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Calligraphy Business Idea

If you have an artistic flair for fine writing and penmanship, why not consider starting a calligraphy business?

Working with your clients you’ll develop beautiful, handwritten works of art ranging from letterhead and stationary to paintings and sculptures.

There are about as many Calligraphy styles (hands) as there are Calligraphers. Find existing styles you’re good at while developing some of your own.

As is the case with most arts, practice is the key to this craft. With practice you’ll not only get better, you’ll also be able to complete your projects more quickly. Focus your sales efforts in areas where calligraphy is in high demand: weddings, graduations, festivals, etc.

Differentiate yourself by expanding your works to include techniques such as gold leaf, embossing and engraving.

When prospecting for new clients, send a letter of introduction, with a sample of an invitation or addressed envelope you have done. Your price list should include:

  • Prices for hand-lettering the items which will be reproduced by the printer or engraver
    • The invitation
    • The response card
    • The reply envelope
    • Any directions-to card
    • Any other component to be included with the invitation
    • The dinner menu for the event
  • Prices for hand-addressing
    • The outer envelope to the recipient
    • The inner envelope with the parties’ names which contains the entire invitation package
    • Place cards
  • Prices for assembling, applying postage, and mailing (be sure to take into consideration you may have to lay tissue between the various components of the invitation, and this can be very time consuming)

Running Your Calligraphy Business

Using a scrapbook for a portfolio, make up a few invitations on fine papers so that you will have calligraphy examples to show potential buyers. Affix the invitations to the pages with nice photo corners, and arrange them neatly so that your portfolio looks professional.

Do not put prices in your scrapbook, as you may need to adjust them from time to time. Simply keep the price list inside the book, and be sure to have a calendar handy for the current year and next year.

Before you begin to do work for someone, get a calligraphy business agreement in writing. Party planning can be very stressful for people, and the more professional you are, the easier it will be to deal with a worried host or hostess.

The agreement should include the total number of everything you are to provide, the final dates you are to provide each portion, and the final cost. If the job includes addressing invitations or making place cards, the contract should specify a number of extras so that if you make a mistake, you will have enough matching stock to finish the job.

To protect your calligraphy business, you should ask for at least 50% down payment for each component, and have the person responsible for payment sign the agreement. Get final payment before turning over any the components.

Be sure to draw up your contracts to include sales tax, if your state requires you to collect it on your services. (Check with your Department of Revenue as to obtaining a seller’s permit, and find out how often you will have to turn in sales tax you collect.)

If you are assembling and mailing, you will have to be certain anything that is to be pre-printed is in your hands in plenty of time to get together and in the mail by the date the host specifies. So look at the calendar and be sure there will time enough to get everything done.

It is wise to either ask the buyer to provide the stamps, or calculate the postage and ask the buyer for a check so that you can purchase stamps yourself; that way, you are not putting up your own money.

Have the post office weigh an assembled invitation so that the amount you ask for is accurate, and so that the host does not have any returned for insufficient postage.

Other Calligraphy Business Ideas

In between invitation projects, you can create works of art to market to gift stores. Make up samples of framed inspirational quotes, poems, signs with first names, and the like. Ask a store to display them, with a sign indicating that they can be custom ordered. Work out an arrangement with the owner as to how you both can make a good profit, and decide on a lead-time you will need in order to get the work done.

If you are furnishing the items framed, take into account the extra time to have that done (and the expense, as well.) It may be best to charge by the letter for these types of items, with framing being additional. Ask the retailer to collect 50% of your fee on any orders received.

You won’t have to pound the pavement in order to market your products; just find a few appropriate outlets for it, and the orders will follow! As your calligraphy business grows, you may want to consider teaching your own calligraphy classes.

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