Meeting Cindy Chi of Owl Post Calligraphy
Cindy and I crossed paths from Instagram in the middle of 2016. I had discovered her work on Instagram and my first thought was, "Oh my goodness - she is so talented". As a wedding photographer, it's so lovely to be able to have brides who invest in their wedding stationery - not only does it set the tone for what your wedding is going to be like and the experience your guests will have, but it sure is so much fun to photograph and play with!
With Cindy, I loved her delicate lines and deliberate design. I think that in Atlanta, it's so rare to find designers who are able to incorporate both. After working on a few collaborations last year with Cindy, we had become good friends. It's been amazing to watch her business take off and see how she's been able to take her business full-time after being a graphic designer. She is the most kind, supportive, and talented people in the industry that I've met - and, she even designed my new logo for me! I've decided that I definitely would love to have her create my wedding stationery for me, when the time arrives. ;)
I'm so excited to introduce her to you (if you haven't met her yet) and for you to hear more of her story. Please be sure to give her some love from the links below, and to also check out her latest launch: semi-custom suites!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Cindy! I’d love for readers to get an idea of how this all took off for you. Then, we can go from there.
It’s so funny that I ended up being in the Wedding Industry because I was not the girl who grew up planning and dreaming of her “Big Day.” But when I got engaged, the crafter in me went crazy! I had a Harry Potter themed wedding so much of it was DIY, including learning how to do calligraphy to address my own invitations! I graduated from UCLA with a Design & Media Arts degree but I always loved being hands on, so becoming a stationer and calligrapher was a perfect combination of design and craft. Once I fell in love with calligraphy (I would literally come home from work and practice 5+ hours a day) I knew that this is the dream I had to chase. My day job was draining me and I knew I needed to be my own boss so I could have creative freedom. With that goal in mind, I spent another 1.5 years building my portfolio, saving money, and designing for my first clients before finally going full-time in November 2017!
What’s it like to have a one-woman show? Where are you based?
Being a solopreneur is both incredibly stressful and extremely rewarding at the same time! My husband is also a freelance artist (filmmaker) so working at home with him is so nice. When I still had my day job I was working from 8am-6pm then coming home and working another 5-7 hours AND weekends while I was building my business. I was exhausted and felt like I never saw my husband as I was consumed up with work 24/7. Don’t get me wrong though, being a business owner means I work more hours than I did at my old day job but somehow the mental fatigue isn’t as draining. Because I’m doing what I love, I work twice as hard (and long) but feel less tired than I used to! I’m based in Los Angeles, California, which (to be honest) is my first struggle since the cost of living here is pretty high (thank goodness I’m not in NY or San Francisco though!) But my husband needs to stay here for his work and so I just need to work twice as hard to make this little business of mine work.
Wow, I can't imagine those long work hours. That's incredible hustle and grit. How did you come up with the name “Owl Post Calligraphy”, and what should we know about your business?
I wanted a name that felt fitting for what I was doing, but was secretly revealing something about me. So for people who are Harry Potter nerds like me, they know that “Owl Post” comes from the mail delivery service in that universe, which I thought would be fitting for a stationery company! For those who do not recognize the name, I thought it sounded cute anyway (or at least I hope! haha.) As far as my niche, I specialize in fine art weddings. Most of my couples are in love with handmade paper, ribbons, wax seals, and organic calligraphy. My favorite things to do are venue illustrations and also unique embellishments (like hand-foiling edges or adding texture with paint, etc.)
I love handmade paper! There's something so delicate about the texture, its weight, and it just reminds me of the beauty of the past. I love it! So, who would you say is an Owl Post Calligraphy Bride, and what about your brand stands out in their minds or what do you uniquely offer that differentiates you and your business from the competition?
The Owl Post Calligraphy couple is inspired by nature and Old-World ephemera. They love the natural decay and imperfections of things. Their dream venue is an old romantic chateau or castle, or even a lush organic garden. My couples love that I work with tactile details and texture. Some love my lush romantic designs while others love my clean typographical designs.
What are 3 things that you strive to do for every single bride you serve and why?
When my couples email me upon receiving their invitations telling me how happy they are, or that they cried when they opened their invitations—that is success to me and it’s what I strive for in every couple I serve. Why? Because I know how important (and for many, once in a lifetime) this event is for my couples. They trust me to design something they love that will be remembered for decades afterward and that’s a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly! So my top three things I strive to do with every couple are:
Respond to emails quickly! I always respond same-day if possible, even with new inquiries! I know what it’s like to sit around waiting for vendors to respond and it’s a pain!
Design invitations that complement their day-of visions! I always ask about what their style is, what their color palette is, and what their dream invitations should evoke. Even knowing who their other vendors are (photographers, florals, venue) tell me a lot about what kind of look they are going for.
Give them an authentic and honest experience. I always tell my couples I am not here to squeeze them of their money. I price everything fairly and I’m not upcharging my services because they’re for a wedding. I want to establish trust so that my couples know what I’m telling them is truly what’s best for them. I always make suggestions based on their budget without sacrificing quality. I used to be a bride, I know what sticker shock is like!
What can we expect to see from Owl Post Calligraphy over the next year? How are you evolving? Any fun projects or products you’re offering?
This year I am aiming to really improve my couples’ experiences with me in terms of ease and shorter timelines. With my semi-custom collections, I want the process to be as seamless as possible while also offering designs they’ve never seen before and feel truly custom. A few of my collections this year are more luxe, using multiple printing processes and unique sizes. I hope to make ordering day-of details to match these collections easier too!
What is the best part of owning your own business in this wedding industry, and serving couples in this stage of life? Why do you continue to do what you do?
The wedding industry is amazing because we are celebrating LOVE and isn’t that what each human being is striving to find, give, and receive in this life? :) There’s nothing more amazing to being a part of two people’s celebration of eternal love. It’s also the day that everyone goes BIG to make their dreams come true. There are not many times in our lives where we get to literally throw something that is just like it’s out of a fairytale! It’s so exciting and once in a lifetime! I continue to do what I do because not only do I love what I do, but I love the couples that I work with and making their memories is so rewarding and such an honor!
Semi-Custom Collections: http://owlpostcalligraphy.com/all-collections