Making the switch from being a wedding calligrapher to a graphic designer/brand stylist was not an easy decision. I had many conversations with Zack, my fiance, about it. I was so torn because I love weddings and I have met so many wonderful people in the industry. However, ultimately I decided it was time for the switch and here's why.
Why it was easy:
1) I didn't have breathing room. I am currently reading a devotional by Sandra Stanley called Breathing Room. She talks about how we can be efficient but in turn get EXHAUSTED. And this was the biggest struggle for me in the wedding industry. And mostly because I also had a typical M-F 8am-5pm job. I would come home from my regular job after sitting in an hour of traffic, and then work again until it was time for bed (sometimes not having time to do routine things like eat or bathe). I had the fears of not mattering, disappointing my clients, friends, and family, and falling behind. So I stretched myself thin. The most liberating thing I have ever heard is "Don't trade your peace for progress." And it was enough to make me stop and evaluate if my progress was really worth my peace....spoil alert, it wasn't.
2) Being a calligrapher in the wedding industry is also a labor of love. Zack and my closest friends can confirm that. They spent countless nights helping me stuff, lick, wax seal, and stamp invitation suites upwards of 200 copies. When I was on my A game, I could knock out the assembly of an invite suite in about a week (while also working my full time job 8am-5pm). Roughly, I would guestimate a total of 120 hours of labor spent per client. I felt like I never had "down time" in the middle of the wedding season. I would go to work until 5pm and then come home and work again until I went to bed....leaving my fiance feeling unattended, and my patience and attention stretched thin.
3) One of Zack and I's goals is to move out West in 3-5 years. Making the switch is going to allow me to still keep my current clientele because I can work remotely and don't have a ton of products to ship across the states. Most of the work is digital.
Why it was hard:
1) I freaking love weddings. Over the past 4 years, I would say I have attended/worked at least 30-35 weddings. I have grown to love the schedule of the day and getting to see the brides (who had turned into friends) on the day we had talked about for so long. I loved seeing all of the details we discussed for 6+ months finally on display.
2) The demand. I am one of few calligraphers in the High Country area that has an established relationship with many local vendors. Therefore, I got good enough business. And what if the branding industry doesn't bring in the same amount of work? Ya, I've thought about it. Why didn't I just go full-time with my calligraphy business? Ya, I thought about that as well. This point in my life, I didn't feel like I had enough business to go full time in order to support myself.
So to wrap it all up:
Yes, I was so insanely blessed in my time in the wedding industry. This is where my name and business took off without me even trying. I learned so much about being an entrepreneur. I learned how to say "no" and to stick up for myself and my work. All these things are going to help me in my new venture as a graphic designer. And I fully believe that I will meet so many new people in this industry who will be mentors and teach me powerful lessons.
I am so excited about this switch and I am excited for where it takes me. Thank you to everyone who has been a past "client" of mine and for believing in me to work for the most important day of your life. I know you all by name and I treasure each and every one of you.
And don't worry, I will still be taking a limited amount of wedding inquiries :)