Greatest Story Creative

American Made Since 2013

Annie Franceschi

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Crafted from your amazing story, Greatest Story offers outside-the-box design and writing for your wedding, event, and business.
Crafts, Paper Crafts

Tell us about your business.

LA, Early 2013. I was climbing the ladder in the film industry at Disney, crafting presentations for films. I was also 3,000 miles from family, and a life lived with intention. Through my wedding DIY blog, a woman came to me to tell her story in her wedding programs. I designed a print for her- combining my self-taught design and background in literature/film. I learned I was meant to help real people tell their stories. I quit my job, we moved back to NC, & I rebranded my blog/business to Greatest Story - embracing its mission of celebrating who you are: your greatest story. I work with clients for weddings, events, business, and everyday, all across the country. Brides come to me because they want their wedding to celebrate their love story. I create custom design for them including invitation suites, to love story prints, to favors, etc. I serve as a translator to brides on how to use these elements (writing, design, or both) to bring their love story to life in their wedding.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

I've had many workspaces, as you might expect from someone who quit a big sexy corporate job, moved 3,000 miles away, and put everything into starting a new business. My current workspace is a wood desk overlooking a large window in my husband and I's small 1 bedroom apartment. In my two bookcases, I've placed mementos of things that inspire me - pictures of my family, my biggest reminder to lead an intentional life - books that have kept me on this path like Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, and pieces from my Disney experience - like my badge from D23, the major event I wrote a presentation for as my last big project. All of these pieces inspire me to be a great storyteller for my clients: to think outside the box, to capture a little magic, and to do it with meaning and intention.

What inspires you?

As a person, I'm this weird combination of my husband, my Dad, Martha herself, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, and some Walt Disney (among others). These are the voices in my head. My parents were both storytellers (my dad in Advertising, my mom did calligraphy and sold William Arthur invitations). I am a weird blend of both of them and I'm driven by the power that stories have to change us - to make us laugh, make us cry, and really - make us feel like we aren't so alone in the universe. This is the kind of work I try to help people with - to tell their story in a way that does what movies do for all of us. Moreover, I'm really inspired in the wedding space by work and elements that are both insanely creative and practical. My philosophy when creating for brides is very much one of looking for low cost, high impact solutions. As one example, making 4 different iterations of the same invitation card for a suite adds surprise for the guests when they realized what they received was special!

What makes your business stand out?

I really believe that Greatest Story, especially in the weddings space, brings a lot of value to people that isn't there just yet. There's a lot of talk of event branding, but what I offer through my work in the business is the unique skillset of being not just a graphic designer, but a writer, an artist, and a storyteller. A lot of people make beautiful invitations, but its up to the Bride and Groom to know how to write them in a way that expresses who they are. With Greatest Story, a bride doesn't have to be intimidated by Pinterest and magazine & blog pressure. She can work with me one-on-one to craft a fully love story-centric wedding. Through that process, it becomes not the purple wedding or the summer chic wedding - it's the John and Jane wedding, with undeniable touches that make their guests feel a part of their love story. It's the most rewarding work in the world to bring such a special new chapter in someone's life to full celebration.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

I'd say if there's something you are really interested in or drawn to but are terrified of it, that's a very good sign you've got to go for it. I'm finding the more I go after the things I fear and face it, I push through it and there's just more awesome on the other side. I'm a big believer in that we all just need 20 seconds of courage to do what is most important to us. It takes 20 seconds of courage to send that email, make that phone call, maybe even hit "publish" on a submission to American Made. You've got the time, you've got the heart, and really what's the worst that can happen? You either succeed, or you learn... probably both, I'd say.

What does American Made mean to you?

Initially, I was terrified of going full-time with Greatest Story. When I moved back to NC, I started the business but was going it on the side. It took me a few months to realize that, though I was interviewing for another corporate job in town, I knew what I was afraid of was exactly what I had to do. American Made to me, means a business that fits the American spirit. It's a business that embraces the fear, and does it anyway. We live in a country that has seen so many success stories of women like me - who were scared to not take the safe job, to try something new, to do what is considered "risky." I turned down a job on January 25, 2014 which made it official - Greatest Story was my full time job. And it has grown by leaps and bounds because I trusted my heart - that little voice inside my head that told me it was finally time to try - what did I have to lose? A life worth living is not a life lived with regrets. And that spirit perfectly defines American Made for me.

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