We caught up with Joyce of Artysynibs (@artsynibs) in her stunning home studio to find out more about her journey to becoming a full-time calligrapher, and realities of managing her business. Having taught classes across Europe from London to Vienna, she's settled found a space to call her own while expanding her business and sharing her two cents on how to value yourself as an individual entrepreneur.
Joyce wears the Revolve Earrings
How did you start your calligraphy journey (how long have you been doing it for as a hobby, and how long full time)?
I first picked up the calligraphy pen in 2012 when my husband introduced it to me. Surprisingly, I took to it like fish to water. It wasn’t until 3 years later that I decided to turn it into a full-time business.
Joyce in the Renegade Earrings
Was there a lightbulb moment that you realised you could take this further from a hobby to a full time job?
Kind of... My journey is slightly different because I never had that transition of moving from side to full-time hustle. I had already left my full-time job then and relocated to England, so I was thrown into the deep end of trying to figure out what I could make a living out of with the skills I had at that time. But the exact lightbulb moment that I’ll always remember is - that intentional act of sitting down to assess the “cards in my hands” and realising that I actually had a skill that was in demand.
How did you find your first client / any advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs to find theirs?
I just spoke to people. As many people as I could. Because I was the “new kid in town”, I basically walked up to people, sent emails or DMs. I’d say - don’t underestimate the power of connecting with people authentically.
How has working for yourself over the years shaped you and even while working for yourself, have you ever found yourself in a rut and had to shake things up?
It’s definitely allowed me to learn a lot about myself - how I work, why I work, what excites me to work and etc. I think that’s brought on the biggest change in perspective from this experience. Creative ruts are like my good friends by now. So when I encounter one, albeit frustrating, I learnt to take it as a sign of exhaustion and insert a period of rest. It’ll be a time where I can fully immerse myself into creative pursuits that won’t make me money.
What made you decide to change from teaching calligraphy to training others how to teach calligraphy?
I’ve been teaching calligraphy for 6 years now and honestly, I’m quite surprised that I’ve done it for this long. I’m the sort who needs to switch things up every couple of years and 2020 was a year of deep reflection. The massive upheaval that shook up led me back to WHY I do what I do. And I’m thankful that I came to the conclusion of teaching - one of the few things in life that I’m very certain about. Coupled with the fact that I refused to be defeated by the pandemic and whatever pre-existing challenges, I decided to pivot and take a path that no one has gone down before.
What struggles do you face being in the creative industry and your journey towards valuing your skills and your workshop?
One of the biggest ones is confidence. No matter what we create, we are putting a part of ourselves in that creation. Running it as a business means you constantly have to put your creations out there, this is a very vulnerable position to be in. You are putting yourself out there for the world to judge. And it hurts when people don’t like it. But I’ve learnt to not take things personally and that’s given me the confidence to focus on the direction I want to go in.
What are you most proud of that you would tell your younger self?
Younger Joyce, you will one day build a business doing what you love and being unapologetically you!
Shop our latest collection on The Ordinary Co