I am looking forward to teaching the next Introduction to Brush Lettering workshop later this month! I always tell my students that I love working with a brush because it's a little more versatile than the pointed pen (which consists of a nib and pen holder) and I use it for a more fluid, casual look. Though the brush technique is based on the thicks and thins of creating letters with a nib, the bristles allows you to write on a variety of different surfaces with all kinds of inks and paints (whether it's on a rock, marble, chalkboard, sign, or any kind of non-paper surface, it's my go-to tool)! Also, it doesn't get more therapeutic than queuing up a favorite playlist, pulling out the ink and brush, and writing.
Interested in learning? This class will cover beginning brush calligraphy techniques, exploring everything from how to hold the brush, create and shape letters, put together words and phrases to personalizing your style. In this interactive and hands on workshop, there’s time for instruction and practice and attendees will receive a curated starter kit with my favorite brush lettering materials. I'll be at City Home in SE Portland on June 24th—spots are going fast and I would love to have you join!
Introducing May Mix Tape, and all the songs that have been keeping me company while I've been working on logo designs, getting ink on paper, and—let's face it—taming my email inbox. Featuring a few new favorites (Chance the Rapper and James Vincent McMorrow, anyone?) and a few longtime loves (here's looking at you, Lauryn Hill), I'm not tired of any of these yet. I hope this playlist keeps you company and provides a little workday inspiration. And though there is a lettering playlist in the works, these songs will most likely be making an appearance at my next Intro to Modern Calligraphy Workshop. A good combination of calm and upbeat melodies are the best accompaniment to writing beautiful words and working with the pointed brush or pen, in my opinion. Happy listening!
You have probably heard the phrase work smarter, not harder. While it certainly takes hard work to build an online business, there’s a lot of truth in the saying. In the early days of being my own boss, I had yet to discover the importance of systems. I was still figuring out all the things and reinventing the wheel each time an inquiry landed in my inbox. My lack of systems cost a time and energy. Out of necessity (and as my business grew), I began experimenting with platforms to help streamline my workflow. I wanted a wow-worthy client experience, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Through a lot of trial and error (and experimenting with countless programs), I’ve landed on some wonderful platforms that allow me to create exceptional client experiences and focus on the work that I love.
Honeybook (client management system)
I have been using Honeybook for the past couple of years and it has helped to transform and grow my business. I’d call it the workhorse of client management systems (plus contracts and invoices) and there’s not a lot it can’t do. Gone are the days of invoicing from one program, sending over contracts as an email attachment, and trying to keep track of client leads. Honeybook allows you to create workflow systems, task lists, and embed a contact form onto your website. And the icing on the cake? It's a cinch for clients to use. Which is a win/win in my book!
Start here to get 50% off your first year of Honeybook
(This is an affiliate link. I'm sharing because I truly believe in this platform.)
Ever get tired of the back and forth of setting up calls and appointments?Yes, there's a better way. Being a creative business owner often means a full calendar and client’s have their own busy schedules to navigate as well. Now with Calendly, I simply block out windows of times for meetings and allow clients to select the time that best suits their schedule. Voilà! Scheduling made so much easier.
Quickbooks and Mint have been a lifesaver. I used to dread bookkeeping and taxes. And I’ll let you guess what that says about how I was managing receipts. Let’s just say there was a lot to be desired. A few years in, I was determined to carve out healthier financial work/life systems and these two programs have been the the foundation. I can submit receipts and review transactions, view spending by category, and see a running total of tax estimations. And nothing feels better than being able to write that quarterly tax check knowing that I’m on track. When a new quarter rolls around, there’s less scrambling and more peace of mind. Now that’s something I’ll toast to!
Planoly (social media planning)
As a creative, I've spent more time than I care to admit planning out Instagram posts and curating a cohesive grid. There’s really no getting around it, right? But since it’s part of the job description, Planoly has been a game changer. It’s a planning, scheduling, analytics tracking, grid planning all-in-one system. And it alleviates the stress that comes with managing social media. While it won’t write your captions for you (which is probably for the best), you can arrange your photos to get a glimpse of the visual grid, draft an accompanying caption, and schedule post times (though auto posting is only available for Instagram business users). Essentially, you can trade in your “winging it” approach for a savvy social media plan with this platform. Count me in!
Spotify (studio ambience)
This one probably goes without saying. Let's file this under mental health must haves as a creative online biz gal. Music changes everything and I think I might have a playlist for every aspect of my work day. While Spotify might not fall on the absolutely necessary list, I’d say it’s certainly essential for a lifegiving work day. I share a monthly playlist of songs I’ve been enjoying, which I’ve affectionately coined the Boss Lady Mixtape. Tune in here!
What are your favorite platforms and systems for your business? Feel free to tell me in the comments!
I can't wait to be back at Tendue in SE Portland for the next Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop. After the last workshop that I taught, I was thinking back to when I first starting learning calligraphy. My lines were wobbly and everything didn't come together immediately, but I really loved the process of putting ink to paper and making time for something creative. It was such a nice reprieve from the demands of the day and the screens contending for my time and attention. There weren't a lot of classes dedicated to the art of modern calligraphy at that time, so I scoured local art stores and brought home countless supplies until I found the ones I loved. When I began to see some beginner contemporary calligraphy classes pop up, I registered in a heartbeat.
This is the class I wish I had when I was getting started and the reason I provide a curated set of my favorite modern calligraphy supplies for all of my students. When it's time to sit down and learn something new, I don't want there to be barriers to doing just that. I always tell my students to make it a process you love. Maybe it means clearing the dining room table after dinner, pouring a glass of wine, and breaking out your calligraphy supplies. Maybe you cue up the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack (Jean-Yves Thibaudet created something magical with that one), Louis Armstrong, or some hip hop favorites. Whatever it is, if you want to create a practice you'll return to, make the process enjoyable. For me, it often means keeping the nibs, pens, ink, and paper accessible so it's not an obstacle to getting started.
Have you been interested in learning calligraphy but haven't been sure of where to start? I'll be back at Tendue on Mother's Day weekend and if you're wanting to take your mom out, treat yourself, or learn pointed pen calligraphy just because, I'd love to share the art of modern calligraphy with you! This class is perfect for beginners with little to no calligraphy experience. The class is already halfway sold out, so snag a seat here before it's full. If you're not yet on the mailing list, you can join below.
Since I spend a lot of time penning women's words, many that I admire, I thought I'd kick off a series of Words & Faces. April is Maya Angelou's birth month (April 4, 1928 to be exact), so before we slip into May, I wanted to honor this woman and her influential work. Early this morning, I poured a cup of tea and pulled out my calligraphy supplies to write out my quote of choice in brush lettering.
I'd love to know, what women do you look up to? Who would you like to see featured?
Your brand is not just your logo. And it's not your social media, either.
Everyone is talking about brand. Having a personal brand, having a consistent brand, how a strong brand presence makes a powerful and lasting impression. But if we want to get to the foundation, what is brand? And if your logo is not your brand, what exactly is it?
When you think of brand you might picture color palette, typography, and consistent visuals. Maybe your mission statement, your business cards, or website might comes to mind. While each one of those can fall under the umbrella of branding, it’s so much more than those individual elements.
Seth Godin distills the meaning of the word brand really well (he would, right?!): “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” So while it does include the elements we talked about, it goes beyond just the logo or colors to encompass the impression that your business builds in the minds of your customers and clients.
Brands that do this well convey an undeniable sense of who they are, what they offer, and why.
When you think of a brand that you love, what comes to mind? Picture your favorite shop or product (I often think of Anthropologie). Imagine walking into the space, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells. If you're thinking of a product, what is it like to unwrap the packaging and hold the item in your hands? What are the textures and colors? What feelings and sensations does it evoke in you?
You cannot help but get caught up in the experience when a brand does this well. There’s an undeniable draw to being a part of the brand and what they are doing. It creates an emotional response. It’s memorable.
That’s what you want to capture in a brand.
That experience builds brand recognition and trust. While visuals are a huge component of a brand, beautiful visuals need a backbone. They need to be conveying the underlying values, purpose, and meaning of your brand. The best brands have beautiful and compelling visuals that convey the deeper intention and purpose of the brand.
And this is why so much of the branding process is spent defining who you are, what you offer, and why. Your brand visuals are a bridge, a way to connect the who, what, and why in a memorable way, sparking an emotional response in your ideal audience. The best brands do this well, attracting and connecting with the right audience.
If you want to have a strong brand presence, spend some time defining who you are, what you do, and why. That clarity will catch on and translate your passion to your brand audience. If you’re wanting to create some clarity around these very things, download the free Brand Clarity Guide. I'd love for this to be a helpful resource as you continue to build a successful and clarified brand.
I’m so excited to reveal the rebrand for this Austin-based hair and makeup brand. Dash and Jen reached out and let me know they were ready to uplevel their brand presence to beautifully compliment their work. Their mantra? A lavish beauty experience through
I'm kicking off the launch of my new website with a monthly playlist. I've been inspired by (and grateful for) others sharing playlists of their own—here's looking at you, Rachel Loewen. These are the songs that have been on repeat in my studio. At this rate, I'll be dying for something new days before May rolls around (because I fall into the #favoritesongsonrepeat camp). But, really, what better way to spread some love than in the form of a modern mix tape? So this digital mix tape is for you. Happy listening!