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Life and Work with Nicole Prettyman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Prettyman.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nicole. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
While I was in school at Georgia Tech for engineering, I took a calligraphy class with some friends. The class was six weeks long and by the end of it, I realized I was pretty good at it. That same year, a few of my friends were getting married and I agreed to help them with their wedding invitations. During this process, I found that I really enjoyed working with brides and helping their wedding visions come to life.

This sparked the start of my calligraphy business, fiftyfourdegrees. Since then, I have been slowly building up my portfolio and learning my style. During that time I have had incredible support from my friends and family, many of whom have ordered signs or wedding invitations. They also are continuously sharing my work and making sure everyone knows what I can do. I have also been lucky enough to have my husband there for me every step of the way as I make sacrifices to do what I love. He’s constantly cheering me on and helping me with projects. I would never have been able to accomplish what I have without all of them.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
All businesses struggle at some point in some way. When I was first starting out, I knew almost nothing about running a business on my own. It also took a long time for me to learn how to digitize, style, use social media effectively, network, streamline my processes, keep track of my finances, all while trying to be healthy and have some semblance of a social life. Let’s just say that the learning curve is very steep.

But, I’ve been able to find amazing community among calligraphers as well other creatives. I’ve made some great relationships with people who have been so willing to answer all of my questions. As the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” I also try really hard to embrace the community over competition lifestyle. My advice to young women starting their journey is don’t be afraid to change the vision for your business if you don’t feel that you or your work align with it anymore. People change so why can’t your business?

So, as you know, we’re impressed with fiftyfourdegrees – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I do mostly custom work so honestly, I will do anything a client can dream up. Although my favorite things to make are pieces that are personal to my clients. I’ve done wood signs with baby names, family names for housewarmings, and wedding maps with details personal to the couple. I also love adding unique pieces to wedding invitation suites. Recently, my favorites have been creating wedding logos. I love them because they’re versatile enough to use in any part of the wedding: I’ve even had someone ask to use it on their dance floor!
One of the other things, I thoroughly enjoy doing is live calligraphy. Most of the time when I’m working on a project, it consists of me alone in my studio. No one sees it during the progress stage. I’ve had the opportunity of doing a few live calligraphy events and they are quickly becoming a favorite. Not only do I get to interact with someone while I do work for them, but I get to share the process with them. There’s nothing that compares to seeing a smiling face after you personally hand over stationery you just made on the spot.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
Personally, I try not to pay too close attention to the media because I think there are plenty of opportunities for women out there. I work a day job in a male-dominated industry. In doing so, I’ve had the chance to notice that women excel in different areas than men. We tend to be more detail-oriented and it takes less direction for us to get things done. Because of this, I think women are well-positioned to take on leadership roles in whatever industry they may be in.

If I could offer some advice to the women reading this: don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If you never communicate that you are looking for a promotion, then your manager can’t be evaluating your work on that level to make sure you get it. So, know your worth, ask for what you want and stand your ground. But always remember: your career is not the most important thing in your life. While you’re busy being a boss babe and taking over the world, please look up from your work every once in awhile and see the world in front of you. Be a friend, travel and love your family.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
noblesparrowphotography, poetryandpaper, kiyahcphotography, laurenlizphoto

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