The new year is always a great time for reflection on the year gone by and the new one that's just beginning. Having spent much of the Christmas break with my mind filled with all of the projects that I’m looking forward to in 2019, it’s feeling really refreshing and calming to get started on all of my plans for the year now that I’ve had a couple of days back at work.
But first, deep breath, what a year 2018 was. I left my job at Sotheby’s that, for a long time, I had been sure would be the elusive ‘dream job’. But after a few years, there was a niggle in my mind that I wasn’t doing what I really loved and I felt that taking on a creative role was an itch that I really needed to scratch. Leaving the routine and the system of a 9-5 desk job felt a bit like jumping out a plane with a parachute that I wasn’t sure would open, but I also had a real feeling that it was now or never.
And what an incredible first six months I have had running ERA Calligraphy. I designed my business cards and delivered them like confetti to all of my friends and family, local businesses, industry colleagues, events professionals and anyone else whose hand I could get them into. I launched the first iteration of my website which has since undergone a few facelifts (and I’m sure there will be more procedures that it will endure over the coming months), I wrote a list of industry professionals that I wanted to work with and be associated with, and I made a habit of picking up the phone and starting conversations with new and interesting people that I dreamed of working with.
I built relationships with some incredible businesses and individuals, and worked on some dream jobs. From writing the placement and escort cards for the Sotheby’s Frieze week contemporary dinner, to meeting some of the gorgeous brides at the Suzanne Neville Designer Day at Miss Bush Bridal where I personalised some pretty prints with my calligraphy. In November I came together with Salvesen Graham, one of House & Garden’s top 100 interior designers for 2018, to collaborate on their Christmas pop-up at their Wandsworth showroom. And for Christmas, I collaborated with another ex-Sotheby’s colleague, Joanna Ling, who produced the beautiful delicate ceramic Christmas decorations that I had designed to personalise with calligraphy.
But now to 2019. Beginning this year as a small business owner and creative professional is filling me with so much excitement for the possibilities of the year ahead. I have big plans and goals for the year, but here are five that I hope you will notice coming into play over the coming months.
1. I want to introduce you to more of the aspects of my life that make me unique as a designer. Having studied Fine Art at Oxford University, and working at Sotheby’s before launching ERA Calligraphy, it’s probably quite clear that I love art and culture. I love making art but I also really love going to see it, so goal number 1 is to write about the exhibitions that I visit and culture that I choose to expose myself to, to show you how the art that I love influences my work as a calligrapher and stationery designer.
2. I want to show you more of my creative process and the work that I put in to each and every job that I work on, rather than just showing you the instagram perfect outcome of the finished work. So goal number 2 is to be less afraid of the imperfect, of the process and of the unfinished.
3. I’m not quite a social media hermit, but neither am I instagram queen, however I do really know the importance of a cohesive voice across my social media channels. So goal number 3 is that you come to recognise my voice both through my (more frequent!) instagram and blog posts as well as my actual voice (and face!) which I want to introduce to you through my instagram stories.
4. I have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic clients over the last six months, but I am really looking forward to focusing on growing my portfolio of wedding stationery over the coming year. Goal number 4 is to design and launch a range of customisable wedding stationery which I hope will offer more options to my bridal clients.
5. The challenge of being a creative and being your own boss is that it can feel hard to switch off and take time away from work without a huge amount of guilt coming with that free time. However to keep my batteries fully charged and to stay completely engaged with my business, goal number 5 is to not be too hard on myself when I take time out with family and friends before getting back to my studio to carry on with the work that I love.
I hope that you all have a wonderful 2019, and I’m looking forward to speaking to you soon about how we can work together in the coming year, get in touch here.