Shop Talk: Laura Hooper Calligraphy

Written by on March 17, 2014 in Lifestyle, Shop Talk - 19 Comments
Shop Talk: Laura Hooper Calligraphy

There’s something so entirely special about beautifully hand-lettered calligraphy, and Laura Hooper does some of the best in the biz! Seeing her gorgeous calligraphy work always brings a smile to our face. We were thrilled to get a behind-the-scenes look at her office—and for the opportunity to get to know this amazing woman a bit better!

Office Design & Styling: With Love, Design
Photography: Abby Jiu Photography
Hair & Makeup: Amie Decker Beauty
Fresh Florals: Petal and Print

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  • How did you get started doing calligraphy?
    My mom taught me basic calligraphy when I was a young girl, and then I started working at a caricature shop when I was 12, writing names in what would maybe resemble Copperplate. I did that for years, and when I was about 22, my best friend asked me to address her wedding envelopes. The rest was history! I’ve actually shared more details about my story on my blog as well.

  • “We created the I Love Our Love card just in time for Valentine’s Day, but it’s perfect year-round both as a greeting card and a print. Our compasses are a big hit for summer & nautical-themed parties. We have a variety of styles and sell thousands of these throughout any given year.”

  • What made you decide to make a career out of this?
    After that first “job,” my dad’s coworker’s daughter was getting married, and my dad volunteered me to address her invitations. Then I started getting more and more referrals. At the time I was working 9-5 at a mortgage company. I knew that was not what I wanted to do, so I continued to do calligraphy on the side until I knew I would have enough work to sustain a living. Once I knew I could even just barely “make it” on calligraphy gigs, I quit my job and went full-time.

  • “Sometimes when I have leftover inventory, I simply write something cute on it and leave it in my office!”

    Bowl & Letter Stand / Frames / Sand Dollars

  • What have been the biggest successes and challenges of running your own business?
    The biggest success has definitely been the personal satisfaction of being able to do what I love for a living. I’ve been on the other side—going to a job I didn’t like every day—and I feel so blessed that I was able to capitalize on this skill that I love so much. The biggest challenge is, of course, learning how to balance life and work. When you own a business, work is never really done. There is always something I could be doing, and if I’m not writing, I’m not making money. Then there is also dealing with all of the “business” aspects of a business when I really just want to do calligraphy all day!

  • What is your favorite part of your office?
    I had so much fun working with Jessica of With Love, Design to get my office into shape! I love how she styled my bookcase, which takes up an entire wall in the office. I have separate storage that’s not in my office, so I enjoy the clean, fresh look of the bookcase. It’s pretty much a display of various projects and things I love. But if I had to pick a single element in the office, it would be the gold-striped curtains for sure! At first I thought the office was too small for curtains, but I listened to Jessica (the professional) and couldn’t be happier with the result.

  • You also have your blog, “A Lucky Orchid Wedding.” What made you decide to start a blog along with your business?
    I started my business over 10 years ago. At that time, there weren’t any major wedding blogs—let alone big lifestyle/entertaining blogs like Glitter Guide! So I felt that I needed a place to be able to showcase my work along with the many other vendors involved in a wedding or event (there weren’t inspiration shoots then either—crazy, I know!). It’s hard to believe now, but my blog used to be considered a “Top” wedding blog! That was of course many years ago, and now there are a wide variety of wonderful resources for brides and beyond, whose entire business is to blog, so I don’t focus on it too much. Plus, now there is Instagram, where I share what I’m creating on a daily basis!

  • “I love what Jessica of With Love, Design did with the bookcase display! After her initial selections for the office, we picked up so many fantastic items at Target and HomeGoods.”

    Beveled Mirror / Linen Storage Baskets / Hive VasesLucite LBookends

  • You are located in Alexandria, VA. What is your favorite part of running a business there?
    My business was based in Southern California for over 10 years, and I developed great working relationships out there, so it’s nice to be on the East Coast and build stronger relationships here as well. I’ve always worked with clients both nationwide and internationally, but you definitely get to know the vendors better when you are in the same market.

  • What makes your company stand out from other calligraphy companies?
    Experience and variety. There has been a big shift to a modern, loose-looking script, which—don’t get me wrong, I think is beautiful and I love doing, too—but there is something special about clean, classic calligraphy. I offer over 30 styles for my clients to choose from, and they have all been developed with a lot of time and practice. I’ve also heard that I write very quickly. People often ask on Instagram if my videos are on fast-forward, but they are all real-time!

  • “This glass tray keeps me organized and looks pretty, too!”

    TrayGold ScissorsTape DispenserPen Holder

  • What are your favorite projects to work on?
    I love trying new things! My newest ventures are our Calligraphy Starter Kits and Workshops. It’s been so rewarding to see how many people are interested in keeping this beautiful art alive! I also enjoy working on projects that allow me to work outside of my comfort zone. When you are writing hundreds of envelopes per day, it’s fun to get a little creative! I recently did a wedding with Karson Butler Events and they asked if I could get my calligraphy made into 150 different vinyl decals to use as “place cards” on ghost chairs. It took over 10 hours to do the calligraphy, scan each sheet and convert each one to vector art. I even did the vinyl application myself in case any got messed up and I had to re-do it by hand!

  • “Using mini jars is a really easy way to keep my nibs organized—and, of course, I write the names on them in gold!”

    Gold Scissors

  • How do you sparkle?
    I definitely sparkle through my calligraphy! I’m a somewhat shy, quiet person and I feel like I’m able to truly shine through my work.

  • Laura

    Thank you so much for featuring my office. I’m so honored that it’s on fabulous Glitter Guide today! Thank you again :)

    • http://nataliefranke.com Natalie Franke

      It looks absolutely amazing Laura! Truly gorgeous! And beautiful images, Abby!

  • Meghan

    Beautiful! Where are the curtains from? Were they custom?

    • Laura

      They are from Crate & Barrel

  • Nicola

    I am sooo excited to start using by starter kit. Maybe I am jumping the gun a bit, but what gold ink would you recommend to use with the nibs that you provide in the starter kit? My ambition (a big ambition!) is to learn and practice enough to write out all of the place names for our wedding in May (it gives me the shakes just thinking about it!) Thanks so much, really love your work and your work space, Laura! x

    • Laura

      @disqus_ppeuttEYCg:disqus they are from Crate & Barrel @disqus_dXIPMtWZBC:disqus I like gold gouache {you can see a pic of the gouache I use in the feature ~ it’s the pic with the little thank you tags!

      • Nicola

        Fab – thanks so much!

  • Emma

    I LOVE Laura’s work so it was so lovely to see where the magic takes place!!

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  • http://www.ohidesignblog.com Jessica (Packard) Klein

    It was such a pleasure styling Laura’s office! The interview is wonderful – she is such a talented and inspiring person!!

  • Pingback: LAURA HOOPER CALLIGRAPHY OFFICE MAKEOVER |

  • Traci A

    What a beautiful article and work she does- totally random, but is anyone aware of the paint color in her office? Im totally inspired by it and the gold lettering!

    • Laura

      Traci, It’s Behr, River Rock 730E-3 :)

  • Jennifer Wilson

    I follow Laura on Instagram and LOVE watching her calligraphy videos! She is amazingly talented and it was so nice to have a peek into her work space and learn more about her! Great feature!

    • Laura

      Thank you Jennifer!

  • http://www.thesinglediaries.com/ The Single Diaries

    Thanks for sharing your story Laura! It takes a lot of courage to leave a steady job and devote your time to what you love. You’re an inspiration.

    Catherine | The Single Diaries

    • Laura

      Thanks, Catherine…it was definitely scary at the time, but of course well worth it in the end!

  • Beth

    I was sitting here thinking to myself and I thought instead I should share how struck I am by your story! And How amazing it is that you were able to follow your passions the way you have! It is truly inspiring and thank you for the story! Makes me feel like I could actually follow my heart too! Sounds corny but thanks :)

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