Interview with Evelyn of Bon Paper House!
You guys are in for a treat! I’m so excited to have Evelyn from Bon Paper House on the blog today. She’s a fellow calligrapher, a friend (I refuse to use the word calligrafriend, cause it gives me the heebeegeebees, haha), and a really great bonus - also my sister-in-law! I’m so grateful that Evelyn and I have been able to walk through a lot of our calligraphy / small business journeys together. Although our schedules are a little different now and we don’t get to chat business/calligraphy as often as we used to and would like, she is still someone that I know I can rely on for advice, tips, and sometimes just to vent. I hope you guys enjoy learning more about Evelyn and her story!
Let’s just jump right on in - how did you get started doing calligraphy?
I have to thank a lot of people for introducing me to this calligraphy journey. One of my good friends started teaching herself calligraphy several years ago which inspired my sister to try as well. I picked it up while planning our wedding three and a half years ago using my sister’s supplies, but didn’t return to it until January 2016. My husband and I were both pursuing our Masters degrees in Germany at the time and calligraphy was definitely a way for me to retreat and unwind from the stresses and challenges of school, living in a new country and being far away from family. My sister in law (you!) is also a calligrapher and introduced me to the Modern Calligraphy Summit, an online two week workshop. Up to this point, I hadn’t taken a class in calligraphy, but was just learning from free online resources, so MCS was really where I discovered my own style.
It’s so neat to hear all the different threads in your life that led you to calligraphy. Did you ever see yourself working in a creative field when you were younger?
True story, I wanted to be a cashier as a kid because I have this weird obsession with buttons. Other professions I wanted to pursue: musician (before I realized I really don't like being the centre of attention), chemist (before I realized I'm not great in the lab), and professor (before I realized I didn't want to do research for the rest of my life). Soooo I think it's safe to say that no, I didn't see myself in the creative field. Calligraphy kind of fell into my lap and the love grew quickly from there.
You and me both, girl! When I was six I wanted to be a Costco cashier!
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Learning to give myself grace as I learn to run a business. I started Bon Paper House because I love creating beautiful, meaningful stationery and prints for couples and their homes. While the creating part flowed out, the business running part was a struggle...and still is! The struggles that I face though, challenge me as a person and hopefully I'll grow into a better business owner.
What has been the most rewarding?
Working with clients!! Before I send completed pieces off, I feel like I have a rock in my stomach. It happens every single time! I just pour a lot into each creation and often second guess myself along the way so I always wait anxiously to see what my clients' reactions will be. In the end though...their joy is always worth it.
Oh yes, that initial waiting stage after you’ve sent your work off for someone else to see and critique - pit in the stomach sums up the feeling perfectly. It’s a vulnerable place to be since we’re opening ourselves up to someone else’s thoughts about our work (as it should be since they’re our clients and we need their feedback!), but you’re so right, that end result, not necessarily of our work, but of how the clients feels is so worth it. So what is it you love about calligraphy and being in the creative field?
Honestly, I'm a huge introvert and an awkward one at that. Developing relationships is difficult for me and I would probably never go out and meet new people if I didn't have to. Thanks to calligraphy, I've been able to work with awesome vendors, fellow business owners and couples who I never would have crossed paths with before. This line of work has stretched a different muscle in me that I thought I didn't have.
Well let me say this, that is something that I’ve also struggled with - getting out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there - but it has been such an encouragement to me to see the relationships that you’ve developed, even though it isn’t the easiest. I admire that about you so much!
Do you have any advice for those that might be starting out in calligraphy/the creative field?
Work past that stage where you're insecure with your work and it seems like everything you create isn't good enough. If you get through that, you're just going to get to the next level of where you can take your skills and talent -- to a place where you probably can't even visualize right now because it's being blocked by fear.
I know words play a powerful role in your life. Could you share a mantra or quote that has really spoken to you?
Be Still. Stillness is something I struggle with -- my brain is always running and thinking of the next thing that needs to get crossed off my list. I was like this even before I started running a business, so once Bon Paper House was born, the intense brain-running increased big time! Enter the words "be still", a phrase that everyone could probably be reminded of a little more, especially in this fast-paced society we live in.
Thank you so much for sharing part of your story, Evelyn. I know we’re just barely scratching the surface of some of these topics (so maybe I’ll just have to have you come back for a few more blog posts? ;)), but it’s always so encouraging to hear other people's insights and thoughts. It’s such a great reminder that we’re not in this alone, and that all those thoughts swirling through our heads - we’re all thinking them, and we can all relate.
To learn more about Evelyn and her work head to Bon Paper House
Happy Tuesday, friends!
Hey there, and welcome to the True North Paper Co. Blog, where I'll dive into everything from wedding calligraphy and logo/branding to business insight! Grab your mug of tea or coffee and enjoy a peek behind-the-scenes!