Hi everyone! Jenni here, the founder of Jenni Liandu Calligraphy, a Calligraphy and Creative Design Studio in Tayport, Scotland.
Today I’ll be sharing with you a glimpse into how I left my day job to be able to make my dream job a reality – jumping into full blown entrepreneurship!
Part of this story starts when I was ten years old. As far as I could remember, I have always wanted to do something creative, whether it was using pencils to sketch out fruit in a bowl, doodling on my journals in class, or creating decoupage cards with my Gran. When I was ten years old I started my first business making and selling decorated birthday and greeting cards to my family and friends and eventually on to local shops to sell to their customers. My parents were encouraging me at every turn and instilled in me a belief that anything is possible. I specifically remember standing in a local hardware store, picking out a tool box for my supplies while my Dad explained how to work out my costs, prices and profit margins.
My love of Geography and maps led me to doing an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and then straight into a Masters degree in Natural Disaster Response whilst planning my own wedding! After studying Typhoon Haiyan out in the Philippines, I started working for an international charity called Signpost International. Their projects and action against poverty helps thousands of families around the world and I was honoured to be a part of their team for four and a half years.
After the wedding in 2014, my husband Mo and I lived in a flat in Dundee which had a tiny room we used as a creative room, only big enough for two desks and two chairs that always backed into each other. This was not fun when trying to write or draw!
Mo is a musician and songwriter and to be honest, I was jealous of his creative outlet, so I decided to try calligraphy. I had seen beautiful examples online and watched countless videos on Facebook and I was hooked. After taking a beginner’s workshop in pointed pen calligraphy, I felt like it was something I could learn and develop. I posted my calligraphy on Instagram and started to receive requests for artwork and cards. It was not my intention to start a business, but the thrill of growing something on the side was so enticing.
And so Jenni Liandu Calligraphy was born. I am so grateful to have worked with wedding couples and planners all around the world and to have been published internationally. It was through this journey that I realised that many others wanted to learn and discover how to write calligraphy themselves. After starting to teach calligraphy at workshops around Scotland, I felt like I had found my calling and realised that I could no longer manage the juggle between the charity and the business. But I wasn’t going to quit my job without some detailed planning. Could we afford to lose my regular wage from the charity job? Would my business grow if I gave more time to it? And most of all, would I be lonely working from home after working alongside such a great team of colleagues at the charity?
I saved around three months worth of my charity wage as a rainy day fund as I knew this would help take the pressure off financially in those first months of being full time. In March 2019, I took the plunge and handed in my notice. On the 1st of April I officially became a full time entrepreneur and I haven’t looked back. My planning and hard work paid off, by the end of the first month, I managed to make more than my charity wage. By the end of May, I doubled it.
Don’t get me wrong, being an entrepreneur is not easy, and I have some days where this rollercoaster feels too much but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. Calligraphy has given me a great gift – it is my tool for relaxation and creativity. My love for learning and practicing calligraphy is the glue that holds my business together and I am so grateful to everyone who makes this dream a reality. My hope is that I can inspire you to pick up a calligraphy pen and give this relaxing art-form a try. You never know the effect it might have on you or what it might turn into.
Do you want to take the first jump and give calligraphy a try? Grab your beginner’s Calligraphy Box and join a community of budding calligraphers as we practice together from our homes all around the world.