So there are pen pals, and then there are PEN PAAAALS. Ya know?
And unless you live (down) under a rock (you’ll see why this is funny in a second)… or you’re maybe just new to the lettering world, you know exactly who I’m referring to: my calligra-friend & Instagram pal, turned Letter Archive co-founder, turned real-life-Aussie-road-trip buddy, Emma Witte of Black Chalk Collective.
Now, here’s a little history for those of you who did fall into that (down) under rock-dweller category (see, it’s funny because she’s Australian)….
Emma and I met really early on in our respective lettering careers. We had both pretty much juuuust started lettering, and somehow I came across her on Instagram and (correctly) had a feeling we’d get along. So I sent her a message. Proof below.
Since that fateful message in 2016, Emma and I became good pals and have supported each other tremendously in our businesses. We have also collaborated on multiple projects together- the biggest of which was co-founding the Letter Archive initiative on Instagram, which we both attribute to a huge part of our own personal successes.
Over 2 years later, Emma and I still talk on the reg. And when I planned my world tour recently, a road-trip in Australia with her was a must. We finally met in real life, hung out for 2 weeks touring down the coast, and hosted lettering meet-ups to hang with our students. It was the best.
Seriously guys, that’s all it takes to reach out to someone. Emma and I discuss this in the interview as well, but let me just say this: if you’re new to lettering or calligraphy, reach out and make friends with your “so-called” competition. It will change the game for you, I promise.
- “The best thing we have is this [lettering] community. Don’t be afraid to talk to people, even outside your usual tribe, to network.”
So now that you’ve got a little understanding of our history, let’s get into the actual interview. When I decided to start this live Q&A series, interviewing Emma as my first guest was a no-brainer.
Feel free to skip straight to the video now, or read the recap below!
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Like many of us in the lettering community, Emma took to calligraphy as a way to amp-up her homemade (punny, rude & hilarious) greeting cards…and soon was obsessed with the art form. We’ve all been there- amirite? In fact, that’s how I started, too!
She turned to Instagram as a way to showcase her work and with the intention of putting out quality content, she was soon gaining followers and buzz. Emma has since quit her corporate job, taught countless in-person and online lettering workshops, created her an amaaazing magazine called Penultimate Magazine, run a free colour theory class called Paletiquette, AND most recently written a book called Brush Lettering from A to Z. So if that isn’t enough incentive to take her advice seriously, I honestly don’t know what is…
Now, if you’re just starting or are interested in running your own lettering business, this interview is worth its weight in GOLD (gold Sharpie paint pens, that is). Emma took all of the necessary steps to ensure that her business would be successful, and I think we can all agree that successful, she is.
The full interview is packed with so much of her amazing business/calligraphy knowledge but if you’re short on time, here are a few KEY takeaways.
- Use it to build an audience from the get-go by putting out a ton of quality, helpful content
- Engage with your followers and other people in the same niche. Reach out, and don’t be shy!
- Post the types of projects you WANT to do. Don’t want clients for wedding work? Don’t post wedding-related calligraphy. Simple!
- Do your research: reach out to fellow artists to find out what they are charging in your area – keep in mind that some people feel uncomfortable with this, so referring to a pricing guide (such as this one, wink wink) is a great place to start.
- Understand that low prices often lead to less than ideal clients.
NOW, there’s just too much to recap in one blog post (ain’t nobody got time for that), so if you want the insider tips/tricks (I’m talkin’ favourite pens, how to become a brand ambassador and how to know when you’re ready to go full-time, among others) be sure to check out the full interview here. Or scroll back up to that big play button above!
I really hope you enjoyed this interview, and make sure you’re subscribed to The Happy Ever Crafter TV to catch the rest in the series!
You can also join the Facebook group, where these Q&A’s are hosted LIVE, so you can submit your own questions for future guests!
See ya next week,