By Kelly Wickham
A Chichester business has celebrated International Women’s Day by reflecting on the success of the all women team.
In 1997, Jill Hembling and Kirsten Burke set up their business – built on their love of modern calligraphy.
The Modern Calligraphy Company in Birdham has now been running for 20 years, and the duo have sold more than ten million greeting cards, created large-scale public artworks, written five books and run thousands of calligraphy events for leading brands.
“I hope we’ve helped inspire others to pick up a pen or a brush and to fall in love with calligraphy,” said Kirsten.
“In a fast pace world, this ancient skill, reinvented for today’s generation, has never been more popular and I feel proud and lucky to be part of this exciting and thriving industry.”
Managing director Jill, known as ‘the boss’, has a vast and varied business management background. She has used this knowledge to build and grow the brand. It is her energy, drive and enthusiasm that ensures that every job is met with the highest level of skill, efficiency and professionalism.
Kirsten is a world renowned calligraphic artist. She aims to inspire beginners, enthusiasts and professionals alike. Her calligraphic art has appeared in museums, theatres and in film around the world.
The dedicated team at The Modern Calligraphy Co manage over 50 calligraphers nationwide. They provide calligraphy for branding, sampling, merchandising and live event work alongside beautiful commissioned artworks for corporate and private clients.
Maisie Minett runs the modern calligraphy workshops, as well as training and supporting all the workshop ambassadors.
With her background in creative writing, Jess Hunter is a key part of the team and assistant to Jill. She helps to write many articles, books and press releases on calligraphy as well as updating the website and running bookings for the workshops.
Originally a fashion designer, Amanda Terry looks after the online side of the business – busy answering queries and packing up purchases.
Reports suggest that calligraphy can benefit emotional health. Being creative can help relieve stress and frees up ‘mind space’.
For every stroke you make, you stay focused in body and mind, a state that nurtures the spirit.
It is also said that by practising calligraphy, you will gain patience and sharpen your mind.
Staff member Tascha Relf liaises between clients and the calligraphers that are working their live events. Her background in PR and customer services has come in useful as she ensures every brief is met.
Last but not least, Julie Llewelyn loves a spreadsheet. She has been with the company since they relocated to the south coast. Her background in shipping means she loves looking after accounts, invoicing, and making a list.
Calligraphy is said to have been a popular hobby of Meghan Markle.
The Duchess of Sussex, who visited Chichester in October, 2018, is known to be a skilled calligrapher. She apparently picked up the hobby during handwriting classes in Catholic school, and also did calligraphy to support her early acting career.
Jill said: “Supporting International Women’s Day is really important to us, as we really are a company built on the passion and strength of women.
“We run live events for luxury brands, all over the company and the majority of our calligraphers are working mums as they are able to pick and choose the events that fit in with their own personal circumstances.
“These types of roles didn’t exist when we set up 20 years ago. When I think about where we started and how the companies developed over the years, I feel really proud of what this amazing team of women have helped Kirsten and I achieve for The Modern Calligraphy Co.”
For more information on the business or to book a class, visit: themoderncalligraphyco.com or call: 01243 512845.