Today, we are singing the praises of the gorgeous and talented Stefanie Stroman of Stroman Studios Calligraphy. Stefanie reached out to us about updating her brand imagery in February and the three of us just clicked from the moment we first sat down together.

Stefanie was the girl in school everyone nominated for “prettiest handwriting”. Flash forward about 5 years and she decided to turn her “pretty handwriting” into a side hustle. Essentially if something can be written on, engraved, burned or etched, she can personalize it for you! (Just take a peek at her Instagram feed to see what all she can do! Seriously – everything from mirrors to cookies!) While she still takes on custom project requests for Bible verses, graduation certificates, or wedding vow prints, these days, she primarily focuses on three specific areas of her business: 1) on-site lettering events for brands, 2) teaching others the art of modern calligraphy, and 3) providing envelope addressing, place card and rental signage services for weddings throughout North and South Carolina. (Y’all – these mirrors are unmatched! Kinda makes these two old married ladies want to grab our hubbies and renew our vows, just so we can have some of these mirrors created!)

Our goal for this shoot was to create a robust and cohesive collection of headshot and lifestyle images and video content that would help promote the process and value of her offerings, particularly as it related to her mirror/signage rental services. It was important to all three of us that the imagery reflect her personality and approachability, as well as the elegant and professional way in which she represents her brand collaborations.

From the minute you meet her, it is clear that Stefanie is a girls’ girl! She is the long-time best friend you didn’t know you were missing. She is focused, smart, genuine, and oh so fun. While she is the epitome of a boss babe, she values community over competition in every aspect of her life and business (SPOILER ALERT: You’ll see that in her own words below!). It is important to her to not only succeed in her own business but continuously encourage others as they chase their dreams – and that is exactly the story we wanted these images to tell for her!

Y’all – we can not with these images! When it came time for Stef to step in front of the camera…girlfriend CAME TO PLAY! Stunning doesn’t even begin to cover it!

From a photographer’s perspective, Stefanie was an absolute DREAM client! She had clear ideas on what she did/did not need in terms of imagery, but was also open to our creative input. She was all in on our collaborative process from our initial Meet & Greet coffee to our final pre-shoot strategy meeting. As a result, when shoot day rolled around we were all on the same page and that shoot ran like clockwork from The Frame all the way to the exquisite Ballantyne Hotel.

But, enough about what WE think! Let’s let you hear directly from Stefanie. We asked her a series of questions designed to help our audience get to know her better, specifically as a small business owner. Here’s what she had to say:

What does your company do? What makes your service or product unique and notable? Everyone’s handwriting is unique. No two will ever look the same. Stroman Studios Calligraphy is notable in that it provides that special, personal touch everyone is craving when gifting or celebrating something.

What inspired you to create your business? What draws you to the clients you serve? What would you like to share about the impact you hope to have? I have always been obsessed with lettering and different font styles. My interest in creating my own business peaked when my friends started getting married and were in need of envelope-addressing services. I knew, growing up in the South, that wedding calligraphy was something I could find a lot of success in. I started by agreeing to complete my best friend’s wedding invitation envelopes for $0.75/each. I will always be my own worst critic in this way but phew! They turned out ROUGH and I learned a whole slew of lessons in the process of completing those. But I was determined to get my business off the ground. I took a photo, posted it on Facebook, and built this business one order and one failure at a time until I found success.

What, if any, books would you recommend to people in your niche or books that you just generally love? Modern Calligraphy by Molly Super Thorpe

Are there any resources or assets (software, apps, courses, etc) that have really helped you uplevel your business? My top used Apps for business are Google, Canva, Outlook, and Instagram.

What would you say is the main thing that has helped you grow your business? This could be a personality trait, a mindset, an event, etc. I believe that what has leveled up my business is listening to podcasts during my daily walks or while I’m completing an envelope order. I listen to motivational, small business-oriented podcasts several times a week. It motivates me. It helps me stay focused on growth and always on my toes learning from other people’s experiences and considering what small changes could make a huge difference.

If you started your business over today, what would you focus on first to help you grow? If I started Stroman Studios Calligraphy over today, I would completely shift my focus. What I’ve learned the most in the past 11 years is that it is not beneficial to go into business focusing on how much money I could make. I’d focus on building relationships instead. With customers, with other wedding vendors, with fellow calligraphers online, and anyone who would be willing to share part of their life and their story with me. The money part has always figured itself out. So today, I just focus on community instead and, to be honest, that’s the part that makes my heart the happiest anyway. Stay true to who you are, focus on growth in your network and community, be relentless in your pursuit to let others know who you are and what you do and the rest will fall into place.

What is the best business advice you have ever been given? See the previous answer. But also, “Instead of focusing on finding the dollar, focus on stacking dimes”. This means, don’t sit around looking for the million-dollar idea. Instead, put into action a bunch of smaller ideas simultaneously and you will watch your bank account grow.

What is your favorite mantra? “Be fearless and everything will fall into place.”

What was your absolute biggest challenge prior to doing a personal branding shoot? My business had been on cruise control for quite some time. I knew that if I wanted to upscale, I needed to upscale my online presence from headshots all the way down to asking my clients to leave reviews. It was time to level up and a branding shoot had been at the top of my to-do list for too long.

How did that challenge make you feel? I’m always motivated by a challenge. So I was inspired, excited, and ready to see what was next for Stroman Studios Calligraphy.

What changed after getting/using your images and videos? I immediately used the photos to give my website/social media pages and Google business page the facelift they had all been craving for such a long time. Simultaneously, I sent some of the photos as well as videos that we created to my digital advertising team. They began running Facebook and Instagram ads with the goal of growing the wedding rental signage leg of our business as well as informing other North and South Carolina wedding vendors of our services.

What specific results can you share? My branding shoot was completed in March. It is June. We only have 2 more weekends left available in 2023 for wedding rental signage and a few booked for 2024 already. This branding shoot in combination with running specifically targeted ads on social media has significantly grown my business this year. I have more than quadrupled the original investment I made into this branding shoot. I have many plans of different ways I can continue to use this content to grow other areas of my business such as creating a pitch deck for Luxury Lettering On-Site Branding Events as well as writing and publishing my own Introduction to Modern Calligraphy workbook.

How was your overall experience working with us? Choosing Harmonie House was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. When I began researching photographers in the Charlotte area, it was really important to me that there would be some preparation for this branding shoot. I didn’t feel comfortable making such a large investment into the growth of my business not knowing if the finished product would be able to serve its purpose and more importantly, tell the right story to my audience. After my first meeting with the Harmonie House team, hiring them was a total no-brainer. In fact, my favorite part of the entire process was the preparation: the meetings, the vision board, the open communication, the checklists before the shoot, and even a timeline of our photoshoot day – they had it all covered. When our photoshoot day arrived, we were able to show up, get it done and have fun in the process because we were prepared, we were all on the same page and when we walked away, we all knew that what we created that day was just the magic that would spark the business growth I was hoping to achieve. Mission Accomplished.

Thanks, Stefanie! You said it best – we truly created MAGIC together! To get a peek into the white glove service Stefanie provides with her custom signage rental process, please check out this product story video we created for her brand.

Please check out all of the ways Stefanie puts her talents to use on her website here. Also, give her a follow on Instagram at @stromanstudioscalligraphy to stay in the loop on her services and collaborations, as well as a daily dose of her lifelong best friend style.

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