We are so excited to be welcoming the wonderful Ciarra Claire to the Spotlight!
“Ciarra Claire is a luxury stationery studio with a focus on calligraphy, illustration and letterpress. I am a completely self taught artist and business owner and started to learn calligraphy in 2015 and started my business in 2016. I started with learning hand lettering and quickly discovered pointed pen calligraphy and immediately fell in love. I recently acquired an antique letterpress to make my studio a full service boutique with in house calligraphy, design and print.”
What is your expertise?
“I love working with natural colors and textures to create an over all aesthetic. Wax seals are one of my favorite ways to add a metallic tone or elevate stationery. But I also love illustration when I get the chance. Since the first skill I learned was calligraphy, that is still the focal point of my work. I love working on my calligraphy styles to create romantic and elegant letter forms.”
Spilling The Tea
What has been your biggest struggle to date?
“I think my biggest struggle was in the beginning of my business. Most people in the industry are self taught and will probably relate. But teaching yourself business skills and design and art skills is daunting. It can be hard to find the right resources to learn from. And there is a lot of self doubt that comes into play when you don’t have a mentor or a teacher to receive feedback from.
When I was beginning, I was very frustrated with my work and I made a lot of mistakes. And it takes some grit to not allow yourself to get discouraged. To tear off that practice sheet and start over, or reboot your computer when a program isn’t working, or even apologize to a client when you make a mistake. I’m a bit of a perfectionist in some ways, and it was frustrating to feel like I was falling short of what I wanted to be producing.
However, this is just part of the journey! You have to work hard to get where you want to go! And you learn from every mistake you make. I tried to keep my focus on what I wanted in the future rather than focusing on the present. And every time something didn’t go the way I wanted, in art or business, I tried to learn from it and see how I could prevent it in the future. Eventually things get better and you get better and you become a more resilient person by putting in the hard work to make something from scratch!”
How have you managed business growing pains?
“As my business has grown I have had some growing pains for sure. I could no longer keep up with doing everything myself. I didn’t want to work 60-70 hours a week. I wanted more flexibility to do what I did best. So I needed to outsource some things.
I hired a virtual assistant, Erika, which ended up being one of my best business decisions. I think a lot of people can become protective in their business and want to micromanage. But I think it is useful to take an honest look at where your skills lie. Because bringing people onto your team can do more than just give you more time. But if you find people who’s strengths compliment your weaknesses, it will also help to make your business better and allow you to grow more than you could yourself.
I got into this business because I loved the art aspect of it. But overall design and layout is not my strongest suit, being totally honest. But my VA is a great designer in her own right so I can trust her to help with design and to bounce ideas off of her. She’s been working with me for over a year and a half now and it’s been wonderful. I also hire part time help during my busy wedding season to help with assembly. Or I get help from my Mom, being totally honest. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or raise your prices (or both) if you are feeling overwhelmed.”
Teach Us Something!
“We can all struggle with comparison. But comparison is a thief of joy. My mom had the best advice when it comes to keeping yourself grounded and humble without becoming discouraged.
You should never think too much of yourself or too little. There will always be someone better and further along than you, and someone who doesn’t know as much and is a little behind you in the journey. Don’t try to be the best, and know you are not the worst. Be content with where you are.”
- Favorite animal? “Ha! This is a fun one. I have a lot. I’ve been an animal person ever since I was little. My favorite animal, as a child was the Cheetah. I also love Praying Mantises. I like bugs and snakes and all the things. But my favorite animal in all the world is my dog Atlas!”
- Favorite Artisaire Sealing Wax color? “I love antique gold. It is my go to because it looks good with almost any paper color! And it is a close match to Ph. Martin’s Copperplate Gold Ink which makes matching calligraphy to it a breeze!”
- Favorite place for inspiration? “Probably used bookstores. I like to look at old books and vintage illustrations. I like to see pretty book cover layouts and calligraphy specimens. But also nature! I love illustrating botanicals and always find inspiration from walks outside or visiting flower shops.”
Thank You So Much, Ciarra!
Thank you Ciarra for sharing your story and journey with us and all of the Artisaire PRO Partners! We loved learning more about you! Be sure to connect with Ciarra on Instagram here!
The Artisaire Pro Team