This week, we chatted to Lauren of The Blackline by Lauren, an incredibly talented calligrapher and hand lettering illustrator based in Sydney. Lauren spared a few moments to give us a glimpse into her fun and stunning world – it’s a mix of gorgeous calligraphy and uber-luxury brands!

(Photo credit: Laura Marii)

OC: Where are you and what time is it?

I’m in my studio in Surry Hills and it’s time for second breakfast & coffee (10:30am)

OC: Tell us a little bit about what you do.

I’m a self-taught freehand calligrapher, which sees me producing calligraphy & hand-lettering work for luxury high-end brands, commercial & wedding clients, or private clients requiring tattoo artworks & bespoke pieces. As the business has grown, and I’ve continued to stick to my “say yes & Google” philosophy, my role has evolved to also include creative consulting, public speaking and teaching calligraphy across the country in creative workshops.

OC: It feels BIG, but what does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?

In all honesty, I have mixed feelings about the word “entrepreneur”. I feel like it got slightly soiled when it became a buzzword and attained a gloss that I don’t think real entrepreneurship is defined by. For me, entrepreneurship is gritty and treacherous and entrepreneurs are born problem solvers who solve gaps in the market in the presence of great risk. For that reason, I think of being an “entrepreneur” as a character trait, not a job description or title.

OC: You open your eyes, take a deep breath, what morning rituals do you have that get you moving to meet the sun? 

I’m a morning person so once I’m awake; I’m well and truly awake. Within the first 5 minutes of waking up I’ve generally jumped on social media and responded to what has happened overnight because it allows me to have achieved something before I’ve even rolled out of bed. Then I relax over a leisurely breakfast, a book and coffee before getting ready, catching the train and walking to work.

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OC: WE ARE STALKING YOU {in a loving, not creepy way} – what will we see in your regular day to day?

Because of the quick turn around times in my business, I have to be highly responsive and try to keep my schedule as fluid as possible – but in the chaos, I’m sure you’ll see emails, ink sessions and flower-filled flat lays happening.

OC: What’s the biggest brick wall you’ve scaled in business, and how did you do it?

I have never been a fan of the financial side of business or financial matters in general. The business started out as a side hustle so I didn’t worry too much about having infrastructure (or knowledge) in place to deal with the business growing. I just knew I had to sell things for more than it cost to make them. But as the business grew and scribbling became my full-time gig it started to become an issue. I couldn’t see top-level data on how the business was tracking – I literally only had my bank balance to go by and had to face the fact that if I wanted the business to grow I’d have to learn what I could and delegate the rest. Now I work with an incredible bookkeeper and accountant and I’m on Xero. I’m learning new things all the time and I can only say I wish I’d delegated earlier.

OC: What’s your coffee religion and how do you worship?

I love percolated black coffee and I usually drink it at home but when I do drink coffee out, I like it to be somewhere beautiful in which I can be equally inspired by the space – I like coffee drinking to be more of an experience than a routine.

OC: EPIC books + podcasts that have blown the matrix of your mind?

Things a Little Bird Told Me” – by Biz Stone – whilst being hilarious & relatable this book helped me when I was struggling with imposter syndrome and the entailing confusion about what I was doing & how I got there.

OC: Insta quote that has you stroking your white cat + planning world domination? 

Eek cats!  My go-to is ‘Love her but leave her wild’ – Atticus. It has nothing to do with world domination but it leaves me feeling empowered.

OC: You get your very own misty, dream sequence in a movie of your life, where 3 people alive or dead come to you like the ghosts of the Christmas past, present, future – who makes the cut?

Oscar Wilde, Emma Watson and Matthew Goode when he was single.

More on The Blackline by Lauren

The Blackline by Lauren creates stunning type and calligraphy for some incredible luxury brands – Tiffany&Co, Patron, Spell, Tag Here and Audi to name a few. She also is involved in weddings and hosts a number of calligraphy workshops – that are always sold out! She’s one busy lady.

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