An interview with Jane, the creative spirit behind JK Calligraphy. We're bringing you stories from our workshop attendees to see how they took what they learned to forge their own path to success.
The start of my lettering journey began with Instagram and Pinterest. I was pinning and saving so many posts online that it became an obsession. I had a girlfriend whom had started doing calligraphy, except she was self taught. I knew that I would learn much better with the guidance of someone that could show me the ropes, so I began searching for classes.
I was so excited when I found Sylvia’s workshops. I loved her personal touches and how she made you feel like close friends. So if you haven’t gone to a class with Sylvia yet, get on it because you will get to meet and learn from a wonderful woman.
After taking the class, I didn't have any real plans or goals for my new skill and starting my own small business didn't even cross my mind at the time. It was more for fun, something to make writing in cards more beautiful. Making small gifts more personalized and different. The first project I had after taking the class was making holiday cards for my boyfriend's team at work. I would spend time in a local Starbucks writing “Seasons Greetings” and short messages. Not only was his team so impressed, but his co-managers liked them so much, they requested that I do the holiday cards for the following year.
What started out as a fun pastime for me soon became a sale. My advice to aspiring calligraphers? You should offer your skills to everyone: friends, family, and coworkers. That way you can show off what you can do and jobs will eventually come your way. My first paid gig was personalizing bridal champagne glasses. A former coworker was going to a wedding and asked me to make custom champagne glasses for the wedding party. It was amazing getting paid for the first time. I got excited and thought this could really work.
Connections and outreach mean everything in the beginning. The start may be small but your business will eventually grow. You could create a card for a friend, whom will show it off to their family, then they will ask for your services for their next occasion. Even the smallest thing of mentioning that you learned a new skill during an event can really expand your bio and market.
My favourite project from 2018 was a mirror seating chart I did for my best friend’s sister. She was getting married and it was my first time doing something so big. After I finished it, I have never been so proud of myself. I had mutual friends whom went to the wedding and I got so excited seeing my mirror on their social media.
Tip: take a look at Sylvia’s post on how to make them, she makes it so much easier to do.
My advice to anyone wondering what their next step is is to be patient and keep working on your craft. I cannot tell you what my projects will be in 2019 but I'm staying hopeful. Keep making connections and creating. Create your business card. Create your website. Join groups in your community. Establish goals for yourself for the year, even something as small as getting 100 followers or selling something to a complete stranger. Show off your work. Eventually someone will reach out to you. Make gifts for all occasions. Not only does it save you money and create a personal touch, you get your work out there. People will see what you can do.
Create your business. Create your vision. Create your world.
You can find Jane Kuhn of JK Calligraphy at @janemadethis on Instagram
Looking to get creative and start your own adventures in art?
Check out my latest Calligraphy Classes in Toronto. If you're already well into your art journey, learn more about my online course The Badass Brand Academy, Breakthrough self doubt and turn your hobby into a high-end business.