A series featuring talented wedding vendors with incredible values collated during the Lockdown. Created to inspire, intrigue and showcase how truly amazing New Zealand small businesses and their founders are. (Make sure you read to the bottom to see the Lockdown checklist for a much-needed giggle).
First up is Sarah Malone from Sarah Jane Letters - A modern calligrapher specialising in Wedding and Event Stationery and Hand-Lettered Jackets.
Sarah - was there a moment when you realised this is what you wanted to do?
It all began back in 2016- recently engaged, I had been scrolling Instagram for inspiration as you do and stumbled across some modern calligraphers and fell in love! So I made it my mission to start learning this beautiful craft for our wedding and the rest is history. To see how far I’ve come from when I first started is quite rewarding and the old saying “practice makes perfect” really rings true for me. I pretty much spend my evenings either putting ink to paper or practicing my lettering on my iPad - I’m constantly learning.
Who inspired that moment?
One of the very first calligraphers I had discovered was Katrina Centeno-Nguyen. I learnt a lot through watching her process videos. Her workmanship is second to none and she makes it seem so effortless!
Why are you passionate about what you do?
I’ve always had a passion for design and art, I remember even back in Primary School my friends getting me to do bubble writing for their title pages, so my love for typography has always been there. Being able to create something for someone else’s special day is such a rewarding and awesome feeling. A lot of love and thought goes into what I create - whether it be a custom painted jacket or hand lettered hangers.
A lot of love and thought goes into what I create - whether it be a custom painted jacket or hand lettered hangers.
What is the biggest challenges you face being sustainable in your business?
Definitely a big one for me is materials I use - especially when dealing with things like vellum- the one I choose to offer is made from cellulose fibres and 100% recyclable. Packaging is definitely another major one which I have been working towards offering eco friendly packaging. I work quite closely with my clients so where possible I allow pickups ( before lockdown ) to get rid of packaging all together.
How can people be more mindful when choosing stationery?
Ask questions when you’re choosing your stationery- are their products recyclable? Do they offer a paperless option? It all starts with you the client. The more demand there is for eco-friendly options, the more it will encourage designers to question their environmental footprint and standards as a company and to think outside the square which is a really positive move for our industry.
It all starts with you the client. The more demand there is for eco-friendly options, the more it will encourage designers to question their environmental footprint...
Do you do online invites and save the dates (and now postponements)?
I’ve actually just recently designed a paperless postponement for a previous client. It’s definitely something that I am looking to add to my collection.
Any tips on having a more eco friendly wedding?
There are so many wonderful creatives these days coming up with alternative solutions- Dried floral confetti, buying pre loved items or looking into hire options. I’ve also been to a few weddings where friends have grown their own succulents and made preserves to give as favours
What you've learnt along your business journey.
That you’ll never be truly “ready” and waiting for the perfect moment to start something new is just an excuse! Putting myself out there and jumping into the deep end was the best thing I could’ve done. Also comparison is killer and detrimental, you will never be everyone’s cup of tea so instead of comparing my work to others I focus on what’s working for me - zoning in on perfecting it. The New Zealand calligraphy community is quite tight knit, and Ive made some great connections in the industry, if there is something that a client requests that I don’t offer I always pass on other fellow designers, its good karma and there is more than enough work for us all to go around.
...instead of comparing my work to others I focus on what’s working for me - zoning in on perfecting it.
When you're not working, you're....
Chasing after our two boys Jack(4) and Oscar(2) They are super adventurous and definitely keep me on my toes!
I love creating hand lettered fonts- in particular mono line script, Its a great way to add a personal touch and I really love the minimalist look.
Are you taking orders at the moment?
Yes, so thankful that I’m able to start offering my services again.