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Grit to glam: a wedding invitation business owner's journey to success

Christy Asper sits in her downtown office space Although her profession revolves around one extravagant day, Asper’s roots are down-to-earth. Born to South American immigrants, Asper grew up in a one-bedroom flat with a bathroom down the hall in Jersey City, and the family shared a fold-out couch for a bed. Asper’s parents spent their days working in fashion sweatshops in New York City. “My parents told me if I worked hard enough, I’d make it here,” she said. “Growing up in poverty makes you have a lot of grit.” Her inspiration for The Ink Cafe stems from her childhood — she enjoyed art as a child, but the interest soon faded. It wasn’t until she took on the role of Spanish Event Marketing Coordinator at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that Asper returned to a passion she once knew. “I could spend hours designing invitations on my own time, not on work time,” she said. After her first bridal client passed away suddenly, Asper created a funeral program free of charge for this woman. “It feels purposeful,” she said. “We’re not just creating a product.” Her business fosters relationships, as well as invitations.

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