Vanessa Perilli and Esther Navarro-Orejon each had almost fifteen years of experience in their respective industries before launching their new business, V. Happy Co. While Vanessa has spent much of that time working as a designer for major local and international agencies, Esther has been deeply immersed in running The Project Agency, her publicity and brand strategy agency that supports brands to launch, grow and evolve. Together, the duo has recently launched a new offering of totally delightful high quality, locally made art prints and gift cards.
‘Our story has a very “millennial” beginning’, says Vanessa. Esther stumbled across Vanessa on Instagram and instantly connected with her playful design aesthetic. ‘There was something about the googly eyes that stopped me in my tracks!’ she recalls. ‘I somewhat boldly reached out and asked Vanessa if she would consider a partnership.’ Esther’s skillset perfectly complemented Vanessa’s design sensibilities, and they both saw an opportunity to join forces to build on Vanessa’s vision for the brand, which she had been developing for some time. That was just a few short months ago – and now, with their product range refined, a fresh new website and online store open for business, V. Happy Co has well and truly taken off!
The Alphapics range gives life to every letter of the alphabet, and we’ve gotta say, it’s the PERFECT kids gift. (And ps – the Christmas cut off date for Alphapics is December 12th… get in quick!)
We spoke to Vanessa and Esther about their brand new partnership, the concept behind V. Happy Co, and their advice for others looking to take their passion project to the next level.
Hey Esther and Vanessa! Congrats on the launch of V. Happy Co! can you tell us a bit about the concept?
Esther: The concept behind V. Happy Co was to approach it as a design studio with a modern and contemporary product focus. We wanted to create a design-led product range that would resonate with kids and adults alike, whilst being friendly and timeless. We want the collections to be able to grows with kids and their families.
How did you build and nurture V. Happy Co through the challenges of this year?
Vanessa: Melburnians were spending so much time in our own four walls and things were bleak… I was desperate to do something for “myself”. Raising two girls and working while being confined to my house, I didn’t have much time to myself during the lockdown, so Alphapics was an outlet for me – an opportunity to have fun designing a print series that put a smile on my face. My girls loved it too. Each morning they’d wake up, and run downstairs to see which letter I had designed over-night!
Your designs and branding are vibrant and distinctive. What references inspired your overall aesthetic?
Vanessa: The V. Happy Co look and feel was driven by my graphic designer roots – to conceptualise an idea and let the idea/product speak for itself. Here, the brand was about bringing joy, so the simple half circle / smile for the logo was enough to convey this idea in a timeless fashion.
Our illustrations were inspired by kids picture books – we wanted to create a style that resonated with kids. To be super-graphic and non-threatening. Enzo Mari’s La Mela was the inspiration behind the Alphapics collection. The scale and graphic nature of the print, inspired me to create a print series with purpose.
Where are the products made, and with what materials?
We support local businesses and are proudly designed and made in Australia. Our giclee prints are printed on 310gm cotton paper. We also offer a letterpress, foiling and holographic print details, making our cards a joy to gift and receive.
Why did you choose Squarespace as your website building platform?
Esther: Squarespace provided a platform to design and develop an e-commerce store with a strong design focus. Our brand is all about letting the product speak for itself, and we don’t shy away from bold, large imagery. Our Squarespace website heroes this imagery, and it doesn’t hide product by putting it in tiny boxes, so this is why it was right for V. Happy Co.
Vanessa didn’t have any experience with web coding, and Squarespace made it incredibly simple to customise and build our web presence, and get our product out into the world!
Do you have any advice for anyone who might be keen to turn their passion project into a proper side hustle?
Have a strong brand identity. Invest in great visuals and website offering! Lean on your relationships and connections. Take risks, trust your gut.
Squarespace provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools they need to bring their creative ideas to life, online. Using their all-in-one platform, you can claim a domain, build a website, sell online, and market your brand.
Head to Squarespace.com for a free trial and when you’re ready to launch, use the offer code DESIGNFILES to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.