We can’t help but think calligrapher Meg Grant is a girl after our very girly, girl heart. She’s a calligrapher aka instagram gold and she lived in Paris. See what I mean? We knew we’d be friends. After a stint in Paris and having a very successful first career, she became a mama and decided it was time for a change. Calligraphy has always brought her joy, so that was a logical next step. We sat down with Meg to talk about her journey to starting a calligraphy business, how she made her house a home for son Berdon after a divorce, and she shared one tip that took her business to the next level. Photography by Ailee Petrovic
Tell us about the journey to starting your own calligraphy business.
I always knew I wanted to work in some form or fashion, even after having a child. Once Berdon was born, I knew for my own personal growth that I wanted to cultivate my passions, but I also wanted to be a formative and active part of his life. Calligraphy has always been something that has brought me joy and happiness to others, so while he was a newborn I really gave some thought to seeing if this was something I could really do: finding satisfaction in myself and as a mother. And voila, the company as born.
Tell us all about living in Paris.
…wow, that is a hard question to answer, not for a lack of material but for a lack of time … how long do you have? My time in Paris has thus far, been one of the more pivotal turning points in my life and forever changed the direction of where my life would go. I always wanted to get my advanced degree (i.e. And MBA or Masters of some kind) … and it was a dream come true when I found the ESSEC MBA Program in Luxury Brand Management. I lived in the 6th arrondissement, above Yves Saint Laurent and across from the San Sulpice church. I spent my days studying the ways of luxury a la the era of Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent himself and all the founding members of their brand, by afternoon and night, my roommate and classmates would embrace the Parisienne culture … naturally frequenting our favorite cafe, sipping on Sancerre and seeing life through rose colored glasses. But truly, Paris isn’t for the faint of heart, you have to have some gumption to get the French to embrace you. But once you are taken in, you are family forever. One of my favorite memories was our apartment had an inner courtyard, and one of the tenants across from us was a violinist. Given the lack of air conditioning, we would leave our windows open, and often, she would be practicing her violin and we would listen for hours as her melody echoed through the courtyard.
Sounds dreamy! How did your business grow from being an idea to a real business? Any tips for our readers who want to take their ideas to the next level?
That’s a good question … actually, what really helped me is I hired a brand specialist, her name is Bonnie Joy Marie from B is for Bonnie. She helped me through the branding process to think about what my goals and visions were and then created a roadmap for me in setting up my company. I think enlisting the help of those that specialize in branding and startups is a great way to begin … the guidance and aid really helped me get on track and figure out what were the priorities when setting up a business. Also, a good business attorney is a must!
A lot of our readers are on the brink of starting their own business. What were some challenges you faced starting your own business? Any advice you wish you knew?
Pricing to me was very hard. Because I was new, I wasn’t sure if people would pay for my services at a certain price point. But then if I started too low in the beginning, then I might never be able to increase them over time. Other challenges were just weathering all the mistakes and things you have no idea what you are doing. In particular, getting a project that you really want but really is a little out of reach for your skill set. It is terrifying yet motivating to push yourself and believe you can do it!
Where do you draw design inspiration for your calligraphy?
I find that I go through phases, leaning towards messy brush script or doing a 180 and having very bubbly feminine writing. For me, it’s just about playing … lots and lots of playing and messing up. Giving yourself time to just be creative … away from deadlines and any rules … just seeing what comes out on the paper. But of course, I draw inspiration from those that I really admire in our world … people like Jenny Sanders of Graceline, or A Fabulous Fete … and many more.
Tell us about your son’s name, Berdon. We love it!
It is a family name from his Father … Charles Berdon Lawrence III … it is from a town in Germany. His grandfather goes by Berdon and his father goes by Charles, and I am such a fan of family traditions and names that I didn’t think twice about continuing the legacy of the name. So hence, Berdon … it can be a mouth full for a little kid sometimes but he wears his name well!
Any pearls of wisdom for balancing motherhood and running a business?
Self-compassion! Truly, it is so important to remember to be kind to yourself. Because most days I feel like if I am working too much I am neglecting my son, and if I am not working enough I am neglecting myself. So I try really hard to find a lot of self-compassion and realize that all I can do is try my best that day and every day. And I think it is really important to realize, at least for me, that “balance” changes daily and depends on the needs of my son and my work. I’m constantly adjusting.
How, when and where do you find time for a wellness routine or even just a few minutes of quiet?
I don’t know about quiet … I’m not a very quiet person (haha). But wellness is a top priority for me. I work out normally 6 days a week. For me, exercise is my form of meditation. It allows me to think clearer and release stress. I do a variety of workouts, but I normally practice yoga at Big Power Yoga in Houston 4-5 days a week and then I also add SoulCycle, Orange Theory, and personal training with my trainer Jordan. I take physical wellbeing very seriously.
Every house has a story to tell. What’s yours?
The story of my house is one of rebuilding. My house represents the starting of a new chapter in my life – a life after divorce and a single mother. Buying my house was a very proud moment. After a long divorce, I was ready to have a place for my son and I to start over. I knew I wanted a house that was a home – small, cozy and something we could call completely ours. A space where he could be a kid and I could fill it with the memories of him and I. This house is a rebirth for me … and a place that I hope my son feels is filled with nothing but love and nurturing.
What was your approach when designing you home?
I wanted a very soothing place … slightly monochromatic to allow a real sense of flow and cohesiveness throughout the house. Interior design isn’t my forte but I am quick to recognize when I need help. So I enlisted the help of my dear and incredibly talented, Alex Stillwell. She was able to take my idea and vision and turn my house into the serene oasis I have always wanted.
What’s next for Meg Grant & Co?
That is a great question! Definitely working on wholesale products, given my audience who might not have a need for fully custom work, but love my style. I recently launched cutting boards, coasters, and gift tags on my site, and plan to launch more wholesale style products throughout the year. I would definitely love to do some collaborations with some of my favorite lifestyle brands and creating some DIY posts that my audience can take and do at home.
Meg Grant is a Houston-based calligrapher. After completing an MBA from ESSEC in Paris, France, Meg worked in luxury brand management before changing course and turning her efforts to a creative passion, calligraphy. She has been featured in Modern Luxury,Paper City Magazine, and frequently collaborates with Houston blogger House of Harper. For more on Meg, follow her on instagram at @meggrant.co