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Ruth started Seniman Calligraphy in 2015. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Seniman Calligraphy?
I always loved creating with my hands and I tend to get carried away with presents and cards during the holidays. That being said, I was content that my passion for drawing and painting would be a minor supporting role while I majored in Interior Architecture and worked as an Interior Designer over the next 4 years after I graduated.
So one day when my then boss passive aggressively asked what day I would like to show up for work that week, I told her ‘how about none?’... and never looked back.
It wasn’t until 2015 where I decided to pick up modern calligraphy as a hobby. Upon admiring all the more established calligraphers’, I realize that working on bespoke custom wedding invitations would allow me to do everything I love and at the same time make a living off of it.
After 3 months of regular nightly practice, I decided I was good enough to do other people’s calligraphy work and determined to turn this into my side hustle! So I purchased some colored envelopes at my local stationery store Paper Source, ordered lots of vintage stamps from eBay along with some fresh flowers from my local grocery store. I then took some pretty photos of my envelope addressing. I used the first round of photos on my new Etsy listing, filled my Squarespace website, and started posting regularly on Instagram for my Seniman Calligraphy account.
Working at a small bootstrapped interior design firm at that time, I knew that it’s very unlikely I would be an overnight success. Although the idea of jumping head first and quitting my full-time job to start my own creative small business did not sound very appealing financially. So I set a few goals that I had to achieve in my first year of business to even consider this as a serious path. Those goals were to have 1,000 Instagram followers on my business account, to get featured in the popular wedding blog Style Me Pretty, and to get published in a printed wedding magazine.
With those goals in mind, I spent my first year of business building my portfolio by any means necessary. I started by offering free Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and graduation cards for my friends so I had something to post on my Instagram and website. I also started actively making connections with other calligraphers and wedding professionals on Instagram. I would reach out via DM and like and comment on their posts. These initial conversations eventually turned into relationships. Not long after that, I started to receive inquiries for styled photoshoots. Although the first few shoots didn’t lead to much publicity, it did help me hone in my style and allowed me to get noticed by established vendors.
10 months after I first posted on Instagram, I passed all my goals and then some! I had a little over 2,000 followers on my Instagram, was published in Style Me Pretty and other prestigious wedding blogs, and one of the collaborations even got picked up in a print publication! To make it even sweeter, I was contacted to host a workshop locally where I could keep all the profit. I was well on my way! So one day when my then boss passive-aggressively asked what day I would like to show up for work that week, I told her “how about none?”... and never looked back.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater