I get asked a lot about the beginning of Michaela McBride Calligraphy (MMC), and I thought what better place to share this than here! I hope this may inspire or encourage you in some way to take a leap of faith creatively, or step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in a new way!
A little insight
I got married at the beginning of 2015 and like a lot of brides, fell in love with calligraphy! Not only did I love the look of it, but I was also fascinated with the process. I’ve always been a creative person, I spent my school years in the art room - drawing, painting and taking photos! I spent my childhood entering colouring in competitions (a lot of which I won, not joke!) and my later childhood years hand-making cards and selling them around the neighbourhood! That to say, crafting and creating has been the one thing which has really come naturally to me.
After school I toyed with the idea of studying design and then went in a different direction and studied Communications/TV Production. Following that, I took a Production job making documentaries and then moved to a comedy show (Jono and Ben - for those of you in NZ). The role was fast paced, exciting and I was apart of a great team — but the hours were draining and I still wasn’t being fulfilled creatively! Over this time, my now husband and I were doing long distance and we decided that the wedding was the final straw and that I’d make the move to where he was (a much smaller city - Mount Maunganui).
Let me tell you, as an independent person, the idea of leaving a perfectly good job to move to a smaller city where there was zero TV opportunities was terrifying! I think people thought I was little crazy — the things we do for love! But, if I’d never taken that leap of faith, MMC wouldn’t have existed. I’m so grateful we took that crazy risk!
The Beginning of MMC
I had done a few hand lettered pieces for our wedding and decided to order some calligraphy supplies and teach myself! I found a Youtube video with basic instructions on how to use a calligraphy pen, and then made it my goal to practise daily! I also made an Instagram page at that time, which grew steadily and in turn resulted in some requests for calligraphy. My husband was the biggest advocate of MMC and encouraged me to consider it as a business prior to this (I of course was sceptical, typical me!), but I truly believe his unwavering support is the reason MMC has been able to flourish the way it has!
I took every opportunity in those beginning stages - creating pieces for no reason except to create content, and supplying calligraphy (free of charge) for styled shoots and editorials to help gain traction. As I didn’t have a full time job at the time, the freedom (and lack of income) was a huge encouragement to make something out of MMC! I didn’t earn very much that year which was hard (for me specifically as I felt I wasn’t pulling my weight with the bills/expenses), but we could see there was potential for growth and felt it was worth pursuing. As I developed my style and became more familiar with suppliers and materials, the job inquiries increased and I was able to work with real couples, both within New Zealand and overseas! I’ve always been a huge lover of finely created details and this amazing thing I’m lucky enough to call my job, really sets my heart on fire! It’s so nice to find something genuinely fulfilling!
I don’t believe success happens overnight but is a result of consistent hard work and a genuine love for what you do. We live in a generation where learning is as easy as a Google (or Youtube) search. I’m not specifically trained in calligraphy, or design, or using any of the programs I now use on a daily basis (PS, AI, IND, LR), but I had a passion to learn them and was willing to put the time into figuring it out. I encourage you, friend - if theres something you’ve been dreaming of doing, invest some time and see where it may lead…you might be surprised!
Having a small business has also been a huge investment of time into other areas (business owners wear many, many hats I’ve learnt!). Managing clients, admin, finances (invoicing, quoting, accounts), developing websites, shipping, ordering, dealing with suppliers…the list goes on, which is also a big learning curve for anyone starting their first business! But it has been incredibly rewarding in many ways - there are a lot of perks to working for yourself! No. 1, getting to choose your work and create things that mean something to you.
I’d love to know any thoughts or questions (or your experiences!) in the ‘Comments’ section below. If theres something else you’d like to know about/see in a blog post, let me know. Michaela x