When Phillip Westlund and Aubrey Webb began studying in NNU’s Department of Art and Design, they could not anticipate what the next five years would hold for them. Of course there were the classes and critiques, the art shows, and the campus events. But then came graduation, a wedding, a new business, and recognition from around the world.
Phillip and Aubrey look back on their time at NNU as being one of hard work, exciting discoveries and close relationships.
“It is difficult to put into words the entire experience.” Phillip says. “There is an ocean of beautiful and incredible design out there to explore, but learning to create on my own was and continues to be a great challenge. What I value most from my time at NNU is the quality of courage, experimentation, and critique that was taught.”
“I loved the small class sizes and how close everyone in the department was.” Aubrey remembers. “I think my education gave me a lot of confidence that I had the talent and ability to be successful on my terms. My work as an artist has just as much to do with my personality and relationships as it does with my practical knowledge, and that’s something I came to realize in my time at NNU.”
Paul Kinsman, Director of the Department of Art & Design and Professor of Graphic Design, remembers Phillip and Aubrey for the unique approach and vision they both brought to their design work.
“I’ve had the honor of working with a tremendous number of students over the years and I remember each one for different reasons. Whenever possible, Phillip and Aubrey incorporated their sense of humor into their work which made critiques fun and made their work truly memorable. It’s so fitting that they ended up getting married and starting their own studio.”
While in the design program, Phillip and Aubrey worked closely in their art classes and even shared an office while serving on SGA their senior year. In this environment they became close friends, and learned to work together as a team.
Phillip jokes, “eventually we decided that we worked so well together, we should fall in love and get married.”
And so they did. After graduating from NNU, Phillip and Aubrey started dating, fell in love, and got engaged. In planning for their wedding, they designed an invitation unlike any they could find. After the wedding, as they began to think about what would be next, they promoted their invitation package using Etsy and other online resources. The success of this first product allowed the Westlunds to begin putting resources into developing new products. From there, “Yes, Dear. Studio“ was born. Since that point their business has grown at a rapid rate. Now they serve customers all over the world—from Hong Kong to France to Australia. Their work has been featured in British Vogue Magazine and Italian bridal magazine Sposabella, as well as numerous places online.
“Because having our own business allows us so much freedom we have also begun incorporating photography—a passion of both of ours—into our business.” Aubrey shares. “Now we are transitioning into full time wedding photography with the option to offer couples customized invitations and paper goods for their weddings as well. We are currently running two businesses between the two of us and we love being our own bosses!”
Phillip adds, “being self employed has many challenges and has been very difficult at times, but having the privilege to work with the one you love is an eternal blessing.”
You can view the Westlunds' work by visiting their website, Yes, Dear. Studio.
Learn more about NNU's Department of Art & Design by visiting their website.
photo credit: dylandsara.com