“Ever since I can remember, like probably elementary school, people have always told me that I have nice handwriting.” Though she’s quick to point out that handwriting isn’t the same as calligraphy, Carole thinks that praise may have influenced her to pick up her art later in life. “I was planning events for my fraternity, and you know as a college student we DIY a lot of stuff. So I ended up designing posters and flyers, things like that, and I started getting more into hand lettering.” From there she discovered calligraphy communities on the internet, and taught herself lettering by watching online tutorials.
Now Carole runs her own calligraphy business, Carole Lola, working with clients to produce custom work and selling prints on the side. She takes on all kinds of calligraphy work, from designing tattoos to handwriting poems, but her biggest clients are weddings and companies putting on events. She’s been hired by corporations like Tiffany & Co., Hyatt, and Anthropologie to do live personalized calligraphy for customers. At one event, she managed to personalize 300 luggage tags in four hours (though she had to make sure to massage and ice her hands to keep them nimble).
Carole says that running a business by herself is a lot of work. She estimates that she spends 70% to 80% of her free time on Carole Lola, whether she’s planning, designing, or doing back-end work like taxes. Still, that experience has helped give her excellent time management skills, and she enjoys what she does. “The act of creating is really exciting for me,” Carole says, and she likes hearing from clients who appreciate her work. In the future, she’d like to figure out how to incorporate more of that creativity into her job at Earnin.
Photo by Maishoua Kim