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Talking to Laura Letters Life – on turning a passion into a thriving creative & wellbeing business

Interview with Laura where she tells us all about her inspiring journey. 

a group of women sitting at a table writing

Laura Edralin discovered calligraphy after a period of stress in her own life, and quickly realised there was an invaluable connection between the calming practice and mental wellbeing. Since then, against the backdrop of the pandemic, she’s gone from working full time as an Events Producer to running her own thriving calligraphy business.

Laura Letters Life offers a range of workshops, courses and events to individuals and businesses, delivering 100 workshops to over 1000 people over the past two years. Laura’s also recently completed her Wellbeing Coaching qualification, and has just launched Sparkle & Script, an evening of wine tasting and calligraphy in London. Through it all – her mantra of core values remains steadfast: Calm, Create, Connect. 

Below, she tells us all about her inspiring journey. 

✅ Key takeaways for budding workshop organisers

  • There’s a big appetite for creative workshops – people are keen to get away from their desks to do something truly mindful.
  • Your core brand may come from your own inner inspiration, but it can help to know when to hire professionals to build it out – for example, a Designer for a Day to help with a website.
  • There’s tons of great tools and tech out there that can help you save time, streamline your processes, and find customers.
  • Diversifying your offering means you can reach more people and find more fulfilment in your work – for example, running a mixture of group and one-to-one sessions.

Now, over to Laura 🎤…

🌱 Growing up…

Growing up, I was surrounded by art as a practice and a business because my parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles were all in creative, artistic careers. I struggled with the patience needed to ‘be artistic’ though – the deeper love of painting, ceramics, and screen printing, for example – and so never felt particularly artistic myself.

But I enjoyed writing poetry, especially at university, and as a child I would pretend to make workbooks and teach – so perhaps that spark was always there!

💡 A new discovery…

In 2017 I experienced a period of acute stress and anxiety which threw me into a whole new world of mental health, self-care and wellbeing. One tool that became essential to my wellbeing was doing something creative.

“This activity became a sanctuary for me every evening”

A friend suggested some workshops to try and I booked a modern calligraphy session – knowing very little about it, but always wanting to try it. I loved it. It was calming, it was mindful and it helped me drop into a flow state.

This activity became a sanctuary for me every evening (once the children were in bed). I only needed my pen and paper – and with regular practice, the results were quick. Soon I began sharing my calligraphy on Instagram and it wasn’t long before friends asked for commissions and help with things like weddings.

A deeper meaning…

I really enjoyed creating bespoke calligraphy for gifts, wedding stationery and special occasions – but I kept coming back to the huge benefits calligraphy gave me. With a new passion for exploring wellbeing, discovering how to support my own mental health was something I naturally wanted to share with others.

“The benefits of doing something creative was a goldmine for myself and others”

I was working full-time at this point as an Events Producer and became active in the workplace wellbeing space, instigating networks, initiatives and programmes to support employees, colleagues and friends. 

I found the two worlds – calligraphy and wellbeing – were synonymous with each other. The benefits of doing something creative – a single focus activity, calming the mind, relaxing the breath, reducing stress and unlocking inspiration – was a goldmine for myself, and others.

a group of women sitting at a table writing

🖋️ A sanctuary amidst lockdowns…

When the pandemic hit, I had already trialled an online Mindful Calligraphy workshop, so it was a timely leap into more online workshops which quickly became popular during lockdown(s).

For me and the participants, the workshops gave us all a purpose, but it also clarified my core values: Calm, Create, Connect.

“Noticing our breathing, grip, and position offered mindfulness”

Every session weaved through the calming benefits of learning techniques for strokes, letters and words. Tuning into how we were creating – noticing our breathing, grip, and position – offered mindfulness too.

The creative aspect was exciting and eased people’s sense of uncertainty; allowing our lettering to unravel on the page and reducing that need for control and perfectionism was really beneficial, especially at a time of chaos.

And finally, the connection to each other – strangers and friends connecting and belonging in a space when many hadn’t seen anyone for a long time – was really nice to facilitate. 

There’s also the connection to ourselves to appreciate – reminding ourselves we can be creative, we can be kind and enjoy these artistic activities without huge set up, travel or equipment costs.

🚀 Turning a passion into a business…

After discovering my passion for wellbeing and calligraphy, I left full-time employment and dove into wellbeing opportunities on a freelance basis alongside my business. But I always continued to come back to Laura Letters Life and now do this full time. 

As well as my monthly online sessions in my Lettering Life Club, I run in-person workshops in London, too. It’s lovely to bring people together, who enjoy stepping away from their computers to meet locals and get creative.

I also take my workshops into workplaces – whether that’s for a team building session, a social event, or part of a wellbeing event programme. It’s great to see companies embracing the benefits of creativity within their organisations.

I run one-to-one workshop sessions too, which I find really exciting. Through using coaching tools, I can help people to feel safe and supported, whether they’re just keen to learn or are looking to improve in all areas of their life. Calligraphy and coaching can complement this concept really well.

Some major milestones for me have been bringing my workshops into several high profile workplaces, collaborating with Pentel for a Christmas campaign, illustrating a recipe book, and delivering over 100 workshops to more than 1000 people in the last two years.

🧘 Finding the right balance…

Running my own business isn’t without its challenges. One of which has been finding a balance with my work, and reminding myself of the joys of calligraphy for my own practice. Because it’s something I love, I really do live and breathe it. With any business that we own ourselves, it becomes our world; you are the finance department, marketing department, and everything in between (at least at the beginning!). It’s easy to blur home and work boundaries, but I love the flexibility I have and the business I’m growing.

💛 Finding purpose and motivation…

For me, the biggest reward from my work is the feedback I receive after a session or a course. Hearing the impact the process had on others is everything. It means I know I’m doing my job right and reaching people, which this aligns with my values and brings me a huge sense of purpose and motivation.

Another big reward has been improving my confidence. I’ve had huge challenges with public speaking and confidence for many years, but now this is almost second nature (the good nerves still kick in!). For me, that’s a massive win.

a paper with writing on it and a pen

📱 Tools & tech I’d recommend…

I use a plethora of great tools and technology to help me run my business. Some of the most useful are:

The Notes app on my phone – simple, easy, and syncs up between my phone and laptop, so whenever I have an idea, thought, or reminder, I put it on the app – and out of my mind. 

Canva – for all my marketing visuals (such as headers, leaflets, logos, branding). I love the interface and access to templates, which means I’m not staring at a blank screen not knowing where to start!

Insight Timer – a meditation app that’s become part of my morning and evening routine. This allows me to have a moment of calm, reflection, relaxation, visualisation – whatever I need depending on the day, and how I’m feeling in that moment.

Ticket Tailor, of course! – I love the human connection (I’m always asking questions), and the platform’s capabilities and functions are great. I also value Ticket Tailor’s sustainable, charitable collaborations and ethics as a company, which make me proud to have them as my ticketing platform. Overall it’s a really simple, smart, easy to use platform for me and my clients – which has proven much more viable than other platforms I’ve tried.

Apple iPad & Pencil – this was an early extravagance when I left full-time work; they’re not essential but I do use them for design work and creation of worksheets, workbooks, logos, commissions, and things like that. 

Squarespace – for my website; a lovely visual, drag and drop, templated website builder.

MailerLite – for my mailing list; an easy to navigate platform that can work alongside my other programmes. 

📣 Getting the word out…

I find Instagram to be a valuable promotional tool – it provides a great space for visuals and videos, reels and going live. So I can share calming clips, share a creative space, and connect with people – whether other calligraphers, or people looking for a little creative boost.

I also love to collaborate with others, whether on Instagram or as a separate event.

I’ve printed leaflets before but am keen to reduce this and focus more on growing my mailing list, ensuring I’m sharing free resources, updates and new events with my core audience.

🏨 Venues I love…

I have great relationships with some local venues, including Room2 in Chiswick (West London), which is the first net-zero hometel and is a really beautiful space with a lovely team and great sustainable values. I also love Linden House in Hammersmith, a stunning listed building set back from the river, with beautiful rooms, ideal for my private workshops.

✨ Building my brand…

I’ve done a few courses which have really helped me explore my brand, set up my business  vision and find the clients I want to work with. But what I’m really about has always come back to my values: Calm, Create and Connect. This keeps me aligned, and helps me with decisions and motivation.

“Noticing the gaps where I can’t do it all, or others can do it better, is hugely beneficial”

I’ve also reached out to experts for help – one of my first big investments last year was employing a Designer For a Day to audit my website, improve my messaging and visuals, and improve my SEO. While I’ve realised I can do a lot myself, I’ve found that noticing the gaps where I can’t do it all, or others can do it better, is hugely beneficial.

🔮 A glimpse into the future…

I’ve just completed my Wellbeing Coaching qualification so I’m keen to blend more of my knowledge of wellbeing with creative practises. I’m writing a new workbook for just this, alongside courses and more one-to-one sessions, with options to support people looking to ease their stress, improve their life and find more joy and connection within it.

I’ve also just launched Sparkle & Script – an evening of wine tasting and calligraphy – which I co-host with a wine expert in London (the next session is at the end of February). 

There’s lots of new collaborations in the works for 2023 and I’m always open to new ideas!

🖋️ Watch this space! 

To find out more about Laura Letters Life, head here.

And to find out how Ticket Tailor can help you build your own workshop business with seamless ticketing and event registration tech, head here

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