Guest Blog : The Cotswold Calligrapher
- What is your business called and where did the idea come from?
My business is called “The Cotswold Calligrapher” and was created after a spate of mental health illness. It was during my recovery, when I was feeling extremely creative - more so than ever before – that I decided to delve into the wonderful world of running my own Calligraphy business. It really did feel like the right thing to do and gave me the space to explore something I really enjoyed and found relaxing. I wanted a name that encapsulated what I do and where I come from and so The Cotswold Calligrapher was born! I suppose you could say – it does what it says on the tin! And who doesn’t love an alliteration?!
- How long has your business been running for?
About 2 years now.
- What is your background?
My background is quite diverse having studied and worked initially in Management with French and then completely changing paths to explore the world of SEN. I have a passion for working with people with learning disabilities and Autism. Communication is key I believe and so I took myself off to study Language and Communication Sciences, before falling ill shortly after. Historically, I have always been fascinated in words, writing and language and this soon developed into a love for Calligraphy. Growing up, I was always the one to send those handmade Christmas cards or to create homemade birthday wrapping paper. This crafty side of me has always been there, I just seem to have let the creature free more recently! And took a leap of faith into this wonderfully inspiring new world! I’m predominantly self-taught with a couple of online Calligraphy lessons here and there. I love exploring blogs and videos that teach me more and help towards my ever-expanding knowledge base.
- What sort of services/products do you offer?
I offer five different products at present with one exciting one in the pipeline. A lot of my products are bespoke and made to order.
Calligraphy commissions of many shapes and sizes are my bread and butter and prove very popular as 1st Anniversary presents or Housewarming gifts.
There are then my laser cut Ash Wood nursery signs which are so exciting to take out of their packaging and just hold the wooden Calligraphy in both hands before putting them up on the wall or door.
I also create bespoke doormats which are a bit of fun to jazz up that front or back door or as a Wedding gifts to the newly weds!
Luxury personal stationery is also proving popular as gifts for people or as a bit of a self-love kind of gift (we all need a lot of this right now!) – I can create anything from the “thank yous” to headed addressed notecards to the “with love and hugs”. Nothing quite says it like a posted handwritten note does.
I also create prints which is an ever expanding collection of classic quotes from the time that was.
- Which of these do you find most enjoyable to work on?
Ooo tricky one! Commissions have to up there in what I love the most. I just love the variety of pieces I create and how different they look when finished. Shapes, sizes, style, colour: it’s rare to have two pieces the same. Although Winnie The Pooh does prove very popular I have to admit. Who doesn’t love Pooh Bear and his wise old words!?
I have two dip pen styles at the moment to choose from and they give a different finished look. Willow has lots of horizontal flourishes and exaggerated lines, making it quite classic and whimsical. Meanwhile, Elm is more contemporary and slick. I love them both but ultimately it’s personal preference!
- What’s your favourite part of running your business?
Well, the calligraphy itself is definitely the cherry on the top. But working with and getting to know really interesting people along the way has been a wonderful part of the journey so far. I have calls from customers and suppliers and as well as calligraphy we often click on other levels too. I have also made some fantastic friends over this time, namely my partner in crime Jen from Inkscript Studio, a fellow Calligrapher. I have learnt so much from them all about myself as well as the intricacies of setting up a product business.
- How have you had to adapt your business to cope with Coronavirus?
Since coronavirus began, I have set up my Etsy account and now also sell on a wonderful online Maker’s platform called “Vigour and Skills”. It’s an permanent online marketplace where a handful of makers showcase their products. I feel very privileged to be a part of such an inspiring group of people. I also signed up to a few online fairs to ensure my presence online is there. Pivoting has been vital this past year, although I do miss the market fairs where you interact with people in person as I’m very much a people’s person but we are where we are!
- What’s the best feedback you’ve received from a customer
My customers are so kind and it’s just the best to receive feedback from them. I love hearing who your presents are for and where they end up – one lady said the notelets were for her 93 year old mum – what wonderful inspiration that she is still enjoying the written word! It’s hard to pick one piece of feedback to be honest but this is a lovely one I received just before Christmas:
“I have safely received my order of personalised notelets and I just wanted to say how beautiful they are and what an exquisite touch the handwritten note and tag you included were. I have already recommended your website to friends and family – calligraphy is an art form in and of itself, so congratulations for the care and beauty of your products.”
- Where are you based and how can people contact you?
I’m based on the edge of the North Cotswolds and people can contact me via phone (+447879 643050) or email on firstname.lastname@example.org