Bottled Feelings - The Exhibition

This is the 5th year Love Lettering has been in business, as as the owner, creative director, and artist behind every piece of work that comes out of the studio, I cannot say how proud and grateful I am to have had so many of you include me in your most special moments in your lives, trust me with branding your company and come to my workshops and watched my videos to learn from me. Every moment I get to letter and share what I know makes me feel truly thankful. Along with being our 5th year in business, I’ve turned 40 years old. Now when I was young I thought that 40 was ancient, I thought at 40, one should have everything figured out, however I realized that growth, progress and transformation every year is required for me to feel fulfilled. I think it comes from being creative, I accept that I have a passion for lettering and will continue to strive to see how else I can use that passion to open new doors and pursue new adventures… and thats where this exhibit comes in.

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Our FIRST Gallery Show…

Bottled feelings stems from a feeling in my heart from a young age…”I know I’m meant to do more”… back then I didn’t know what that MORE was, and I never told a soul what I felt for the fear that I could never produce that MORE that I spoke of. Telling people you are meant to DO more, requires you to actually DO it, and did I have the guts to follow through? Did I have the talent, drive, persistence, to create the more I felt?

I thought when I created Love Lettering, that was the more. I thought that when I released the book, perhaps that was the more. I realized I still feel like there is more in me to give and show the world with the love of hand lettering and what I can do with it.

It also our first Kickstarter campaign…! I decided to pursue this route because Kickstarter is a creative crowd funding platform that supports artists and new ideas. Backers on this platform want to see and support new products and exhibits that are innovative and I wanted to see if this concept and exhibit would be well received.

You can be a part of my first exhibition experience in so many ways, some don’t even involve money:

  1. Take a look at my Kickstarter campaign and support if you can! I have some great rewards and a video that describes my idea and concept in full.

  2. Submit your own “Bottled Feeling” this is a totally collaborative exhibit where I will take the submitted feelings and hand letter them onto glass bottles… will yours make the show? All entries will be anonymous.

  3. Share my story and my campaign! The more people that hear about it, the more likely I will receive the funding to create this exhibit, so if this is something you want to see happen, please share.

  4. If the project is funded, please visit the exhibition! It will be free admission for all guests.

Am I scared? Absolutely. Will I fail? Its very possible. Do I kind of want to vomit? Yes, I do.

Does it mean I won’t pursue it? Hard NO. All the outcomes and feelings I have will never compare to the regret I will feel if I never tried to show the world (or at least Toronto) what is possible when I combine our bottled feelings with the art of lettering. Come take this journey with me. Thanks for reading!

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Finally a PRICING GUIDE now EXISTS!

So, you want to start a lettering business …

Love Lettering is celebrating its 5th year in business and we have learned a lot along the way, so much of it was trial and error, and figuring things out along the way.

What I always knew that I had was the love and passion of lettering, attention to detail and really good customer service skills as I worked in this industry for 20 years before I started the company. However the struggles that we encountered were always the NOT fun side of the business like creating a website, filing for a business licenses, trademarks, and accounting… who likes accounting? Is it because accounting makes us analyze if we are ACTUALLY a sustainable business? Is it because accounting is going to tell us that we made NO money last year? I think that is one of the reasons businesses are successful and not, you have to KNOW your NUMBERS. And that starts with PRICING.

How do you even begin to start charging people?

In the beginning I always began with the approach that my skill and talent was worth way more than minimum wage. I mean, not everyone LOVED lettering as much as I did, not everyone graduated from OCADU in illustration, taught art/lettering abroad for 2 years right? That had to be worth SOMETHING in this creative world. Back then, there were actually not THAT many people lettering as a service and I did feel that there was something missing that I could offer, however, that being said it was really hard to know how much to charge for my services, and man did I make some major errors! See my examples below:

Undervaluing My Time…

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$20…….TWENTY DOLLARS for 13 of these table numbers! Can you BELIEVE it? Look at the details! How long did I spend on these pieces? I could not tell you but lets do some math here…. 20/13 is $1.54, and each one had to have taken me at least 15 minutes to create, so yes, I am pretty sure I did these for under $7/hour. Now I know I mentioned that I knew that my hourly rate should be more than minimum, but these 13 pieces were included in a WHOLE set of 10+ pieces, so the entire job itself was probably in the $700 range for these and many other pieces, so I figured HEY, I am making more on the other items and $700 for a job is so great doing what I LOVE but the business minded me today would not take anything less than $10/number for something as intricate as these.

Overlooking details that cost time and money…

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For weddings there are 2 items I would say every wedding could use, the Welcome Sign, and Seating Charts. These 2 items are 85% of my usual email inquiries! I thought at one point I could have a “general” price for ALL welcome signs, but I found out that this was NOT a good idea. Here is why:

Sizes of these Welcome Signs come in all different shapes and sizes! Obviously a bigger sign is going to require more time to complete.

Wording, the amount of words ON each piece will also dictate HOW long the sign will take to complete as well.

Illustrations, Monograms, Decorative Fonts these take much longer to draw/letter than your run of the mill freehand modern cursive, so of course these would need a surcharge for execution.

Surface Different surfaces have a different approach to how they are lettered, some are easier to clean and correct errors, some need more prep time before lettering. For example, chalkboard requires more time as there is time spent on sharpening chalk, or pencils while lettering, if I was lettering a 250 person seating chart this would take me much longer than a mirror that uses a paint marker with a continuous flow of ink.

So How Is The Guide Going to Help?

The above examples are only a FEW of the oopsies that happened throughout the beginning of our company and now there is a FANTASTIC pricing guide out now called the PANIC FREE PRICING guide created by Becca of the @happyevercrafter and Joanne of @indetailcreative that actually talks about SO many of the topics and situations that arise when you are just starting out your lettering business. The 98 page guide along with the video tutorials are so crystal clear about how to value your time and what the market price is for creative lettering in the industry as a beginner. I not only found it to be insightful to beginners, but to me! A gal that has been IN the industry for 5 years, wrote a book, and hosted workshops! As I always say there is SO much more to learn but we all start somewhere. With experience you will know when to increase your prices however this guide is perfect for the creative letterer that wants to start a side hustle, OR take their side hustle to a full time career.

What I found especially helpful was not only letting you know about how to price, but also what opportunities lettering can lead you as well! They talk about the wedding industry, commercial work, murals, hosting workshops, making gifts, and SO much more. Topics such as community over competition are brought up as well to show you how undercutting is like peeing in the pool, they may think its okay but they are also swimming in the same pool and making it dirty really isn’t good for anyone. Keep the prices standard, let the work/artist speak for themselves.

I believe if you actually go through this guide/course you will feel confident in pricing and providing quotes for your clients, the only thing left to do is DO GOOD WORK! If you do great work, and you are priced fair its a winning combination and your business will thrive.

The Panic Free Pricing Guide is money well spent as it may pay for itself after one use if a commission comes up and you know how to quote properly. I just know that this will save a lot of people a LOT of time and I felt like it was my duty as an artist and hand letterer to let people know what a great tool this guide is. How much would you pay for confidence when quoting? How much would you pay for peace of mind, knowing how much your skill is worth? I hope you find it helpful, I wish it existed when I started and I wish you all the best in your journey ahead!

Happy Lettering, xox Doris

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2018....Let's Wrap It Up!

The Lettering Lifestyle - 2018 Year End Review

It’s the last day of 2018 and if the quote “time flies when you are having fun” then the year sped by like a falcon. It seemed like it was just yesterday I was making plans for 2018, and now I am wrapping it up. There were clear hits and misses for my plans and some unexpected just projects popped into our studio and we made some major progress which is the only solid goal for me as a small business owner and lettering artist.

In 2017 I wrote a book so I figured it would be hard to surpass that momentous year but I took it in stride and created new cliffs for me to jump off of, scaring the wits out of myself at times but in the end, look at me… still here alive and well… doing things that scare me is also a MUST-DO every year. Here is what I’ve been up to for 2018!


Let’s Talk Numbers !

Commissions and Signage:

  • Worked with 94 Brides & Grooms

  • Welcome Signs 60

  • Seating Charts 46

  • Other Signage, Desserts/Bar Menus/Programs/Love Stories 119

Our most sought after pieces are definitely the Welcome signage and seating charts, these 2 pieces are the most important parts of the wedding as they greet the guests and also lets them know where they are sitting. I believe our meticulous planning and artistic composition and design allows us to work with more and more beautiful couples every year.

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YouTube Channel - The Lettering Lifestyle

So I spoke about jumping off of cliffs earlier, and there is no higher cliff and nothing scarier than starting my YouTube channel… The Lettering Lifestyle . I knew I wanted to share more of my process and ideas of how to use lettering in my day to day life so I figured this channel would be another route to express my ideas and teach others as well. In total I created 4 videos that showed a variety of surfaces, styles and reasons why I letter. It was a big adjustment to speak and teach in front of a camera and I am so thankful to my team of videographers/editors Henjo Films and About Us Films for making me look and sound great. There shall be more to come for 2019, I am just waiting for the next perfect opportunity to show you how to letter on the next beautiful surface….

Teaching Workshops!

After years of people asking if I taught workshops, this year I finally wrapped my head around what I wanted to teach! There are many workshops out there when it comes to lettering and calligraphy already so what I really wanted was to bring a different element to my sessions… I realized what I wanted to teach was a frame of mind. I wanted my guests/students to learn about this lifestyle that I have lived all my life, one where every surface and item had unlimited creative possibilities if you only knew HOW to draw letters and what tools you needed to actually letter on them. I would like to say I don’t create workshops, but lettering experiences. I have had the pleasure of hosting my own workshop this year and working with others such as Joy Scout Learnshops and The Toronto Public Library as well.


Lettering All Around Town!

This year I made it a point to step out of the comforts of my studio and take in the opportunities outside of my tiny little space! Even with the YouTube videos and workshops, they were always in venues that were new to me so my senses were always heightened and I learned to teach/letter on the go, outside of my studio and with an audience at times! I had so many great opportunities lettering for awesome events some of my favourites includes the private clubhouse for the Toronto Blue Jays for their gala the Curveball, wonderful charities such as the Bibliogala for the Toronto Public Library, and the Boobyball. I also had my first book signing at Yorkdale Mall at the Chapters Indigo which was a great experience. I took opportunities to learn as well taking workshops with masters of lettering such as Lauren Hom and Paul Antonio, reiterating the fact that I love to add to my skill set and will continue to be a student in life and lettering. No matter how much you think you know, there is always more to learn.


Top 3 Personal Triumphs and Favourite Styled Shoots & Editorials

There really is so much to cover in one post but I wanted to share some moments I felt were triumphs this year, first up! Doubling my booth size at the One of a Kind Show…its been a long time coming, but this year I finally made the leap to a full size booth 10 x 10… this meant a whole redesign of my booth but also signified growth which always makes me happy. Second, I quietly reached 20K followers on Instagram, my favourite social media platform! I really credit Instagram a lot for my small and big victories, it allows me to share my passion and work in such a beautiful and accessible way and it will always be my special place to share! Third and most exciting, I actually worked with Hallmark…yes that HALLMARK on a calendar for 2020. Growing up Hallmark was hands down my favourite store in the mall, it was a paper lovers dream and the best place to find beautiful and unique items, so when they reached out to me, I had to really pinch myself! So more will be revealed when the calendar comes out, but here is a sneak peek of one of my favourite illustrations.

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And amongst all the above there are the wonderful styled shoots that I get to be a part of. Some end up on beautiful blogs such as Junebug Weddings and some land right in the middle of magazines such as Mingle Magazine’ Autumn edition and The Bridal Affairs inaugural edition. Here are some of my favourite styled shoot moments.

So you see we have had a great year and made some big moves, no doubt in 2019 we will charge on with our passion of creative lettering and calligraphy and we can’t wait to share them all with you! If you would like to know more about our upcoming workshops as well as receive news and lettered freebies don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list! Happy New Year & Happy Lettering….xoxo Doris

The Lettering Lifestyle | YouTube Channel is LIVE!!!

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Love Lettering is so proud to announce another chapter of our lettering journey by introducing our new YouTube channel, The Lettering Lifestyle . After the release of my book Extraordinary Hand Lettering I realized that I still had many more ideas to share, many more surfaces and typefaces I wanted to letter and more tools to discover, and so the idea of chronicling my lettering lifestyle came about!  It is on this channel where you will find mini videos of my lettering process, how I letter and transform things, what pens and tools I like to use and wonderful I will also showcase inspirational ideas about how to style with the lettered pieces you create.  Big and small, subscribe and follow along to learn all about how I live my Lettering Lifestyle. 

Watch our  FIRST tutorial  on our new channel on YouTube called The Lettering Lifestyle

Watch our FIRST tutorial on our new channel on YouTube called The Lettering Lifestyle

Big hugs and thank you to the amazing team behind this first shoot, they are a bunch of uber talented individuals & companies that come with talent and smile through it all:

Photography | Heidi Lau Photo  Videography | Henjo Films   Styling | Madison and Ella   Catering & Food | Hawley Crescent  Cake & Desserts | Cakelaine  Florals | Flower Treasures  Decor & Rentals | Southern Charm Vintage Rentals  Models & Menswear | Tytan  Shoot Venue | The Alley Scarborough  Hair | Puzzle Creations

We've Been Featured on Tiffany Pratt's Favourite Things Christmas List!

There are some people you meet once and you know that they are just made to make... if you see Tiffany Pratt walking down the street your eyes would tell you... there goes an artist!  But what you don't see is her amazing ability to bring out the best in people with her kind words and selfless and random acts of kindness.  I have had multiple meet ups and run ins with this unicorn of the design world and each time I leave feeling happier, more creative and just loved.  If you don't know her you must follow her Instagram feed to get your daily dose of colour and creativity now!

https://www.instagram.com/thetiffanypratt/

So when someone I admire so very much includes me on her FAVOURITE Christmas things I practically passed out!  Thank you Tiffany for including our book and our artist pin on this wonderful list of artists, authors, and makers!

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Find her whole list of wondrous things in the link below:

http://www.tiffanypratt.com/x-mas-gift-guide/

Extraordinary Hand Lettering has arrived....!

On November 7th, 2017 my book Extraordinary Hand Lettering was finally released, and with that was an overwhelming amount of gratitude and tears for all the people who opened their arms and hearts to my first book.  

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Its really hard to imagine that 3 years ago, I was in quite a dark and stormy time in my life, Melody was almost 3 and in that moment I thought that I would try, try, try to live my life authentically by dedicating my life to 2 things that I would never regret or let me down, being a full time mom, and a full time artist/business.  Making that decision would be lead me to the most creative and amazing years of my life so far.  It has been hard, I have learned a lot, I have met some incredible people along the way, and now I have become an author.

I hope that this book will be loved for its beauty along with its inspiration, I always design and create things for myself if mind, in this case I had to view it from the maker side, and the reader side, so I hope I have fulfilled my task.  Below you will find a video by the amazing HenjoFilms who shot this process video of one of our shoots from the book, it really captures how everything started and what I want the book to encompass... Hope you enjoy!

 

The making of this book was no small feat, and I cannot express HOW thankful I am to the amazing team that worked on this mountain of a project, it would not have been possible to achieve anything so lovely without the following creatives:

Head Stylist & Planner - Annie Tu from Madison and Ella

Photography - Janet Kwan from Janet Kwan Photography , Heidi Lau from Heidi Lau Photography, Katie Thompson from K.Thompson Photography

Cakes & Desserts - Caitlin Elaine from Cakelaine

Videography - Henry & Joanie from HenjoFilms

Creative Styling Consultants - Kathie Barone from Southern Charm Vintage Rentals, Lorrie Everitt from Creative Bag

Florists - Jess McKewan from Periwinkle Flowers, Tellie Hunt from Hunt & Gather

Q & A Letterbox Interview

I always feel so lucky to be able to work in a creative field doing what I love... the best part really is the creative community that figures out ways to use my skills.  I really do think I am but a tool for others to use to execute their ideas, but I also get a thrill from creating them.  This month I am one of the featured vendors for Q & A Letterbox, a monthly subscription box for all stationery and snail mail lovers...!  Included was my envelope template that makes addressing envelopes easier by allowing lines to be drawn without measuring!  Their interview of the artist (moi =) ) is featured below, I spoke about how I started and where I am going.....!  Enjoy!

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Welcome

As the last of the warm days are amongst us, it reminds me that the year is almost wrapping up and it’s just a shame that I have not written more on the blog, but trust me I have been busy with the book, lettering, and life essentially.

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Year after year I promise myself that I would try to find balance between being a mom and wife and a business owner and entrepreneur, and I am boldly stating that I have NOT been successful in finding the happy medium…. and I cannot figure out why.

Is it because I am a workaholic and cannot say no? Am I not organized enough when it comes to allocating personal time to myself? Do I have too many ideas and want to fulfill all of them?  And if that is the case, WHY? What am I chasing? Sometimes I do feel burnt out but it doesn’t discourage me from waking up the next day and doing it again for another 18 hours.

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I love my life, everyday I feel so lucky to have a god given talent that I use to make people happy, make a living for myself, and also helps me make new friends! But turning this talent into a business has been more than meets the Instagram eye…it takes long hours, really good organization skills, being able to NOT procrastinate and it takes guts.

When you start a business, you have to leave your fear of being judged, lose your fear of meeting new people and telling people what you do. If you have the talent, the determination and fearlessness then all there is left to do is to TELL people what you are capable of and what you can offer… and what I have found is that people will find ways to put your talent to good use.

I have learned a lot of lessons along the way since the business opened in 2014 and I hope to always be a student of life… you will not find me stagnant, I hope to always be evolving and taking my lettering and the business to the next level…coming up is the release of my book, Extraordinary Hand Lettering, may it open more creative doors for me and the business, and from there the balancing act changes again!

Please follow my favourite social media channel, Instagram (@lovelettering_doriswai). Unlike my blog, I do post there regularly and I do unload a lot of tips and tricks about my lettering and thoughts.

Until the next post… Happy Lettering!