Local calligraphy writer gives invitations ‘touch of class’Written by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Brown, the scribe behind Signature Scribe & Silhouettes, picked up the calligraphy pen several years ago but has had no formal training in handwriting.
What began as a way to make a little cash as a stay-at-home mom evolved into a business creating hand-lettered wedding invitations, menus and books as well as everything from a die-cast firetruck for her friends’ children to a family tree.
She officially opened Signature Scribe & Silhouettes last spring, but has been writing calligraphy — or as Brown likes to call it, “vintage handwriting” — for the past four or five years.
She said the wedding invitation is one of the most important aspects of the wedding — one that brides often put off until the last minute. The bulk of her business is being there for brides who have a million other things to do besides those pesky envelopes and invitations.
“People forget sometimes that the invitation is a peek at showing what the event is going to be like,” Brown said. “Brides worry about first impressions. This gives people a little hint of what’s to come, and I think brides would want that little extra touch of class.”
Brown’s lettering is not the gothic style that “you can barely read,” she said. She calls her style “old-fashioned.”
Not a lot of people are in the business. When she started out, she had to research companies in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Cleveland. “There’s not a whole lot out there,” she said.
She doesn’t advertise and relies mostly on word of mouth, Facebook and wedding shows. She attended a budget bridal expo a couple of years ago, and said the experience blew her mind.
“People just love it,” Brown said. “People want to stand and watch me. They are oohing and ahhing. Everybody likes pretty things. [I realized] if I write everyone’s names, then they would probably keep that. So I took my pen and ink and notecards and when a bride would come by, I’d write their names for them. It goes up on the fridge and everybody says ‘Who did that for you?’ So when it comes time for invitations, they’ll think of me.”
Mardelle Shaffer hired Brown for her invitations, signs, menus and more for her September wedding. She had nothing but complimentary things to say about the finished product.
“We were really pleased with everything,” Shaffer said. “It really helped step up the look of everything for my wedding. It made it more classy and elegant, especially for the invitations that set the tone for your wedding.”
Some brides like to put a special twist on the invitation and add a wax seal. One of Brown’s clients used a seal and it worked perfectly, she said.
Brown said she is trying to grow her small business but still needs the flexibility to care for her husband and children, ages 1 and 4.
As she builds her wedding clients, she has been doing other side jobs, including a family tree, the lyrics to a song and a baby book.
“I definitely have room for a lot of growth,” Brown said. “The funny thing is you watch someone do calligraphy, it’s very slow. It’s almost like drawing. I want it to come out like I’m handwriting. It doesn’t take me nearly as long as you would think.”
Brown enjoys Renaissance weddings and believes that’s her market. She’s also there for the bride who “doesn’t want to mess around with the envelopes.”
“You know you have a bunch of other stuff to do and I can have it for you in a couple weeks,” Brown said.