The art of calligraphy isn’t dead. It’s thriving!! Have you checked out Instagram lately? Type “Linda Yoshida” or “calligraphy” and you’ll see TONS of images just on beautiful calligraphy! If you’re a fan of script or custom handwritten artwork, you’ve come to the right post!
I’m proud to know Linda Yoshida, custom calligrapher, personally. She’s a savvy business owner who has taken her love of calligraphy (and typography and graphic design) to the next level – and made this art form into a business!
Learn more about Linda’s business and services and calligraphy in general with my Top 5 Questions with Bitchin’ Business…
Meet Linda Yoshida, Custom Calligrapher:
5. Calligraphy is a really niche business/industry. What have you taken from your past work/life experiences and applied it to your calligraphy business?
I’m a graphic designer by trade, so when it comes to calligraphy, I apply the same skillset to the projects I work on. It’s actually quite nice to be working in this analog way, using my hands to create letterforms with pencils, pens, brushes, and ink on paper, since most of my design work has been done digitally. As far as client relations go, it’s the same type of process where the initial concept, multiple reviews, and final delivery of product are concerned.
It’s somewhat true that calligraphy is a niche business – but I would say it has gotten so much attention and has become really popular in the last few years. When I first started learning calligraphy, there were only a handful of tutorial videos online, classes were only available through the local calligraphy guilds, and most calligraphy books you can find were at least 30 years old. Now with the whole DIY movement and focus on the uniqueness of everything handmade, there are so many tutorials on YouTube. You can find calligraphy classes at almost every major city, nearly every weekend. You can take a Skillshare class online. You can join the community of thousands of like-minded calligraphers on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and other social media sites. Anyone who is willing to commit themselves to spend time and energy to practice can do it! Unfortunately, there is no instant gratification on how to become skilled at calligraphy except practice, practice, and more practice.
4. For those who are thinking about going out on their own and setting their own business up, what was the trigger that made you push the button? (Ie. what was the thing that motivated you to start your own business)
I opened my online shop after much encouragement from friends and family. I had been taking classes for a while and naturally incorporated calligraphy into every form of correspondence – snail mail, invitations, birthday cards, holiday greetings, gift tags, anything I can write on! And in the current fast-paced world full of emails, texts and Evites, it’s really wonderful to receive a card or letter that has been addressed by hand. Everyone who received the correspondence loved them. The positive feedback really gave me the needed push to start the business.
One of the biggest inspirations for me was receiving a beautifully hand-calligraphed wedding invitation to friend’s wedding back in 1998. It really set the whole mood of the event and made it extra special. One thing I love the most about weddings is how much calligraphy can be integrated into the whole event, from the initial save-the-dates to the invitations, and the actual signage, menu, and seating cards on the day of the wedding. A hand-calligraphed seating card is just so much more special than something you type in a word-processing program and print on sticky labels!
3. What’s been a surprise learning as you grow your fan base, brand, customer base, etc? Has there been something you thought wouldn’t happen that did, or something that didn’t happen but you were expecting it to?
Thankfully, I haven’t experienced any unpleasant surprises so far – if anything, I am surprised to see how many people are doing calligraphy now than just a few years ago. Just look up the hashtags “calligraphy” or “lettering” on Tumblr and Instagram and there will be pages after pages of wonderful art to admire. And this is not just a U.S. phenomenon – it is worldwide. I am so surprised at the number of people who are fans of calligraphy and hand-lettering in general, and the number just keeps growing and growing. On Instagram, I went from a few hundred followers to over two thousand followers in a few months,and it has been a wonderful experience. I have made friends with fellow calligraphers in Germany, Austria, UK, Australia, Russia, and also Singapore, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. I love sharing with fellow calligraphers, and when someone tells me I’ve inspired them to pick up a calligraphy pen, it really is the best feeling in the world.
On the business side, I have been really lucky to work with clients who understand that calligraphy takes time, and they appreciate the artistry that goes into every calligraphed piece. Contrary to how flowing and fluid a script looks, calligraphy is not like handwriting at all – every stroke is done deliberately and carefully. And of course with pen and ink, there is no such thing as erasable ink, and there is no “Undo” button. I am really thankful to clients who send all the materials early and providing me with extra envelopes and cards. And seeing I am only doing this as a part-time gig, I really appreciate them giving me plenty of time.
2. What’s been your favorite project you’ve worked on?
I enjoy working with couples on their wedding calligraphy. I love that every wedding is different, and there is always some special elements that stand out. Some request classic black ink on white and some even ask for gold ink for added poshness! My favorite wedding project so far has to be addressing invitation envelopes for a New York couple who had a destination wedding this past May in Southern California. We ended up deciding on white ink on gray envelopes, using a casual script style that fit the style of their wedding. When I received the envelopes to calligraph, I was really impressed with the couple’s great style. White on gray sounds very classy and elegant, but they chose an envelope liner that was bright, colorful, and modern. With my script on the envelopes, it really tied everything together wonderfully.
Another one of my favorite projects is actually a personal one. On January 1st of this year, I decided to challenge myself to do calligraphy/lettering every day for a whole year after seeing a few others do it on Instagram. I figured since I already do it almost every day, it would be something fun to commit to. It has been a great experience so far. I can look back to day one and see how much I have progressed. It has been 212 days and I’ve posted something everyday in my Facebook album [https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.707721209253034.1073741835.610505432307946&type=1]. I have 153 more days to go!
1. Do you think you will move this into a FT endeavor and expand into other typography services? What is next for your business?
I would love to turn this endeavor into a fulltime gig, but in the near future – most likely not. But who knows what the future holds! I would love to collaborate with event planners, printers, stylists, photographers, and other creative types to bring even more attention to this beautiful artform.
We are not yet in the house-buying mode, but I’m commissioning Linda for a custom calligraphed stamp when we DO end up moving to a permanent home. Check this one out:
I know there are a lot of folks who are planning weddings, baby announcements, home moves, and so on. What is more special than something created just for you? You don’t have to settle for mass-produced “calligraphy” from a website.
Thank you, Linda, for taking the time to share your background, experience and advice to other aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs!
Readers – If you are so inclined, check out Linda on social media and follow her art!
- Facebook: Linda Yoshida Calligraphy
- Twitter: @lindayoshida
- Instagram: @lindayoshida
- Tumblr: @lindayoshida
- Website:Â http://lindayoshida.com/
Catch you in the next Bitchin’ Business profile!
Disclosure: I received no compensation for interviewing Linda; this is a bitchin’ business and I like spotlighting amazing women entrepreneurs. Obviously.
Cynthia Duarte (@kindasillymommy) says
I love calligraphy, I always wanted to learn from my Nina and it never happened. I wish I had the skill, I design wedding invitations and I wish I could include calligraphy services for the envelopes. I’ll just have to send them over to Linda. Great spotlight!
This is awesome! I also wish I kept at it in grade school. I am also looking for an address stamp! Now I know where to go…
Rachael F. (Glass of Win) says
I love calligraphy ~ I wish I had kept up with it when I was a child. Gorgeous art, Ms. Yoshida!