More Than Calligraphy
I absolutely love getting to know vendors in this industry. You always learn something new. Even when interviewing a dear friend, owner of Loose Leaf Creative, I discovered things I never would have known. It reminds me of the importance of personal connection and sharing your story with others. I love to hear what others are passionate about, and Kim Adams is nothing if not incredibly passionate. I hope you enjoy her insights as much as I did.
AEP: How did you get started with calligraphy?
Kim Adams: I've always had an interest in handwriting and penmanship. I'd change my handwriting style all the time (as evidenced by my collection of diaries and journals), and I was the girl who, after school, would go home and rewrite ALL my notes from class so they'd look nice. About five years ago I came across the Instagram account of a hand-lettering artist and thought it was fascinating. I thought, hey, I could do this! So I started doodling and teaching myself how to use a traditional pointed pen and ink. Eventually I shared my doodles and hand-lettered designs on Instagram and got a lot of positive feedback; people were actually interested in hiring me to create prints and hand-lettered quotes. I never thought I'd actually make money from doing something I love, but here we are!
AEP: How would you describe your personal brand?
KA: Free-spirited, bold, edgy. Not afraid to tell it like it is.
I used to think I had to be like every other wedding professional on social media, ooh-ing and aah-ing over all things wedding and writing superficial, fluffy captions. It felt really yucky and inauthentic, and I realized I just needed to do me. So much of my personal brand overlaps into Loose Leaf, and I'm grateful for that because it means I can connect with my ideal clients, speak my truth, and feel comfortable and confident in what I share.
AEP: Who is your ideal client?
KA: I love working with people who want to be different and break "the rules." When it comes to wedding stationery and day-of signage and paper goods, so much of what brides want comes from ideas found on Pinterest. There's nothing wrong with that, but I like when clients recognize that they don't have to use super formal language on their invitations. Or that they don't NEED to have a specifically-worded welcome sign.
Of course, it's always great working with someone who trusts my creative vision, but I always make sure their voice is heard, too, and that they feel comfortable providing honest feedback so we can ultimately create exactly what they want.
AEP: What have been some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?
KA: One of my favorites was lettering the lyrics to "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran on a large, 3-panel wooden sign for a bridal shower. The sign was so big and heavy that it had to stay in my garage, but it was in the springtime so I remember being able to enjoy the weather while working (and sipping on a good beer!).
I also love any project that is deeply personal for the client. For example, I had a client who reached out to me a year after her wedding, asking me to write out a poem her grandmother had written for her on her wedding day. She was going to frame it as a first anniversary gift for her husband.
AEP: If you had a client with endless funds, what is one thing you offer that you would suggest they splurge on?
KA: I've been obsessed with wax seals lately, and I love the idea of a custom monogrammed wax seal for their invitations. I'm also a sucker for handmade paper and letterpress, so either of those options (but preferably both).
AEP: What do you think is the biggest misconception about your industry?
KA: I know I speak for a lot of calligraphers when I say a HUGE misconception is that we can replicate any style a client likes. The truth is, there are so many different styles of calligraphy, from modern to very formal script. It's so important that anyone who is looking for a calligrapher do their research and see how that calligrapher's style compares to others.
Beyond calligraphy, I think a misconception in the wedding industry is that things can be turned around quickly. Whether you're a florist, a photographer, a wedding planner or stationery designer, a LOT goes into what we do, which is also why these services aren't always cheap.
AEP: What do you think sets you apart from other calligraphers?
KA: I think it's my practicality; I'm all about doing what makes the most sense, especially when it saves the client money. Also, like I said before, I'm very much an advocate for breaking the rules. Not because I'm some sort of wedding rebel, but because I believe in making your wedding day as much about YOU as possible. I like to stress to my clients that there's no wedding playbook when it comes to the details. we're all making it up as we go and basically stealing ideas from other weddings. It's important to remember that it's only one day, so enjoy it, be present, don't sweat the small stuff, and do what makes you happy.
Kim, thank you so much for sharing your heart and keeping it real with us. Please head over to loose-leaf-creative.com to see more of her beautiful work, read her helpful tips (she has an amazing post about how to work from home and stay productive), and truly get to know her story. Kim is an amazing advocate for mental health; something that is so important and often gets a bad reputation in our culture. And, if you are looking for someone to help with event signage, invitations, design, or you just want a friend to grab a craft beer with, HIT HER UP. :)