outcome of our products. We want to make sure we use resources that will allow us to produce the best possible outcome.
We stay true to the traditional art of letterpress, which involves mixing inks and printing by hand with 100% cotton paper that is specifically made for letterpress. We believe the press will produce outstanding work with the best combination of design, materials, patience and a talented operator. This is also achieved with the love and attention to detail poured into our products and the amazing clients we get to know.
What’s your favorite thing about the art of letterpress?
All products are not only made by hand with a labor intensive, original technique on machines that date back to 1889—they are one of a kind and beautifully tactile. There’s no other printing technique that can produce the same outcome. I think my favorite thing about the art of letterpress is that the entire process is created by hand. Every piece that comes off the press is like magic—taking artwork from the computer and printing it in letterpress brings it to life.
We’re big fans of your stationery. Where do you get your inspiration?
Thank you so much! My inspiration comes from my travels and all the incredible people around me. I’m inspired by fashion, interior design and materials that are classic and timeless to create designs that are complimentary to the printing technique of letterpress and that are accessible to both men and women. But most importantly, I’m inspired by the art of the handwritten note.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Know that constantly being challenged, scared and making mistakes are all ok—it’s learning from those hurdles and being able to grow and adapt is what’s going to help you maintain your integrity, stay connected to your creativity and be your best so you can achieve bigger goals.
The most valuable business advice I’ve received and want to pass along is to maintain a healthy work/life balance, which I think is important for a role that involves creativity on a regular basis. I also think it’s important to stay true and proud of the product you’re making and to not compare yourself to others. Stay inspired, work hard and be proud of what you’re doing by staying focused on being great and confident.
What other creative hobbies do you have?
I’m passionate about photography, yoga, spending time at the beach, cooking and painting.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
Technology has allowed for us to expand our creative opportunities with the letterpress printing technique; because presses are no longer made, this limits the technological advances for letterpress, but it’s also why it’s incredibly special at the same time. Instead of hand setting type or carving a wood block, we can create a printing plate from artwork created on the computer.
What’s up next for you?
Hi, I'm Brit, the founder and CEO of Brit + Co. I'm a young mom of two, tech nerd and design-inclined lady who has a zillion hobbies and curious about... just about everything! My mission from the beginning has been to unlock women's creativity and courage to try new things so that they can find the path to their true passions.
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
Want to feel motivated to take the next step for your business? Let Office Depot OfficeMax give you the confidence you need with a suite of business services & solutions to help you put your best foot forward. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax you'll find the tools to reach new customers with confidence.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.