While we are keeping our wedding as simple as physically possible, it isn’t lost on me that the details really matter. And one that I was extra particular about was the calligraphy. I scoured the web high and low to find the best of the best, and I’m so excited to have uncovered someone truly special. Introducing Paula Lee Calligraphy. The woman is beyond talented, and is kind as all get out to boot. Needless to say, it’s an honour to have her here today sharing a behind the scenes peek. I loved learning more about her, her business, and the things that make her tick.
If there are any other makers or entrepreneurs you’d like me to feature in this series, please let me know in the comments below. And feel free to check out the others
When did you first discover calligraphy? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I discovered calligraphy thanks to a few friends at the time who were encouraging me to give it a shot. I was working full-time at a job that just paid the bills and was looking for a creative outlet. I took an online course (as I couldn’t find any modern calligraphy courses in the city at the time!) and instantly fell in love! I would work at my job during the day and calligraph through the night. My husband would come home to our condo covered in inky piles of practise drills and alphabet drills (thanks for putting up with those early days, husband!). It was such a whirlwind of excitement and a new found passion that I just couldn’t shake off.
How did you get your calligraphy business started?
I actually never intended to turn this hobby into a business at all! I never thought of myself as a businesswoman so the thought never really passed my mind but this little hobby started to grow when friends around me would ask if I could calligraph place cards or welcome signs for their weddings. After a few friends’ weddings, I started to have people I didn’t even know email me asking about my services and then realized that maybe this was something worth pursuing.
Where is your workspace and what do you love most about it?
My workspace is at home! We turned our second bedroom into my office and I love it! My most favorite things are my desk (which faces a window and serves as constant inspiration), the white walls (which instantly calm me) and my shelves (which hold all my work and reminds me to be thankful for every project I have).
What does a typical day look like for you?
My days vary greatly from day to day (since wedding season can ebb and flow) but I usually break my day up into 2 parts – computer mornings and hustle afternoons. In the morning, I wake up, make a cup of coffee, do a 20 minute morning yoga session (or go for a walk in the park just outside our home), and answer emails/prepare proposals until lunch time. In the afternoon, I will usually do the more laborious work (drafting, drawing, calligraph, ribbon tying, envelope assembly, etc). With that being said, there are some days where I’m answering emails all day and other days where I’m calligraphing all day. But I like that not every day is identical as it keeps me on my toes!
What’s your favorite stationery piece to make, and why?
My favorite stationery piece would probably have to be custom illustrated maps. They’re the most labour-intensive piece that I will create in an invitation suite but it’s always, always so worth it in the end! Nothing quite ties together an Invitation like a custom map!
When your creativity well has run dry, what do you do to get inspired again?
Go for a nice long walk! It works every time. Or I’ll take my computer and work in a coffee shop – just to have a change in space and be inspired by just watching other people hustle away!
What colors, textures, and materials are inspiring you right now?
Right now, I’ve been loving warm neutrals – taupes, rusty oranges, terracotta, copper browns. I also have a soft spot for vellum and try to incorporate it into my work whenever I get the chance.
Biggest lesson you’ve learned in running your own business?
There’s a piece of the pie for everyone (is that how the saying goes?). In my earlier days (and still today at times), I struggled with comparison like crazy! As I watched the popularity of calligraphy grow and grow around me, I would feel like I was falling behind and needed to always be ahead and the feeling of jealously would creep in. But I quickly learned that being jealous of other people’s successes did nothing good for me. Instead, I came across a golden piece of advice – just because someone in their business is winning doesn’t mean I’m losing. There’s plenty of room for everyone to do amazing work. So instead of being jealous, I’ve learned to be excited for other people when they’ve reached milestones and cheer them on and I can tell you that that feels much, much better!
What upcoming project are you most excited to work on right now?
I have a few dreams in the works that I’m really excited about but still trying to iron out. But right now, I’m excited to work on all of my current client’s wedding stationery pieces! Each one is different which keeps things fresh.
I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for…
Grit, hard work, mistakes along the way and a team of close and reliable cheerleaders. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who believe in you. They make all the difference!
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