99: Molly Suber Thorpe, How to Create a Thriving Calligraphy Business - the Creative Empire podcast

This Creative Empire podcast episode Reina and Christina interview Molly Suber Thorpe, graphic designer, calligrapher, teacher, and author. This episode is all about what it takes to have a thriving calligraphy business. The trio discuss everything from how to price your services to how to find calligraphy jobs.


Show Highlights:

  • What Molly's new book is about
  • What advice Molly would say to someone starting out who is scared to charge higher prices
  • How to come up with your own freelancing rates
  • What someone who feels they are too late to the game should do
  • What the difference between freelancers and small business owners is
  • How to find calligraphy jobs
  • What freelancing has allowed Molly to do
  • What being featured by huge publications feels like
  • When you need to stop doing "market research" and just start making your own stuff instead

Show Notes:

Molly’s Bio:

Molly Suber Thorpe is a graphic designer, calligrapher, teacher, and author. She is credited as a driving force behind the modern calligraphy movement and achieved renown for her book, Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013). Since its release, Modern Calligraphy has sold over 30,000 copies, been translated into Chinese and Spanish, and was named an "Amazon Favorite Craft Book" of 2013.

Her work has been featured in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Weddings, Los Angeles Times, Country Living,  and Style Me Pretty Weddings. Her client list includes Google Cultural Institute, Martha Stewart Weddings, Michael Kors, Fendi, J. Jill, and Victorio & Lucchino. Molly graduated from UCLA's Design Communication Arts program in 2009 with a concentration in typography and layout design. Prior to that, Molly studied art history, comparative literature, and creative writing at The American University of Paris. After spending nearly a decade in Los Angeles, Molly currently lives in Athens, Greece with her partner, a fashion photographer, and their incorrigible Bengal cat.

Molly’s Social Handles:

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91: Janet Hoang, How to Learn as You Grow - the Creative Empire podcast

This episode of the Creative Empire Podcast with Janet Hoang of Janet Gwen Designs is all about learning as you grow! Reina, Christina, and Janet discuss what it was like for Janet to start a business so young and how it has changed from then until now. Janet shares how to not just sell products, but a culture and how to actively engage with people and build a brand outside of the Internet. Lastly they talk about switching from Etsy to her own website and why email lists are so important. 


Show Highlights:

  • What the impetus for starting her own business was + what her business looked like when she started
  • How Janet realized her phone cases could be a business + how she made it bigger than that
  • How Janet strayed from the path expected from her + decided for herself what she wanted to be
  • What advice Janet has for young people who think they're not qualified to run a business
  • What ways Janet's business has given back to her life and what her business looks like today
  • How Janet got from not even having a studio to having an entire home to work from
  • How to not just sell products, but a culture
  • How to actively facilitate engagements + create that experience/build that brand outside of the internet
  • How to come up with content for social media
  • What switching from Etsy to her own website has done for her business + what compelled her to switch
  • How to help facilitate that brand recognition if you are on Etsy + looking to move off of it
  • Why email lists are so important
  • What Janet would say to anyone on the fence about owning a business
  • What self-care looks like for Janet
  • Why she started a fashion blog as well

Show Notes:

Janet’s Bio:

 Hello! I'm Janet; I’m the founder and creative director of Janet Gwen Designs. It’s a creative studio known for our gold and marble cases and hand painted phone cases. (YES! HAND PAINTED!) JGD mission is to encourage and highlight unfiltered creativity by challenging the social standards of art. We strive to make a statement by using bold colors and textures on traditional and non traditional surfaces. We create one-of-a kind pieces of art for those customers who appreciate the little details it takes to pull it all together. We make your hustle beautiful, one art infused piece at the time. We want to start conversations, create real life connections, and inspire you in your wildest dreams. We are here to cheer you on every step because we know you got this! You can read all about my story and how JGD got started here!

Janet’s Social Handles:

Episode 87: How to Craft a Business with Intention, with Ali Edwards - the Creative Empire podcast

Reina and Christina interview Ali Edwards, creator of memory keeping products and classes, this Creative Empire podcast episode. Ali talks about always connecting everything she puts out back to her reason why, how she is very intentional in everything she does, and why she prefers slow growth. During this conversation, the trio discuss thinking ahead in launch strategy and share tips on how to authentically share your story with your audience.


Show Highlights:

  • What One Little Word is and what Ali's word for this year is
  • How Ali uses her website to get her customers to focus on certain projects
  • How to create & use a launch strategy
  • How to intentionally create products/classes that matter to you
  • Why Ali encourages everyone to connect with their reason why
  • How Ali's business has evolved
  • What tips Ali has for people wanting to authentically share their story with their audience
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Show Notes:

Ali’s Bio:

Ali Edwards' passion resides in that very special place where the stories and images of life intersect. Designer, blogger, workshop instructor, and author of four books about memory keeping, Ali is well known for authentically capturing everyday life with photos and words and creating memory keeping projects from those moments that pass by in an instant. Guided by simple principles such as not making things more complicated than they need to be, focusing on the things that matter most and embracing imperfection, Ali Edwards is proud to be a work in progress. She believes without a doubt that there's no right or wrong way to do all this, that the real stories are worth telling, and there's a whole lot of celebrating to do even in the midst of the challenging pieces of life. Since 2004, Ali Edwards blog, workshops and memory keeping projects have inspired tens of thousands of people to share their own stories and enrich their own lives through the process. Ali lives in Eugene, Oregon with her two children and their cat George Washington.

Ali’s Social Handles:

84: How to Jump into Wholesale, with Katie Hunt - the Creative Empire podcast

Business strategist, mentor to creative entrepreneurs, and founder of Tradeshow Bootcamp Katie Hunt is Reina and Christina’s guest on The Creative Empire podcast this episode. They dive right in to some things to consider when trying to decide whether or not to go wholesale and that advantages/disadvantages to going to a big tradeshow such as the National Stationery Show. Other things they talk about include: what to consider when deciding whether or not to buy educational opportunities for your business, why focus is key in growing your business, and what characteristics people have that make them more likely to be successful. 


Show Highlights:

  • What some things are to consider when thinking of going wholesale
  • When (in the timeline of your business) to go to a big trade show like the National Stationery Show
  • What the pros + cons are of going to a big trade show like the National Stationery Show
  • What Paper Camp is
  • What to consider when deciding whether or not to buy educational opportunities for your business
  • Why focus is key in growing your business
  • What characteristics people have that make them more likely to be successful
  • What a few Paper Camp success stories are
  • What is next for wholesale

Show Notes:

Katie’s Bio:

Katie Hunt is the founder of Tradeshow Bootcamp, a business strategist, and mentor to creative entrepreneurs. She is a firm believer in professional development, surrounding yourself with community and pushing ‘go’ even when you might not feel 100% ready. Katie has taught classes for CreativeLive, The Savvy Experience, Seanwes Conference, Be Sage Conference, Unique Camp, and Makers Nation. She frequently speaks about strategies for creating a product line, selling wholesale, business planning and the importance of community for entrepreneurs.

Katie earned a dual MBA in marketing and finance from Loyola Marymount University and has spent the last 16 years coaching large corporations and entrepreneurs on marketing and business development strategies. Her strengths lie in connecting people and bringing ideas to life – brainstorming, making a plan and executing. Katie has a passion for creating, a mind for business and a strong desire to help others succeed.

Katie’s Social Handles:

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68: How to Transition from a Corporate Career, with Jamie Kutchman - the Creative Empire podcast

Reina and Christina’s guest this episode is founder + owner of the gift company Marigold & Grey, Jamie Kutchman. Jamie is here to chat about how she transitioned from her corporate job of 11 years to starting her own business. She advises listeners to not transition the way she did. Instead, Jamie gives practical tips + advice on how to do it, such as the importance of pre-validating your idea, finding your ideal client, how to get started even if you don't have much space or money, and how to differentiate yourself when you're in a crowded market. 


Show Highlights:

  • Why you should start + grow your new business while you're still at your corporate job
  • Why pre-validation is important
  • How to differentiate yourself when you're in a crowded market
  • How to figure out what your ideal client's pain points are + deliver a product they need
  • How to get started as a product-based business, even if you don't have much space or money
  • How Jamie scaled her business
  • What to say to yourself when you have anxiety about a transition

Show Notes:

Jamie’s Bio:

Jamie Kutchman Wynne is the founder & owner of the artisan gift company called Marigold & Grey. She first recognized the need for boutique gift service while preparing for her own 2012 wedding when welcome gifts because a major source of stress. Not long after, she left behind an 11-year corporate career in medical/surgical sales to start the business, actually quitting spontaneously on a conference call one day. (She admits it’s probably not the best strategy for transitioning into entrepreneurship, but that’s basically how it happened!) Nonetheless, she is ecstatic to have finally found her true calling. For the first time in life, she doesn't have to be corporate OR creative. She is fully both and exactly where she belongs! She lives in the Washington, DC area with her golf-smitten husband Jeff, three stepkids and two rescue pups, Lewis & Clarkie! While she enjoys DC life, she's a true Virginia girl at heart. When not designing gifts, mentoring other creative entrepreneurs or prop styling for other small businesses, she enjoys good bourbon and barbecue, football season, entertaining, and has been known to dust off her passport every chance she gets. She’s honored to lead the Bethesda, Maryland Tuesdays Together group, part of the Rising Tide Society.

Jamie’s Social Handles:

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