Photos by Brea McDonald
We had the pleasure of chatting with Sara Fitzgerald O’Brien, a mother and artist who grew up in West Newbury and now calls York Harbor, Maine home. Check out Sara’s newly launched website here.
ND: Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Sara Fitzgerald O’Brien and I am a watercolor stationer. After taking some time away from the industry to be a full-time mama, my husband and I are currently rebranding and relaunching a studio that I founded back in 2007. Sara Fitz will begin taking orders this summer, and will not only cater to lovely weddings across the country, but will offer lines of personalized notes and art prints for the home.
ND: Your watercolors are absolutely beautiful; would you count yourself as someone with some raw artistic talent out the gate?
I appreciate your sweet words, thank you. I’ve certainly been interested in the arts for as long as I can remember. As a girl, I took private painting lessons from my school’s instructor, and in high school, seemed to live in the art room. I went on to study architecture in college and graduate school, but did get minors in painting and visual arts. Being a creative is definitely all I know!
I actually launched my first business while planning my own wedding. When my husband and I got engaged, I decided to make our save the dates. Very soon after we mailed them out, friends and family excitedly asked about them and where they were from. The ball started rolling from there. I had just graduated and took a leap of faith–diving head first into the industry. Pretty soon, I was designing papers for client weddings and getting some recognition in the press. It was a fulfilling experience for sure, feels like ages ago now!
ND: You are a mother, and an entrepreneur, how do you create space for both?
Yes, I have two young boys and they are fabulous, wild little men! Spending as much time as possible with them is always my priority. Time goes by so fast when kiddos are young, and you never get those years back! I do, however, have a true entrepreneurial spirit– a deep drive to accomplish something ‘big’. Balancing it all can be a definite struggle, though working alongside my husband is an incredible luxury. We’re able to have a somewhat flexible schedule, spending quality time with the boys whenever we’re able – fitting in lunch at the beach, going for bike rides after school– making sure there’s time for family, even when our work calendar is full! You tend to figure things out along the way, and if that means replying to emails at 5 am while my guys are still asleep, then so be it!
ND: We love the whole mantra of “community over competition,” which has become popular among creatives in the wedding industry. With that in mind, could you tell us some of your favorite local people to collaborate with for weddings?
Absolutely! It’s imperative that we, as creatives, support and encourage one another. There are so many talented folks in the wedding world, it is truly awe-inspiring. I love collaborating with others on weddings and projects. It’s important to keep things fresh and fun! Some of my favorite local ladies to work with are Brea McDonald of Brea McDonald Photography, Kate Martin of Beautiful Days, Meagan Gilpatrick of Maine Seasons Events and Meg Simone of Meg Simone Wedding Films. These women are not only colleagues, but friends and true visionaries in their craft. It’s always a treat to work alongside them!
ND: Tell us what a typical day looks like in preparing for the launch of your new studio opening:
Preparing for the launch of Sara Fitz has been really wonderful. It’s refreshing to re-enter the wedding industry, connecting with contacts from the past and catching up on the latest happenings! I’ve been spending a lot of time designing and painting, organizing our new collections and lines of non-wedding products. A typical day involves an early wake-up–answering emails or jotting down ideas for our new site and blog before the sun comes up! Once the boys awake, figuring out their schedule for the day and keeping my to-do list on track is where the balance comes in. Some days I’m in the studio painting for hours at a time, others we’re deciding on our new product packaging or setting up our work spaces. There’s a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work required for a launch, but when you’re passionate about what you do, it really is gratifying.
ND: Our last, and favorite question, what are you grateful for?
Oh gosh. I am grateful for so many things at this point. Of course, my wonderful family. Being a mom will always be my greatest achievement. I am thankful, everyday, for the ability to live in this gorgeous seaside town, surrounded by such beauty and inspiration. How incredible is the New England coast?! I’m extremely grateful for our clients, who bring us into their wedding planning process and trust me to create papers for their day that are meaningful to them for years to come. And I am so very thankful for those that appreciate my work, in turn, allowing me to continue doing what I love!
Thanks so much to Sara for talking to us! Be sure to support your local artist and check out her website!