For this Guides for Brides I caught up with Kecia from Well Lettered, who I met through a wedding we were both vendors for. She creates beautiful hand written calligraphy for weddings and events – an art that I am in awe of being my own handwriting is shocking 😉
How long have you been in business?
I have been doing calligraphy to different degrees (on and off) since I was 19. This is over 20 years. I taught myself and also worked for a sign-writer for a while in my 20’s. But I only just started my own business in 2013. So only about a year and a half. I started out with a little ad on Gumtree just doing things like writing names on invitations, place cards and envelopes. And now I do wedding signs and create digital images as well. A recent job I did included 4 small signs, I large blackboard welcome sign, a seating chart for 185 people on a blackboard, table place cards, table numbers, plus I produced the menu in handwritten calligraphy and a computer font made into a digital image to send to the printer and make 185 copies. I am happy to keep learning to do new things
What makes your business different?
I really like to make things that are custom made to the client. Specialising in handwritten and hand done things makes everything unique and one-off. I usually ask my client for anything she has done so far for the wedding (invitations, colour schemes etc) so I get a good idea of the style and taste she will like.
I am always looking for more inspiration to keep things fresh and on-trend.
I am fortunate that I have a fairly steady hand, an eye for detail and can do a lot of things completely free-hand. I like my work to look creative and spontaneous like a “live” person has done it rather than a machine.
I can also frame signs at a fairly reasonable price as I have a family member who is a picture framer (and he is teaching me to do that as well).
I can create digital images from my work as well but it always starts out as something original. No-one else will have the same thing.
What trends do you think are going to be big in 2015?
For weddings (invitations/stationery etc) – loose, whimsical calligraphy styles, watercolour, floral patterns, white on kraft paper, mandala-type designs.
Wedding (signs, seating charts etc) – I think the rustic, handmade styles will still be popular for a while. Blackboards are still going strong and may eventually fade out, but nice wood surfaces will also look good, nice old, rustic frames. Big, bold, ornamental frames. Also names/signs on mirror and glass surfaces are kind of popular.
What is your favourite thing to create?
I still like to do blackboards. I mostly use chalk marker rather than actual chalk (which is dusty and smudges). I prefer the blackboard to be really black (not dusty grey) and the chalk marker to be crisp and bold (rather than dull and sketchy).
When it comes to fonts I have my basic styles which tend to be neat, cursive to loose, whimsical styles. But I am happy to copy other fonts as well. I can also copy icons and symbols such as the Facebook or Instagram icons if the client wants to remind their guests to share images (usually also giving a hashtag to use). I have been teaching myself floral patterns and love to make the sign pretty with patterns, flowers, wreaths etc.
What do you love about your business?
As a lot of my work is for weddings I love to contribute to that special day. I know some people put a lot of time and effort into getting everything just right and I want my work to be just what they want too.
What do you find challenging?
Sometimes – new things. You often have to learn as you go and that can be both nerve-wracking and exciting – especially when there are deadlines! At the moment I’m working on watercolour which is coming along nicely. I like the challenge of trying new things. I am also learning computer graphics skills as I go too. I tend to lean towards old-school stuff (handwritten etc) but at the same time I do want to move with the times and be able to create more digital images too – even incorporating stuff like watercolour, sketches and photo images.
Knowing if the client is 100% happy. I am always my own worst critic. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and want what I am doing to be perfect for the client. So I may think I’ve done a pretty good job but until the client sees and says she loves it I am not really totally happy. Getting feedback is important to me as I do a job for someone else, not for myself.
Thanks so much to Kecia for sharing her story, be sure to click through to Louisa + Ryan’s wedding to see more of Kecia’s handiwork.