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Interview with Ethan Saunders, Owner of Ink & Quill Calligraphy Studio in Portland, Oregon
1. How did you first become interested in calligraphy?
My interest in calligraphy began during my college years. I was studying graphic design and stumbled upon an antique calligraphy set at a local flea market. I immediately fell in love with the intricacy and beauty of calligraphy and began teaching myself the art form.
2. What inspired you to start your own calligraphy studio?
After practicing calligraphy for several years, I realized that there was a growing interest in the art form. I saw an opportunity to share my passion with others and provide a space for people to learn and practice calligraphy. That's when I decided to open Ink & Quill Calligraphy Studio.
3. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when starting your business?
One of the biggest challenges was finding a space that was affordable and had enough room for workshops and retail. Additionally, building a customer base and getting the word out about my studio was a slow process. I also struggled with managing finances and keeping up with inventory.
4. How did you overcome those challenges?
I had to get creative with my space and ended up renting a smaller storefront that I was able to transform into a charming and cozy studio. I also utilized social media to build my customer base and began partnering with other local businesses for events and promotions. As for finances, I eventually turned to Shopify to help streamline my online sales and inventory management.
5. Can you describe how Shopify has helped with your business?
Shopify has been a game-changer for my business. It has allowed me to create an online store that seamlessly integrates with my physical store. I can easily manage inventory, process orders, and track sales all in one place. The customer experience is also fantastic, as they can order online and pick up in-store at their convenience.
6. What has been the most unexpected success of your calligraphy studio?
The most unexpected success has been the demand for our workshops. We started offering introductory calligraphy classes once a month, and they quickly sold out. Now we offer a variety of workshops and classes throughout the month and they fill up within days of announcing them.
7. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own calligraphy business?
My advice would be to stay passionate and never stop learning. Attend calligraphy conferences and workshops, network with other calligraphers, and always practice. And don't be afraid to take risks and try new things – it may just lead to unexpected success.
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