Last month I attended Laura Hooper's Calligraphy workshop. You can read more about it here, but after I stayed and chatted for a few minutes with the talented sisters behind a brilliant and growing brand that stretches from the wedding industry and beyond. Alyssa runs the business side and Laura is the calligrapher. Laura was so gracious to answer a few questions for me.
How did you get started in the calligraphy?
I've always been artistic, but my mom got me started on calligraphy. When I was a teenager, I had a job writing names on caricature prints and that gave me a lot of practice both with writing and centering. My best friend in college asked me to address her wedding invitation envelopes when were about 22 ~ and the rest is history!
How long have you been doing it?
I've been doing it professionally for over 10 years.
How did you grow your business into what it is today?
After my first "client," my dad's coworker's daughter was getting married and my dad offered them my services. Then my sister's boss was getting married. Slowly word started to spread and I started booking more and more jobs. The industry wasn't what it is now, and there weren't nearly as many calligraphers as you can find today. There were no wedding blogs, no inspiration shoots ~ we would definitely consider it "old school" at this point. I got a graphic designer to help me out once I started getting requests for invitation suites and I didn't have enough time to do it all. A client wanted a custom map, so we started offering those. There was no one "leading the way" so to speak and it was just a lot of trial and error and growing with the industry as weddings became more like true "events." Last year my sister, Alyssa, came on full time and she helped me expand into the calligraphy kits and workshops. I've also been fortunate to accumulate some wonderful vendors and friends in the industry to collaborate with!
How would you describe your style?
While I can do all sorts of calligraphy styles and have over 20 listed on my website, I would say I'm most known for "classic" calligraphy.
What's the best thing about working in the wedding industry?
Every job is different, and you never know what creative thing the planners/designers are going to come up with next!
Wedding planning can be a very emotionally charged time for brides, grooms and their families. It is often "the most important thing" happening in their lives at the time, so naturally things can get a bit tense at time. We literally have gotten emails with the subject line "CALLIGRAPHY EMERGENCY!!!"
Any advice for aspiring calligraphers?
Never stop practicing! I look back on some of my old work, and I'm not afraid to admit that it was not good! Patience and practice are key to this beautiful art form. If they are looking to have a calligraphy business, I would say to work on building a client base…word of mouth is your best marketing, especially in the beginning. My "payment" for my first job, which probably had about 200 envelopes, was a $50 gift card. You have to start somewhere!
I also highly recommend working on photo shoots. They are free advertising (other than your time and paper/ink/tools of course!) and you usually have the opportunity to have a bit more fun with your work and creativity.
In your opinion what makes a good wedding great?
Well first off I would say the people. But in terms of planning, I would say personal details. Making your wedding a personal reflection of you as a couple is key, in my opinion.
Any other advice for brides planning their wedding?
Have fun! As I mentioned before, wedding planning can be a stressful and emotional time and even though it's difficult to see beyond the specifics, I would urge anyone planning their wedding to just remember what the day is truly about ~ the love they share with their significant other and the life they are committing to with one another ~ and definitely hire a planner! Day-of at the very least so you can relax and not worry about things going as planned on the day itself, and if something doesn't go as planned, resort to the aforementioned on what the day is really about :)
Thank you so much Laura and Alyssa!
photos via Sugar and Cloth