Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finding my niche

For Elegant Scribbles, bid'ness is booming in 2010. That's the little handwriting/addressing service I started in December 2008. Not calligraphy, just neat, clear handwriting for event envelopes, wedding invitations, birth announcements, and thank you cards. I regularly place ads on craigslist and a few other free marketing online sites, and truth be told, it took a while for the ball to start rolling with it.

Thanks to a couple of non-profit organizations (remember last year's famous-people addressing bonanza?) and word of mouth, I'm kept consistently busy with my little cottage industry. Lately I've worked with clients from Hallmark Channel, MTV, and am now on L'Oreal's employee service concierge list. Seems folks either don't have the time or the hand-writing skills to address all those save-the-dates or fancy gala invitations. And they don't really want calligraphy; they want readable, neat handwriting. That, I can offer.

One of my biggest clients keeps me busy writing thank you notes to corporate leaders who have attended its exclusive conferences. I love having the work, but this particular client is the only one who wants me to block print everything instead of using script because the writing needs to look gender-neutral (and face it, my script is girly). I will testify that it takes a lot longer to block-print 200 thank you's than to write them in script, and I need a couple of days to rest my hand after one of these writing-marathons.

Most of my other work is for brides- and grooms-to-be: save-the-dates, wedding invitations, and thank you notes. So far, so good. Knock wood, I've had no bridezillas. They are so grateful to have this one big thing off their to-do list, that I'd really have to mess up royally to make 'em mad. All have been lovely people (and I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying that).

Of course, I have a huge day-job, so Elegant Scribbles only gets my attention on nights and weekends. Still it pays for groceries and Con Ed, which is helpful. I'm just one person and have realized my hand-writing limits. I don't think I charge enough, but I hope to sort that out as time goes on.

Who knew that those early years struggling with penmanship booklets in elementary school would pay off?

6 comments:

TheiaC said...

Mary,

From my busy-bride perspective, you are not charging enough. If a person has the extra cash to pay someone to address envelopes, they have the cash to pay a little more. Get what you deserve sister!

jomoore said...

Great to hear it's going well, Mary. And I love your website - it's so classy.

Liz said...

Wow! Fantastic. What a great skill to be able to offer. Hope it grows and grows!

MaryB said...

Theia - Yes, I agree I probably don't charge enough, though, having been a Mother of the Bride, I sympathize with the expenses faced by the bride and groom.

Jo - Thanks for the compliment on the website. I need to add more pages, probably a form for visitors to fill out and email back to me. Would save the "how much would you charge for . . . " emails.

Liz - I will need to find a happy medium soon (real job vs. side-line vs. rest time). It'll never pay the rent, but it does help with small expenses.

KateGladstone said...

Training system for gender-neutral writing style which is more flowing than block print:
http://www.deeppocketseries.com/Better_Letters.php -- also see http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com

Anonymous said...

You always had great penmanship. Ol "BUGGEYES" would have been proud of you.May she rest in peace.
JMB