We had the good fortune of connecting with Gayle and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gayle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was probably not as in depth as some others who begin creative careers! I have worked in a very analytical job in “corporate America” for the past 17 years and discovered calligraphy and hand lettering about 2 years ago. At first, it was something I’d do just for fun, just for me. Practicing daily brought me a lot of joy. But after a while, friends and family started asking me to work on little projects for them. It brought me so much JOY working on these projects, which were essentially custom commissions.

Quickly, I realized… I don’t want to stop creating work for others, and I don’t want to stop learning and experimenting! I love my “day job,” but having this new-found purpose outside of that has been such a joyful experience. I realize I keep using the word “joy” to describe my creative journey into starting my business, but that is genuinely the best way I can describe what I do, and why I do it! I have been so grateful to have a steady stream of clients since I officially started my business in 2021, and I am excited to see where this takes me in the future. I never thought I would be running a business on my own, and it’s still very new to me, but I think my career for the past 17 years has prepared me to put in the hard work, have patience, and remain dedicated to serving others with my whole heart.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art includes a mix of calligraphy, hand lettering, watercolor, and engraving, and I work on many different surfaces – paper, glass, metal, acrylic, stone, the sky is my limit. This started a couple years ago when I bought some basic calligraphy supplies on a whim, and I fell in love with the meditative art of creating beautiful letters. I’ve done lots of different projects, and I cherish every client and every project, no matter how big or small. I love people, and I love my clients, and that is where my business name came from: Letters in Love.

I have come to appreciate how important community is. We all have so much to offer each other! I believe in “community over competition.” Having a great network has provided me opportunities I otherwise would not have had. Just as others have helped me along the way, I also love helping and encouraging others.

The hardest part about starting my business was transitioning from a “hobbyist” mindset, to stepping into, and believing, that I AM a professional artist. My friends and family know that I plan everything! But then, I suddenly had this passion I wanted to share with the world! This happened quickly, so it took me time to make the mental shift into thinking of myself as a professional calligrapher and artist.

One of my personal mottos is, “Do it scared.” This has been instrumental in my creative business. Do any of us *always* know what we are doing? Absolutely not! There have been times when I was (secretly) a little intimidated by a project, but guess what? I did it scared, and it turned out beautifully. Each step forward builds confidence and is a chance to learn. I encourage everyone to “do it scared.”

I’ve also learned two other important lessons: we are our own worst critic, and we never really stop learning (and the more we learn, the more we realize how little we know). My corporate career is analytical. Numbers are precise and perfect. Now working as a creative, I must let go of perfectionism and not over-analyze. This mental shift to being open to making mistakes, learning while “doing,” and allowing myself to freely enjoy the process has brought a lightness into my life and heart that I didn’t know existed before.

If I were to sum up my goal and vision for my business, it would be my business tag line: “Do everything in love.” When you lead with love, the rest will follow.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This area is such a great place to entertain! Being a resident, it’s easy to take for granted how many fun things there are to do, and how many great restaurants we have! Here are some of my favorites, where I’d take an out-of-town guest:

Things to do:
* Dallas Arboretum – there is always something beautiful going on there, even in the off seasons
* GeO-Deck at Reunion Tower – must-see views for any visitor
* iFly in Frisco – exhilarating fun
* Ice Skating, Galleria – I haven’t done this in years, but it’s a favorite pastime I’d love to share with a visitor
* Dallas Aquarium – definitely not just for kids!
* Shopping at Legacy West – nice to walk around and window shop
* Klyde Warren Park – not many parks are built over a freeway!
* Dallas Museum of Art – there is always a great collection to see
* Arbor Hills Nature Preserve – one of my personal favorites to go walking
* Sundance Square (FW) – a smaller downtown area, it’s worth seeing at least once!
* Stockyards – great place to wander around, shop, and work up an appetite
* Southfork Ranch – we would do the house tour, and then a trail ride
* The Star District (Frisco) – another fun area to walk around, shop, and eat

Places to eat:
* Lombardi Cucino Italiana (Frisco) – so many unique items on the menu
* Greek Isles (Plano) – the saganaki is the absolute BEST
* Samui Thai (Plano) – underrated, great Thai food
* Tai Sushi House (McKinney) – the Craig Ranch roll is drool-worthy!
* Rye (downtown McKinney) – small-plates, the menu is always changing, great for sharing
* Reata (Fort Worth) – enjoy a late dinner, and view the lights of Sundance Square
* Red Lantern (McKinney) – the hand-pulled noodles are to die for
* Ida Claire – super-unique, and the food is so good

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am blessed to have a lot of people to thank, who have contributed to where I am today. I have such supportive friends and family, and they have encouraged me since Day One. They have given me constructive input, given me business and website ideas, and have patiently let me show them many, many (many!) versions of countless projects. I would like to especially thank my husband Ryan, my close friends Georgia, Urooj, Alicia, and Lacy, my parents Bob and Janet, my brother Richard, and God. Without them, I may not have had the confidence to start marketing myself outside of, well, them!

Website: http://www.lettersinloveco.com

Instagram: @letters.in.love

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LettersInLoveCo/

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