Clair Daley l Hooked Calligraphy
Clair is a modern calligrapher and artist based in Minneapolis. She creates custom modern calligraphy pieces and hand-lettering work for events, parties, weddings, and design uses worldwide. Clair uses her beautiful handwriting skills while teaching Calligraphy LAB - a longtime favorite of LAB’s creative workshops.
Can you tell us a bit about your business and how it got started?
I create custom modern calligraphy pieces for weddings, as artwork, and for digital design uses. I have a BA in Visual Arts so I always knew I wanted to create, but it wasn’t until I took an online calligraphy workshop for fun in 2012 that it sparked a business idea.
LAB is founded on three key values: connect, create and collaborate. What are your three values?
Invent, Personalize, and Spirit.
How do you think living in the Twin Cities has shaped you?
I picked up calligraphy as a hobby when I was living in San Francisco, but didn’t start taking it seriously until I moved back to Minneapolis. I think it was a combination of the extremely welcoming wedding vendor community here who truly lifted me up (hello, Minnesota Nice!), and the long winters that are perfect for cozying up with my pen in the studio, that shaped my career in calligraphy in the Cities.
What is one of the most pivotal decisions you have made for your business?
I used my move back to Minneapolis as the shift to do what I called a “safe leap” - I got a great part time contract job that I could pay the bills with, but I spent the rest of my time each day focusing on honing skills, building my business, and making connections.
How and where do you see growth for your business?
With my time now limited by staying home with my two young sons, my focus this year is to whittle down my scope of work to just what I am truly interested and invested in, which is good for my clients as well! I started my career with strictly wedding work, but have pivoted more towards custom digital designs and unique custom projects, and hope to grow both there and in corporate work in the future.
If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a business, what would it be?
If you are nervous, make a safe leap - have something you know you can do to baseline pay bills in the least number of hours per week, and work on your new business outside of that until you feel confident to make the full jump. But once you start, don’t dwell on small decisions, just make them now to keep the train moving forward - and change later if needed!
What’s currently on your playlist?
St Paul and the Broken Bones, Gary Clark Jr, Paul Simon.
When you were a child, what did you want to grow up to be?
A bus driver, or a cheerleader - I think I still have time to make one of those come true...
What are some everyday essentials that you can’t live without?
Black coffee, iPhone, hugs.
Favorite place to meet/collaborate in the Twin Cities?
One brand you couldn’t live without is _____.
Apple, it’s a love/hate relationship!
What I am reading: Becoming, by Michelle Obama
What I am watching: The Good Place
Believes in: Love
Spirit Animal: Cat
Secret Skill: Synchronized Swimming (not so well anymore, but I was on a team in college)