When you’re planning a wedding, it’s easy for anyone to get wrapped up in every last detail. But when Sherry Lee-Huang got married in 2012, she took the DIY idea to the extreme—crafting pinwheel bouquets for her bridesmaids, sewing napkins, and making fabric flowers for every place card (and that was just the decor). “I was in grad school then, so I had the time,” she laughs.
A fan of throwback design, Sherry originally founded Esselle as an online vintage clothing and home goods store with her friend, Sandy Lu, as a hobby. They eventually started curating themed “hostess boxes,” filled with small decor items like napkins, serveware, and of course, place card holders for unpackable party vibes. Which bring us back to those nuptials: “We both found through wedding planning that place card holder options were really lacking and saw a business opportunity,” Sherry says. After doing some at-home dabbling, the duo found a manufacturer to craft the hexagonal wooden ones that are now their calling card. But they’ve hardly lost touch with that doing-it-by-hand ethos: Each and every stand is still painted in Sherry’s Fremont, California, studio. —maren ellingboe