Have you ever found yourself staring at beautiful handwritten work, wondering how someone created it? Or daydreamed of becoming a calligrapher yourself?
Meet Sanjana Chatlani, the founder of the Bombay Lettering Company. When she isn’t beautifully handcrafting bespoke calligraphy for events and brands, she’s teaching it to avid learners!
Have a read of our chat with her as we find out how she made her passion her profession; her advice for budding calligraphers, and what she loves about jewellery.
1. How did you discover calligraphy? And when did you decide to make a career of it with The Bombay Lettering Company?
Calligraphy happened to me by chance. I’ve always been creative and artistically inclined but never thought I could make it a profession. I was working full-time for a French wine and spirits company Moet Hennessy. I happened to come across a calligrapher writing personalised tags for our gifts. That is when a chord struck within me. I was curious to explore this world. Little did I know that this curiosity would change my life!
For the first two years, I took on calligraphy projects for fun. It was my creative outlet and passion project. It was only at the end of 2018 that I decided to quit my job and go full-time with The Bombay Lettering Company! This was after a couple of months of me refusing work, and also earning a steady income through calligraphy.
2. What has been your favourite project you’ve worked on so far?
I’ve worked on a few great projects that are close to my heart. Being the on-site calligrapher for Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’ wedding was one of the most memorable and exciting for sure! Another was when I was approached as one of the 12 artists to design Google India’s calendar.
3. You’ve done a phenomenal job building your brand in an untapped space. What tips do you have for other creatives reading today who want to grow their brand?
Honestly, it's been an organic journey for me. I do what I love and only focus on that. Everything I do is from my heart, with all my effort.
I think being authentic and passionate about what you do can take you a long way. But as a skill-based creative - it’s imperative to invest in your growth, learn from the best, and take your education and upskilling very seriously.
It’s also a combination of skillset, building a genuine connection with your audience, and marketing the right way.
4. What's your least favourite word to write?
Haha, a tricky one is definitely Mississippi.
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5. STAC is all about the little luxuries and feeling good about the choices one is making.
What little luxury do you treat yourself to?
I have a few things that I indulge in every other day, whether it's a massage at my favourite spa, a glass of my favourite red wine or shopping at one of my favourite brands!
I think it’s important to acknowledge your hard work and treat yourself now and then.
6. What does jewellery mean to you?
For me, anything I wear is an extension of my personality and character. Jewellery is so expressive and elevates your whole look instantly! It makes me feel beautiful, more confident and sometimes even more delicate.
7. What’s a piece of jewellery you own that’s meaningful to you and why?
Apart from pieces my mother/grandmother gave me that hold sentiment and love, a pendant with the word ‘Faith’ hand engraved on it by a master penman and one of my favourite artists Jake Weidman. It was expensive for me a couple of years ago, but I saved up to buy it when I met Jake in the US. The word Faith is something close to me. I truly believe in having faith in the process, the journey of whatever it is we do.
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8. What advice would you give someone who is starting with calligraphy?
Study deeply and correctly with the best teachers you can find. It’s an art form that is so expressive, beautiful and technical. Give it time, patience and a lot of practise because you don't just get good overnight.
9. What’s next for Sanjana and the Bombay Lettering Company?
We just launched The Copperplate Collective, a pre-recorded online course for anyone who wants to learn calligraphy at their own time and pace. It was the first in India and we’re thrilled with the response and love we’ve received.
It's time to now move on to our next big project! Our store is in development with many new products and hopefully, we’ll be expanding more within the space of home decor, framed quotes and personalised gifts!
You can find Sanjana writing up a storm on her Instagram, or at The Bombay Lettering Company.
Until next time,