Are you a graphic designer, wedding stationer, calligrapher or artist who is just starting their business?
If so, I’m so excited to share this resource list with you! I know that when I first started my business, I felt so lost with where to begin as far as tools and supplies, books, courses, etc., and I definitely wish I had come across a list of resources like this at the beginning.
So, from my favorite apps for scheduling social media to art supplies to goodies for making your office awesome to amazing e-courses and business books, I’ve compiled a HUGE list of all my favorite things I’ve used throughout my years of business! Enjoy :)
I will be updating this list as I continue using and loving new products and resources, so make sure to bookmark this page!
*please note: I only recommend products that I love, use and trust. This post includes affiliate links.
Squarespace is where it’s at as far as websites! It is soooo easy to set up, and their templates are just gorgeous, so you already have an amazing starting point before you even start creating your site. I used WordPress in the past, and always had so much trouble with because I don’t know how to code. With Squarespace, no coding is necessary! Everything is drag and drop, and they have tons of tutorials and amazing customer service if you do get into a snag.
Social Media (Instagram, Pinterest)
Since the products and services that I offer are so visual, Instagram and Pinterest are my main social media platforms that I focus on. Instagram used to be my main source for new clients, but lately that has transitioned to Pinterest, thanks to the amazing Pinterest scheduling tool, Tailwind (more on that below).
There are a ton of Instagram scheduling tools out there (Planoly, Plann, etc.), but I always come back to Later. I just love the interface and how easy it is to plan my posts/captions, and it’s free (unless you want other higher-level features). They also have the most amazing emails that they send out almost daily seriously full of awesome tips for finding success on Instagram (tips for working with the algorithm, upping your engagement, tools for creating amazing Insta stories, etc.), so you should seriously sign up for their email list, regardless of whether you use the scheduling piece of the program or not.
I’m sure you’ve heard how amazing Pinterest can be for your business if you invest some time and energy into it, and my best recommendation for that is to sign up for Tailwind! This amazing tool allows you to schedule your pins in advance so that you don’t have to constantly be on Pinterest. Not only does it save you a TON of time, it measures success of your pins, maximizes your reach, and it’s also super affordable. You can also use Tailwind to schedule Instagram posts as well, so you could schedule both Pinterest and Instagram posts all in the same app!
For client projects, I use this amazing project management system called Dubsado. It’s seriously DA BOMB, and I don’t know how I would run my business without it. I was so lost before this tool, and I can’t recommend it enough. Some of my favorite features are the custom client portal, the custom contract and proposal templates, questionnaires, forms, as well as the workflow feature, and these are reason enough to implement this program into your client and project management. I will do a more in-depth post on how exactly I use Dubsado in my business, but I honestly could not run my stationery and calligraphy business without it!
Get 20% off your first month or year with this link or use code “letterlane” for 20% off at checkout!
As a business owner, you need some way to track your transactions, and I highly recommend Quickbooks Self-Employed. While Dubsado has a transactions feature, it’s not as robust as I would like for my business. So, I went with QB, and I seriously love it. It’s affordable, and their customer service is top-knotch in case you run into any issues, which I have before, and they are always super fast to respond and help me get back on track.
If you don’t want to pay for your bookkeeping software, I highly recommend Wave - it’s free, and works great!
For creating and sending amazing emails, YOU. NEED. CONVERTKIT. It will also help you boost sales of your services and products, which make it a worthwhile investment. I’m currently switching from Mailchimp to ConvertKit, and I can already tell it’s going to be so worth it!
You’ve probably heard this before, but you don’t own your social media following, but you do own your email list, so it’s important to invest your time and effort into the people who have signed up saying that they want to hear from you!
Like I mentioned above, I’m currently switching from Mailchimp to ConvertKit, but Mailchimp is also wonderful, especially if you’re just getting started with an email list, plus it’s free!
The A-Z Directory by Biz Birthday Bash
If you are a wedding stationer, calligrapher or graphic designer, you NEED this vendor directory. I’ve followed the two ladies that created this (Cami Monet and Elisabeth Young), and I can’t say enough good things about this amazing resource! I am constantly referring to this list when I’m looking a for a specific vendor (EX: white printing on vellum??), and it was so easy to find just by clicking on my bookmark for the directory. This thing has saved my butt many times!
Sign up for the Directory here and get 20% off with code “LETTERLANEDESIGN”
The Print & Paper Vendor Guide by Simply Jessica Marie
The Print & Paper Vendor Guide by Simply Jessica Marie is another amazing resource for wedding stationers and calligraphers! Jessica put SO MUCH time and effort into this guide, and it is PACKED with amazing vendors, as well as best practices and tips for working with individual vendors. I always have this guide open on my computer so that I can dive into it when looking a specific type of vendor, plus Jessica’s tips make it so much easier!
BUSINESS & SOCIAL MEDIA E-COURSES
I’ve talked about this before, but I have a serious obsession with learning (as you’ll notice below, with my extensive list of courses/books I’ve invested in). But I’m also a HUGE advocate for learning and investing in your business, and what better way to do that than invest in education?? I don’t know about you, but while college was an amazing experience and all, it definitely did not prepare me for starting and running my own business. Not that I majored in business, but there are just a lot of things you can’t learn from sitting in a classroom.
So, below you will find a bunch of my most favorite courses that I’ve invested in since starting my business. I have seriously learned SO MUCH from these amazing educators, and each of these resources and courses helped me truly propel my business forward and set me up for success.
Before I get into individual educators, I want to mention Skillshare. I cannot even fathom the concept of not having Skillshare when I started my business. They seriously have every course topic under the sun, from starting a business, to marketing, to graphic design, to hand lettering and calligraphy, to watercolor painting. It’s just endless! And it’s so affordable, but with my link below, you can get your first two months FREE!
Pinfinite Growth by Melyssa Griffin
I first started following Melyssa way back when I first started my business, and she has been such an inspiration since. She has an amazing energy for educating and helping others succeed, and her Pinfinite Growth e-course was the perfect addition to my personal course curriculum as I was starting my business. I’ve taken other Pinterest courses before, but I always recommend Melyssa’s over any other. It’s so full of amazing tips and information for making the most of Pinterest for your business, and now that Pinterest is one my main referral sources, I feel like I owe so much of that to Melyssa and her e-course!
Be Your Own CFO by Amy Northard
If you’re like me, your brain does not handle math and numbers very well. I’m a creative at heart, and bookkeeping and finances for my business would have been the death of me had it not been for Amy Northard’s “Be Your Own CFO” course. Amy made bookkeeping for small business so easy to understand and she offers so many valuable tips and information for keeping your bookkeeping running smoothly.
Happy Money by Molly Jacques
I love working with my custom wedding stationery clients, as well as all the fun custom projects I get to work on as well. However, there is a certain cap on the amount of money you can make with just custom work. Knowing this, and after following Molly for many years, I was STOKED when she came out with her e-course all about creating passive income. I just recently finished taking this class, and I was so inspired that I created a huge list of all my ideas for passive income, and on top of being inspired, Molly walks you allll the way through from product idea to creation to product launch to marketing it successfully. If you need passive income in your business, this is an amazing course to add to your arsenal.
Instabreakout by Kelsey Chapman
I recently finished taking Kelsey Chapman’s “Instabreakout” course and LOVED it. She provides a ton of amazing tips for using Instagram effectively, working with (not against) the algorithm, how to increase engagement, and so much more! I’ve already started implementing a lot of her tips and I am definitely seeing a huge improvement in my Instagram account.
Organize & Automate by Nesha Woolery
Nesha Woolery is someone else I’ve followed since I started my business, and she is so inspiring, and so, so smart about business. This course is all about organizing and automate everything in your business, which is something that literally every business needs to see growth. I haven’t personally taken this one yet, but it’s on my list, and I’ve heard so many amazing things!
The Blueprint Model by Shanna Skidmore
The Blueprint Model is all about creating a profitable, sustainable business that allows you to do what you love without sacrificing your your relationships, your health, your finances, or your sanity. I went through this program probably earlier on in my business than I should have (I’d recommend waiting until you’re at least 2 or more years into your biz), but it truly was something that set off so many lightbulb moments for me, as well as helped me truly understand what I wanted out of my business. Shanna is just a beacon of intelligence, honesty and grace, and I think everyone who owns a business needs to learn from her.
The Scalability Lounge with Haley Burkhead
Haley Burkhead is one of those people that just amazes me with her energy, as well as her business smarts. Ever since I came across her on Instagram, I was like “OMG, she’s my favorite! I’m learning SO MUCH right now!” and I can’t recommend her Scalability Lounge enough. She also has an amazing podcast (CEO Vibes), where she interviews other creative entrepreneurs, and it is so wonderful! If you don’t sign up for the Lounge, at least listen to the podcast - you can thank me later :)
WEDDING STATIONERY / CALLIGRAPHY / ART COURSES
The Modern Calligraphy Summit
One of the first big steps I took in my calligraphy business was to take the Modern Calligraphy Summit. You get to learn from the best in the calligraphy world - all about they use supplies, to creating different styles, and more! I think this is easily one of the best educational purchases I first made in my business. Highly recommend!
Calligraphy Business Bootcamp
The Calligraphy Business Bootcamp was a game-changer. It is similar to the Modern Calligraphy Summit in that you learn from a variety of instructors about tons of different topics, but this is geared toward the business side of things. Definitely a great investment if you’re just getting started with your calligraphy business, or if you just want to get a better handle on things.
Pen 2 Press by Jenna Rainey
Jenna Rainey is another of my absolute favorite creative entrepreneurs - she was the reason I became interested in watercolor, and her book (link below in the Books section) taught me SO MUCH about the art. She previously had a custom wedding stationery business called “Mon Voir” and she saw areas in that field where other stationers needed help - so she created this wonderful course called “Pen 2 Press” all about helping artists and stationers create a thriving business. I’ve implemented so many of Jenna’s strategies from this course, and if you’re an artist, wedding stationer or calligrapher, this course is a must-have.
Design House Prep School with Victoria Rothwell
I can’t get over how amazing Victoria at Design House of Moira is. She is always giving the most no-BS, helpful business advice EVER on her Insta stories, and I always make sure that I don’t go a day without watching them. I’ve followed Victoria for a long, long time, and when she launched Design House Prep School, I immediately signed up. She runs the school in semesters (like college), and you can either sign up for individual classes, or sign up for the whole semester’s classes, which includes a discount rather than buying the courses separately. Victoria is so knowledgeable, and so freaking smart, and every single class she offers is GOLD.
SJM Art School with Simply Jessica Marie
I can’t say enough good things about Jessica Peddicord of Simply Jessica Marie. Not only is she the sweetest, most down-to-earth business owner ever, but she offers this amazing art school where you can learn to become a confident watercolor artist. I haven’t personally taken this course, but I wanted you guys to know about it, because I’ve heard wonderful things, and Jessica is just the best.
Making Art Work with Emily Jeffords
I’m currently taking “Making Art Work” with Emily Jeffords, and let me tell you, this is some of the best money I’ve ever spent on a course for my business! Emily teaches how to create a life-giving, profitable, sustainable art business, and every lesson I just consume like it’s candy. She is so knowledgeable and willing to share that knowledge throughout the course, and this is one I am so glad I invested in.
The Stationery Business Roadmap by The Cultivated Creative
Another must-have for wedding stationery designers! Heather walks you through alll the steps of starting a stationery business, the finances and bookkeeping, timelines, proofing, etc., and if you’re just starting out or your been in the business for a bit, this course is perfect for you!
Megan is one of my absolute favorite entrepreneurs to follow. She is so inspirational, and she has the BEST tips on productivity and mindset in your business. Not only does she have an amazing podcast, but she also offers tons of resources and coaching for other entrepreneurs. I just signed up for her new program “Intuitive Execution” and I am SO EXCITED!
I can’t say enough good things about Bonnie. She is literally the sweetest, most inspiring person ever! I joined her 6-month group coaching program, the Heartfelt Brand Society, late last year, and I attended the in-person retreat in February that goes along with the program. It was a group five ladies including Bonnie, and it was absolutely wonderful getting sit in this intimate space with these wonderful ladies that I now call my friends! Seriously the best money I’ve spent on my business.
Laney Schenk with Design by Laney
I absolutely adore Laney. She is so real and honest and inspiring, and she has sooo many amazing resources for other creatives and wedding stationers. Her YouTube channel is LEGIT, you guys - seriously check it out here!
Jessica Peddicord with Simply Jessica Marie
I had a coaching session with Jessica at the beginning of my business, and I learned so much from Jessica in the three 60-minute sessions we spent together. I’ve already bragged about Jessica a bit up above, but she is the best and I highly recommend chatting with her!
Laura Huston Joseph with Paper & Honey
Another awesome lady I had the pleasure of spending some Skype time with at the beginning of my business was Laura Joseph of Paper & Honey. Not only did she get super real with me, but Laura is also super honest, inspiring and she has an amazing sense of humor.
Victoria Rothwell with Design House of Moira
And the last amazing lady I’d like to mention is Victoria of Design House of Moira. I’ve also already talked about her above, but she deserves multiple spots on this list. Like I have already mentioned, Victoria’s no-BS approach to coaching other creatives is seriously the best, and she will give you the kick in the pants, as well the resources and information you need to propel your business forward.
I’ve only attended a couple of in-person conferences myself, but I wholeheartedly believe that to grow your business, you need to make in-person connections. And what better way to do that than gather as a big group of creatives and talk all things business and strategy? I’ve compiled a list of the conferences I’ve either attended or heard amazing things about, but I’m sure that I am missing some, so feel free to let me know in the comments what other conferences should be added to the list!
“So Here’s the Thing…” with Laylee Emadi (putting this one first because Laylee is a good friend of mine, and her podcast is amazing :) I met Laylee at the Heartfelt Brand Society retreat, and this podcast was one of her big goals. I know it was such a huge step for her to create this, so I’m going to help promote it as much as possible!)
Get Back to Design with Krista Rae and Kory Woodard
Here’s a list of links to all my favorite business, artist and calligraphy books! I’ll continue to update this list as I add more favorites to the mix :)
This might surprise you, but I get pretty much all of my art supplies from Amazon! Prime 2-day shipping comes in super handy when I realize that I’m running low on something but don’t have time to run to the art supply store, and sometimes things don’t even take two days to arrive but actually show up at my door the very next day! Here’s links to all my favorites :)
CALLIGRAPHY/HAND LETTERING SUPPLIES
Artograph Light Pad: https://amzn.to/2NewoRg
Dr. Ph Martin’s Bleed Proof White: https://amzn.to/2YlcgOM
Black Sumi ink: https://amzn.to/2FA1WuD
Dr. PH Martin’s Copper Ink: https://amzn.to/2XxMRUK
Dr. Ph Martin’s Copperplate Gold Ink: https://amzn.to/2IQk2e9
Speedball Oblique Pen Holder: https://amzn.to/2IQHzf0
Zebra G Calligraphy Nibs: https://amzn.to/2xchKPB
Elmer’s Neon Bright Paint Markers: https://amzn.to/2Ygvq8f
Molotow White Paint Pens: https://amzn.to/2YgSELm
Sharpie Paint Markers - Black: https://amzn.to/2J3uNZm
Sakura Micron Pens: https://amzn.to/2NcTmIA
White pencils for all surfaces: https://amzn.to/2JeeLfs
Pentel Arts watercolor brush pen: https://amzn.to/2XyyLSR
Pentel Arts assorted tip water brush pens: https://amzn.to/2IOdbSn
Tombow Dual Brush Pens: https://amzn.to/2Jbq1Je
White Italian Carerra Marble Tiles: https://amzn.to/2FzBiSy
Agate Slices: https://amzn.to/2Xa4VER
Rhodia Pad: https://amzn.to/2J3rO36 (awesome for calligraphy practice!)
32lb Laserjet Paper: https://amzn.to/2X6rlae (also awesome for calligraphy practice!)
Tombow sand eraser: https://amzn.to/2IOvkzg
Colorbox White Ink Pad: https://amzn.to/2XtMACl
Lettering Guide: https://amzn.to/2XtBBZB
Borden & Riley Paris Paper: https://amzn.to/2Rz6uq7
Vellum Paper: https://amzn.to/2NdUThC
Watercolor Palette: https://amzn.to/2FxG2IE
Windsor & Newton Watercolor Brushes: https://amzn.to/2YiUZWg
Silver Watercolor Brushes: https://amzn.to/2JdWLS6
Fabriano watercolor paper: https://amzn.to/2XGMMyh
Fan watercolor brush: https://amzn.to/2IPu9zI
Reeves watercolor tubes: https://amzn.to/2RAWM6A
Pencil and Brush stand: https://amzn.to/2Xb6Rgz
Watercolor palette: https://amzn.to/2YenCny
Robert Simmons watercolor brushes: https://amzn.to/2NhbQHV
Simmons/Rowney spotter brush: https://amzn.to/2NtUTKH
Epson Perfection V550 Scanner: https://amzn.to/2J7Peo6
Guillotine paper cutter: https://amzn.to/2J6PovJ
Corner Cutter: https://amzn.to/2X3nxld
Pilot Precise ballpoint pens: https://amzn.to/2JegAZQ
Rollo Label Printer: https://amzn.to/2NtVZWP
Rollo Labels: https://amzn.to/2Yh76D8
Adhesive Dispenser: https://amzn.to/2Npv4vg
Storage bins: https://amzn.to/2YiEjyi
White 6-Cube Storage Shelf: https://amzn.to/2J6zmlC
Book stand: https://amzn.to/2IPgA3q
Phone/Camera Tripod: https://amzn.to/2J7LGSN
Collapsible & Stackable white storage bins: https://amzn.to/2RFpEKP
*please note: I only recommend products that I love, use and trust. This post includes affiliate links.
I hope that this post is helpful for you! Is there anything that I am missing that you think should be added to the list? If so, please let me know in the comments! As I mentioned, I’ll continue updating this list as I encounter new resources for you, so make sure to bookmark this page so you can refer back to it frequently. My email list subscribers will be notified first, so if you want to be notified of updates to this list, just sign up for my email list here! And don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions :)