When Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff met each other at a preschool open house, there was definitely some kismet involved. Almost instantaneously, the pair bonded over their shared love of design, paper goods, and parties and from that bond Anders Ruff Custom Designs was born. The dynamic duo designs graphic printables for all sorts of occasions and their work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens as well as events for celebrities like Venus Williams and Emily Maynard. Despite their busy schedules, Maureen Anders took some time to tell us a little bit more about the exciting world of Anders Ruff.
Your company, Anders Ruff Custom Designs, is all about celebration and specialized event design. Looking back over the events that you have designed, what are some of your favorite sweet treats that you have featured?
At Anders Ruff, we specialize in graphic printables (invitations, banners, favor tags, labels, wraps, and more!) and we are professional stylists. Our blog is our place to share our styling and craft ideas, recipes, and creative uses of our printable products that we sell in our shop. The photo shoots that we style are to help our fans and readers get inspiration and ideas for their own themed events. We are “branding” our printable themed party collections with our photo shoots. We do get to do some fun special projects and our favorite was probably the Better Homes & Gardens “Halloween Tricks and Treats” magazine article that we were hired to produce. A close competitor was the Glam Camping party that we designed and styled for Bachelorette Emily Maynard’s daughter, Ricki. As far as our favorite “sweet treats”, we loved the gorgeous sugar cookies that Sugarbelle created for our Spooky Forest Halloween party for Better Homes and Gardens. The owl cookie pops were incredible! We also loved the meringue mushroom toadstools that Kiss Me Kate shipped from Australia for the Better Homes and Gardens photo shoot!
When working together on a project, do you collaborate on every feature of the event or do you each specialize in specific aspects of the planning?
We typically collaborate on every aspect. Adria has her favorite things to do and I do as well. Adria loves prop shopping and shopping her own house of vintage antiques but also loves working on the graphic designs with me. I adore the graphic designing and food styling / baking part of the process. One of us will be the “spear head” of each project because that person typically came up with the idea/theme or inspiration for the party, but once that theme has been established, we each build off of each other’s ideas. It really is an amazing collaboration and we work so seamlessly together. We can finish each other’s thoughts and almost always agree with each other’s ideas!
What factors do you consider when deciding what food to present at an event?
Since we don’t typically do “real” events (most are styled photo shoots or mock parties for special projects), we can typically choose to show any foods, even if they are impractical. We always strive to show unique or new ideas with food. Even if its not a “new” dessert, we like to put our own twist or spin on recipes or dessert styling. When having a “real” event, as in Emily Maynard’s case, we like to think about desserts that will look good, transport easily and hold up well on the table. Also, they have to taste amazing!
Do the two of you do your own baking for the events you design, and, if not, who are your top choices for bakers and dessert specialists?
I do bake a lot and would bake everything if I had the time. Since we do everything from crafting, designing, creating, styling, sewing, etc, it makes it hard to do it all. I typically do 2-4 items myself for our shoots, but sometimes more if we have the time. Plus, there are so many talented bakers and we love to work with new ones! We love Sugarbelle’s cookies, Firefly Confections Cookies, and Whip it Good Cookies. Got What It Cakes is our girl for fabulous cakes, we love Cupcrazed for cupcakes… the list goes on!
You were featured as Martha Stewart’s “Doer of the Week” less than a year after Anders Ruff was formed and you noted that Martha Stewart has been a source of inspiration for both of you. Who else do you look to for inspiration?
I can’t say that I really turn to any one specific person for inspiration but we turn to the fashion industry a lot for inspiration. Anthropologie is one of our favorites! I adore Tory Burch and Kate Spade as well as C. Wonder, Diane Von Furstenburg, and many more.
You two have seen great success and have recently worked on events for celebrities like Venus Williams and on promos for films like “Hop” and “Bridesmaids”! What’s next for Anders Ruff?
We are so happy and proud of our projects and accomplishments. It was a true honor to design for those companies and individuals. We recently worked with some amazing people but can’t tell yet. So my answer is: “To be determined!”