Jessica Chung l Pretty Prints & Paper
Jessica Chung is not only an accomplished teacher at the University of Minnesota, she has a side hustle that combines her two favorite things in life - teaching and calligraphy to equip her students in hand lettering. At LAB, she teaches Brush Calligraphy with a passion and enthusiasm that excites everyone to start their very own bullet journal.
Can you tell us a bit about your business and how you got your start?
I went to a business school but never thought about owning one myself. Given my passions, I actually pursued a career working with college students and landed an amazing role with the University of Minnesota teaching leadership. But I quickly realized that after spending so much time and energy on work, I needed something for myself. So in 2015 I reconnected with my artistic side by joining the calligraphy and planner communities on Instagram and ignited my practice. I followed what was interesting and it gained momentum to become a blog, YouTube channel, a “hustle,” and then in 2016 I began to teach classes in Minnesota and across the country. Getting to combine my two loves has been really rewarding for me and I’m thrilled to have started teaching at LAB late 2018.
LAB is founded on three key values: connect, create and collaborate. What are your three values?
I LOVE these three values, because there is so much we can do together. I would add equity as a value because if we believe in connection, we also believe in taking care of those who have not been taken care of, because ultimately it does affect us.
How did you get connected with LAB?
As a creative in Minneapolis it didn’t take long to hear about these classes and I took one years ago. It was my dream to be able to teach one myself!
Do/did you have a mentor?
I stand on the shoulders of giants, and believe strongly in giving credit to where it is due. I could write forever about who my mentors are, but to name just a few, I learned about holding steady to my values in my art from Kaytee Crawford (@ahavacreativeco on Instagram), about being a brand that is connected with the whole self from Kayla Hollatz (@kaylahollatz), about resilience through rejection toward your dreams from Alec Fischer (@fischrmedia), and about the nuts and bolts of being an influencer through Bailey (@dailybaileyb).
If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a business, what would it be?
Start before you’re ready. You will build your wings as you are falling and it will be hard but you are absolutely capable. Oh, and start a separate checking account from the getgo.
What is your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?
Reading books that are completely unrelated, like fantasy books (Darker Shade of Magic, please read it!). This break from the usual “inspiration” from Pinterest wakes up the synapses and creates brand new connections that spark something totally different. And I sing a lot in my car.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I would still be doing my day job – teaching leadership to undergrads.
What do you think is the best kept secret in business tools or resources?
I love using Wave. It’s an accounting app that is free and I use it for my invoices and tracking all my transactions. Plus, there’s a phone app where you can take photos of your business receipts that loads right into Wave.
I would letter anything for Constance Wu. But if we’re talking realistic, I’d love to collaborate with social enterprises or nonprofits that are working for racial equity and immigrant/refugee rights.
Favorite place to meet/collaborate in the Twin Cities.
I love to go to Modernwell.
Three Instagram accounts you love to see in your feed.
@messyeverafter – for amazing watercolor, acrylic, and line art
@bymariandrew – for incredibly visceral comics about the depth of life
@catanacomics – because she depicts my relationship with my boyfriend P E R F E C T L Y
What I am watching: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, The Good Place, New Amsterdam, Black-Ish,
What I am listening to: The Choose FI (Financial Independence) Podcast
Where I am traveling: I get to visit my partner in Miami, FL in February and get to teach a study abroad course in Bali, Indonesia in May!