I was first introduced to Little Flowers Calligraphy by one of my amazing clients. Fran, the talent behind the brand, had been comissioned to pen the bride and groom's names so that they could incorporate it onto their invitations. When I recieved the graphics from my client I couldn't stop smiling, there was no way the invitations could turn out poorly with such gorgeous calligraphy! I immediately contacted Fran to have her pen some additional items for me (some of which you saw here) and asked her if she would like to collaborate on a few pieces for the new collection. Her calligraphy graces the invitations of both Owen and Finn, and they are some of my most favorite suites in the 2011 Collection! Thank you Fran!
What prompted you to start your business? Was there a major turning point for you?
I actually put if off for a long time, and I regret that! I have always loved lettering, paper, and weddings, but it was hard to work at it regularly while my kids were young, so it wasn't until I was able to carve out a space in my home to work that I was able to really grow my hobby into a business. Early on, I was lettering quotes, Scripture verses, and poems and selling framed items at shows. After doing a few weddings for friends, I realized it was the right time to combine all my passions into a business, so now the bulk of my work is addressing envelopes and other wedding accessories.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I love reading random art, stationery, and wedding blogs whenever I can, and I love wedding magazines. It is also fun to browse the talent and variety on Etsy. For a while, I thought wedding invitations were getting into a bit of a rut, with everything looking the same. Now I am constantly seeing really exciting and unique designs coming from independent graphic designers and artists. It is especially exciting to see letterpress becoming more and more popular - I think it is a really beautiful art.
What is your favorite part about your job?
Helping brides or hostesses make their event special. Calligraphy is a bit of a luxury, and can't fit into everyone's budget, but it does add a really special touch. I get a real sense of joy when a customer is so excited about sending her invitations out, or with place cards that are just what she had in mind. But even if calligraphy isn't in the budget, there are so many ways to personalize event decor with all the beautiful colors of paper, ribbons, and embellishments available, without spending a fortune. My mantra to brides is "your wedding day is a very special day, but it is only one day, and not nearly as important as all the days that come after!" I don't think going into debt for a wedding is wise or necessary. Of course, telling potential customers this isn't a great business strategy, but I really do believe that a happy marriage is more important than an extravagant wedding day! I really love being able to continue to nurture my artistic side, and so far the calligraphy has allowed me to work from home, so I feel very blessed.
What is your typical process?
If I am working on a wedding request, it is simply a matter of sending samples and discussing the brides personal tastes and preferences, then doing the lettering when I get the materials. Calligraphy is much more than just writing, though, and there are so many variables in papers, inks, and pens, and it is important to use the best materials for each job. The letters in calligraphy are formed or drawn, rather than written in a continuous stroke, so it can be a slow process, especially if I am working with a more challenging paper or project.
Do you have an online shop or website?
I am extremely technologically challenged, but I did struggle through the process of creating my own website early on. I thought it was amazingly successful for my limited skills, but I was not able to deal with the shopping cart features, so while it was useful for displaying samples for potential customers, it was not a viable selling forum. Then I found Etsy, and that was a great solution for me! Opening a shop is fairly easy, but it does take more work to keep it up and promote it than most people realize when starting out. Etsy is my only online presence, but I am embarrassed to admit that I have not been able to handle the process of photographing and posting pictures of my items, so my shop is limited to what I can place on the scanner! I think Santa is bringing a new camera, and I will have my kids teach me, so one goal for the new year is to expand my shop. I also would love to start a blog, but know that I am too time crunched now to update regularly, so that is another goal for the coming year.
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from? What do you like to do? Etc.
I have been happily married for 28 years, and able to stay home while raising my 5 children. We had 4 children, and when I was 40, after many years of struggling with the decision to have another child, and hearing that clock tick, I became pregnant again, so there is a 13 year gap between my last two children, and my now 6 year old has been a huge blessing/adjustment! I also have 2 grandchildren now. We live in Ohio, and I keep very busy with my kids, my calligraphy work, and lots of volunteering.
What are two fun facts about yourself that others may not know?
That I have a secret desire to do my own wedding all over again!!! Mine was very simple, not at all sophisticated, and I didn't put much thought or effort into it. Weddings weren't the big business they are today, and while I think it has gotten out of hand to some extent, there are so many creative ideas and fun supplies. I would love to do it again with an emphasis on hostessing and catering to the guests - while staying in a tight budget, of course! Because of this desire, I practically highjacked my daughter's wedding a few years ago. Thankfully, I had a two year old, so I was limited, or else I really would have taken over! She was patient, and grateful for most of my creative involvement, but my other daughter has already told me to leave her wedding alone when it is her turn!
You can visit her Etsy shop HERE and Check out some of her fantastic styles below -
Which style is your favorite?