Monthly Recap | February

Well well March you snuck up on me startling me into totally panic/meltdown mode. Things are not so chill over here at the moment that is for sure. But for now it is time to look back and February, not to sit in the corner rocking to and fro whimpering about the fact that it is March al-bloody-ready.

SO. Feb feels like it was about 3 days long (I have a feeling all these monthly recaps are going to start with mild panic....) and it has been a bit of a funny one. It has been very busy but I have also been in a bit of a rut, mainly with Instagram - which I use as my main platform for saying HEY I'M HERE COME SEE ME - which is also part of the reason that there hasn't been a WIHL post this month because it was meant to be on Instagram. I am not sure what has happened but I haven't felt the urge to post stuff which I normally do, normally I LOVE Instagram (too much some might say). However I am now taking part in Meet The Maker for March so hopefully, that will give me a kick up the bum and get my back into the flow and that WIHL post will be coming soon.  

I taught a few workshops in Feb which were all lovely, I really do enjoy teaching - I get so excited about meeting people and sharing my love for calligraphy and seeing people realise that with the right tools, practise and patience that they can succeed at calligraphy. I also made a load more coloured inks and sold lots of starter kits.

The amazing shoot that I was a part of at the end of last year in Puzzlewood was published which you can see here...I absolutely loved this shoot and that silk background is honestly one of my favourite things ever. Along with that the first ever shoot I worked on, which you can see here, was published in Wedding Ideas magazine! Such a happy shock to have another shoot in print!

I have also been working on some exciting branding projects which I haven't done in a while so it is fun to get my graphic designer hat back on and get into the nitty gritty of logos, fonts and colours especially as now I can add little calligraphy touches into my logo design. 

I spent a day at London Zoo handwriting guest names on their invitations. This was one of my first ever calligraphy jobs last year so it was really fun to go back there and do it again - plus one of my close friends is a designer there so we got to go get boozy after. This month I also turned 29 (I know I look so youthful) and went and celebrated in Edinburgh with my nearest and dearests which was fabulous. I also got four piercings and chopped off the hair that I have been growing for ten years. So wild in my old age.

It's not been a bad month - but it has felt like a stressful month. I feel overwhelmed at the moment and slightly like I am drowning which is not overly pleasant. I feel like my to-do list is never ending and I don't have time to do anything other than work, but then when I am working I don't feel like I am being productive and getting as much as I should be, and need to be, getting done. And then all in all that makes me feel very exhausted. I don't like to complain about having too much to do because I am EXTREMELY grateful for the fact that I have this opportunity and the support to follow my dream. I am just tired and want to just get on top of things ya know? Also the time to relax and read a book would be nice. Real nice.

Anyway enough of that onwards and upwards I say. March how are you doing? This month promises to be very full - my schedule for work is already pretty much jam packed and I also have two wedding fairs, Chosen Wedding Fair this Sunday at Islington Town Hall and then Most Curious on the 18-19th March at Truman Brewery. I am scared but very excited to do them, my first ones! Eek! If you are heading along then please let me know I would love to meet you...and maybe you can bring me snacks? Ta ;) 

Here's to Spring!

L x

Shoot | Lake Como Elopement

I am so excited to share this AMAZING shoot with you today. I was so blown away to be asked to be a part of it, especially as it took place in one of my favourite places I have visited, the stunning Lake Como in Italy - I only wish I had insisted that the stationery was hand delivered so I could have been there myself. It was such a superstar team, stunning location and the couple are just out of this world beautiful! And of course, if you follow me on Instagram you'll know that the shoot was featured on my absolute favourite blog last week, Wedding Sparrow. So lots of excitement about all of that. You can check out the original feature here

The inspiration for the shoot was timeless Italian romance and the strong Italian colours of the venue, so we went with peachy watercolour tones. The background of the suite was done by hand and then scanned in and printed digitally with white calligraphy and a romantic hand illustration. The place settings we done by hand with white ink on a watercolour background. I absolutely adore how it all came together...and that watercolour background might be making its way on to some more work that I am planning....keep your eyes peeled!

As we all know I am a major Pinterest addict and it is where my love for calligraphy first started, I used to, and still do, gush over stunning styled photos of invitation suites and calligraphy and wish that one day I could have images that perfect. So when I receive images like the ones from this shoot it really blows my mind that it's my work looking that perfect...it really is a dream come true for me. I hope you like them too. 

Dream Team / Photography Celine Chhuon / Styling and Planning Scent of Orchid / Flowers Il Giardino Del Sogni / Hair Patricia Soper Make Up Artist / Make Up Mel Kinsman Make Up Artist / Dress Elizabeth Dye via Heart Aflutter Atelier / Headpiece and Veil Sibo Designs / Lingerie and Robe The Lace Atelier / Ring Myrtille Beck / Suit Area 2 Rezzonico / Silk Ribbon and Ring Box Orchidee De Soie / Stationery Oh Wonder Calligraphy / Wedding Cake Sweet Cupcakes The Cake Studio / Venue and Rental Villa Regina Toedolinda

2017 | Goals

My last post was about looking back over a brilliant year so it is only natural that today's is all about looking forward to an even better year! The last few weeks I have been working on my goals and ‘take over the world’ plan and I thought I would share some of these with you today…

Firstly I have started using The Daily Greatness Business Planner which so far seems to be an amazing tool for organisation and planning (seriously I love a planner) There are lots of easy sections for goals and business plans as well as expansion and social media plans and then the year is broken into 90 days and then weeks. So you start off with a year plan, then break it down into a 90-day plan and then down again into a weekly plan the aim being that your goals are more accomplishable when they are in bite sized pieces. I have started filling out the front section with my goals and plans and once I start back at work for the year, I will be using it weekly. I will report back with a review once I have done the first 90-day section. It is also undated so you can start it whenever but my mild OCD is really really happy I have it to start this week.

My word for the year is INTENTION. I want to live my life and run my business intentionally and with meaning. I really want to nail down on my branding, making Oh Wonder a recognisable and honest cohesive luxury brand. I really want to get to know who my ideal client is so I can put my mind and energy into finding them and delivering them their dream stationery. I also want to hit the organisation nail on the head and have all my systems and spreadsheets and workflows in place so I hopefully have less of my flappy stressed out hysterically crying moments (because honestly, they are giving me wrinkles).

I really enjoyed launching and designing The Collection this winter so before I exhibit at two (!!!!) fairs in March (The Chosen Fair in Islington and Most Curious at Truman Brewery) I am going to add three new designs. I have already started brainstorming and I am SO excited about expanding this little part of my business. 

Blogging as well is high up on my list of goals for 2017, I really want to extend this part of my website, as a Journalism graduate (say what you didn't know that?! Check out this post to learn a bit more about my journey!) I do really enjoy writing posts, but in 2016 I was not organised and scheduled so I dropped the ball (a lot) with my posts and that is NOT going to happen this year. I am currently working on a schedule and a list of topics that I want to cover. I really want this blog to be an honest, inspirational and informative place. If you have any thoughts on what you would like to see and read here then please do let me know - I would love readers input!

Teaching was a much bigger part of 2016 than I ever thought it would be. It turns out I love teaching people calligraphy and would happily teach workshops every week. Helping people to overcome the challenges that I had when I started learning is so rewarding and I honestly get such a kick out of it. I have also met some amazing talented people through workshops who I have then helped to set up businesses which is the best feeling, so 2017 will definitely be full of teaching. I have a brilliant opportunity coming up in May where I will be an Expert (lol) at The Handmade Fair in Warwickshire teaching calligraphy workshops so if you are in that area definitely come along to that! 

On a personal level, I would like to feel healthy in body and in mind. Since having a baby I have not felt quite at peace with my body so this year I would like to change that by exercising and eating healthily but not only to lose a few (a lot of) pounds but also so that my mind is working at it’s best and not having to slog through sugar lows. I have been reading Tara Mohr’s book Playing Big (again planned review when I have finished it!) and it has taught me to explore my ‘Inner Mentor’…and I am pretty sure my inner mentor doesn't binge on mars bars and kettle chips (unless she's hungover from the fancy bubbles she's been drinking in her hot tub).

I am also on the never-ending quest of balance, learning how to juggle being a mum and a business woman. Learning how to switch my brain off of work so I can really really indulge in the moments that I am so blessed to have with my gorgeous son without feeling the stresses of work. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to start up a business from home so I get to spend all this time with him while he is growing up I need to learn to make the most of that and that 99% of the time the work can wait.

So there we go here are some of my goals for the coming year, I am so excited and really ready to take this year, own and tick off all my goals! I already have a few exciting things in the pipeline that I really cannot wait to share with you all.

intention

2016 | A Recap

I honestly have to keep pinching myself that this year is over....HOW is this possible?! The last twelve months have flown by in a crazy blur (I swear having children makes time go faster - anyone agree?!) So today I am injecting a little nostalgia into the blog and recapping on the last year which has been full on amazing.

On January 4th 2016 Oh Wonder was launched to the world (aka my FB friends and personal Instagram followers) with a pokey little website and crappy photography, that I nearly drove myself crazy taking. I was terrified but so proud of myself for finally getting my act together and launching my little dream. Putting myself out there was the best decision that I made. A year later I have a website that isn't necessarily perfect and I am constantly tweaking things, but it is full of amazing images taken by brilliant photographers, products and services that I am so proud of and classes that I love teaching, I have nearly two thousand followers on Instagram (seriously this blows my mind every damn day), I am part of the most AMAZING communities, have made brilliant friends who I can ask any kind of question when I am stuck and know they will usually have an answer that I would never have thought of, I've helped people like me who have been too scared or nervous to follow their creative dreams and launch businesses (something I never thought would happen), I've had the pleasure to teach over fifty people calligraphy and taken part in 16 styled shoots (when my goal in Jan was to figure out how to take part in one!) some of which have been featured on the WORLDS biggest wedding blogs.

It's been insane. That's not to say that it's all been perfect, I am continuously fighting the battle of balancing my work and personal life which can leave me feeling burnt out and frustrated, and knowing how much work I can actually manage versus saying yes to everything (I am a people pleaser and everything always just sounds so exciting!!!) but gradually I am working it out. There will always be some days I don't get dressed or showered and the man in the post office looks at me like I am a total mess, but sometimes somethings got to give.

All in all it has been a beaut of a year for Oh Wonder and for me. I am mum to a beautiful toddler who makes me beam from ear to ear every day, I am surrounded by love and support and now I have a business that is beginning to be recognised within an industry I LOVE working in and I never feel like working is a chore...which to me means success (hopefully the piles of dolla bills, designer handbags and shoes will follow)

I have been and continue to be blown away by the support and kind words that I get from friends, family, strangers, clients, other suppliers, competitors, and what my sister calls my internet friends. You are all superstars and I honestly would not be where I am without you all. I hope you have enjoyed watching me grow over the last year and that you continue to enjoy the rest of my journey. I feel like this last year, whilst it feels like a novel already, is only the opening chapter in the story of Oh Wonder.

My five tips for starting your own calligraphy or stationery business
I definitely don't know it all, I am still a total newbie but here are my top five tips for anyone who wants to start up their own business.
Community over Competition...find your competitors and then make friends with them. Chances are they are very similar to you and you'll get on like a house on fire and be the best of friends. Bonus is you can help each other out of sticky situations, give a hand when the going gets tough and pass on work that you can't do to someone you know and trust.
Don't be scared, make the jump. Not everyone is going to love what you do, and at first that might make you sad (it definitely did for me) but you will find your niche and it will be full of lovely people who are perfect for you to work with and build relationships with. 
It doesn't all have to be perfect right away. When I first launched my logo wasn't perfect and my website was crappy but what mattered was that I had an online presence...I was a real business and person, not just some ghost. As I have done more shoots and work over the year and got to know more what my ideal clients and jobs are my website has evolved and will continue to do so. If I waited for it to be perfect before launching then it probably still wouldn't be out there.
Network. Find online communities and go to events...I am not a natural face to face networker - I prefer to be at home in my PJs talking to people on Instagram BUT it is essential to meet people, it will get you work and build your brand...plus once your there it's a lot more fun than you thought!
Be yourself. Personality is key, especially in the wedding industry, your clients have chosen you to be a part of the biggest day of their lives so let them see the person that they are letting be a part of that.