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Video: For Design Alumna, Success Is in the Cards (and Stationery)

UC interior design alumna Stacey Shiring has started her own business – one that connects artists and designers with an online market while also contributing to local communities.

Date: 10/30/2011
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824

University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) alumna Stacey Shiring hopes that success is in the cards (and stationery) for her.

Shiring, a 2008 graduate of UC’s nationally ranked program in interior design, recently opened a business called Bridal Divas Ink, an entrepreneurial effort designed to take advantage of the $12 billion stationery market in the United States.

The concept of her business: Bridal Divas Ink allows local stationery stores and graphic artists to bring their designs to the online shopper without the expense and time investment needed to run an e-commerce outlet.

And there is only one requirement for a talented designer to submit designs for sale on the Bridal Divas Ink site: “Our only requirement besides quality design work,” explains Shiring, “Is that each artist submitting work must also be doing volunteer work in his or her community. It’s my goal to build a company that blends community improvement with commerce.”

In starting up her business, currently located in the Hamilton County Business Center (HCBC), Shiring employed two UC digital design cooperative education students because she wanted to give students some of the same opportunities for gaining experience that she had on her UC co-ops as a student.

Shiring’s long-term goal is to build Bridal Divas Ink and its business model into a national brand that links consumers, artists, small business and local communities. The business started out offering all of the card and stationery options necessary for a wedding and recently expanded to also offer a variety of holiday cards. And, of course, all designs are unique originals.

The experience of opening her own business is, according to Shiring, comparable to studying interior design at UC or her former career of opera singer. “All of these pursuits are about creating an experience for an audience. With opera, the experience was over when the singing stopped. I think that’s why I finally opted for design over opera. In design and now in business, I can create an experience that endures for years, even decades,” she states.

As a one-time opera singer, Shiring performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall at the age of 17. She also studied opera for more than two years at the university level but finally decided to pursue interior design over opera because she loved the challenges of design.