We have been thrilled to be able to bring Maghon Taylor, calligrapher and hand-lettering extraordinaire, to local Swoozie’s stores. All She Wrote Notes epitomizes what we believe in — the power of the hand-written letter and the joy it can bring to another person or special event. Maghon herself epitomizes so much of the Swoozie’s spirit, too — she appreciates the celebration in the everyday and genuinely wants to “spread happiness.”
Q: We know there are probably so many things that inspired you to turn your creative talent and passion into a business — are there any stand-out moments or things that made you “know” this was the path you wanted to take?
A: When I first launched my business, it was almost by accident. I didn’t have a grand plan or big hopes and dreams, but it didn’t take long for me to just know that this is what I was created to do. The more it grew, I realized that I was given a platform to spread happiness and that is what drives me every day. About three days before I turned in my notice to my full-time job, I had a dream about my Nana who had been a very talented local artist. She passed away when I was in the fifth grade, and I never got to learn from her, but in my dream I was teaching her calligraphy and we were working together. I get teary eyed just typing this, but it was at that moment that I knew without a doubt that I was headed in the right direction and she’s up there cheering me on!
Q: Have you always loved calligraphy and hand-lettering? We know you teach (and are an incredible teacher) but do you still find yourself having to “study” the craft? What do you do?
A: YES! I have been lettering as far back as I can remember! My sweet southern Mama actually spelled my name Maghon (pronounced May-Gun) because it looked prettier to write, so I think I was destined to be a calligrapher. I remember back in middle school priding myself on my handwriting and making cute "good luck" signs for all my friends. In college I began to hand letter chalk boards for money (and coffee), and finally after college I took my very first official calligraphy course. I actually took a very formal course and it didn’t feel like me. I love pink and glitter and confetti and I wanted my style to feel like my personality on the page. I actually made up whimsical lettering that All She Wrote Notes is known for, and I am a big fan of making your own set of rules instead of following somebody else’s.
I am an education junkie so I’m always taking classes to learn different art forms. I’ve taken a dozen calligraphy classes taught by various teachers around the world, and most recently signed up for a brush calligraphy course online. I also love reading books on calligraphy, chalk art and any type of handlettering. I practice often and can drastically see the difference in my handwriting from when I first started. In fact, I often show my students my first set of note cards to show them they are already better than me! I encourage my students to practice each letter individually, such as an entire page filled with the letter S, before branching into words and phrases.
Q: When did you start your calligraphy studio? What is your favorite part about teaching other people?
A: I officially opened All She Wrote Notes in August of 2013. I was running late to book club and made a set of note cards as a hostess gift! (Sadly, I don’t live super close to Swoozies!) The other girls there wanted to buy a set, and they couldn’t believe that I actually wrote the sayings. I went home that night and from my bed, on my iPhone 4, I listed my first item (a set of Southern Sayings Note Cards) online. By that weekend, a lady from New Orleans had made a purchase, and we are still celebrating that sale every day!
I started teaching in 2014 and have loved every second of it from the very beginning! When I first started, I would actually teach in people’s homes (like a Mary Kay party) where they would invite their friends, I would show up with my bucket of supplies and teach all of them calligraphy. Once the local stores and shops caught on, I have been teaching every week all over North Carolina and have had the joy of sharing my favorite skill with more than 1,000 students. My favorite part about teaching other people is encouraging them to spread happiness through their handwriting. When you are making something for somebody with joy or love, your lettering doesn’t have to be perfect. Your heart behind it will shine, no matter what. So often people save calligraphy for a special occasion like they do their wedding china, I believe that LIFE is a special occasion, and you can write something pretty every day.
Q: What are some of your favorite parts of being a business owner? Least favorite/ struggles?
A: I LOVE owning my own business. When I first started All She WroteNotes, I actually worked full time for my alma mater, UNC. I would come home from work and fill calligraphy orders from about 6 p.m. until midnight. I would wake up and run everything to the post office and then go to work and start it all over again. I am so grateful that after two years of juggling both, I now run my business full time.
My favorite part of being a business owner is actually feeling like I get to celebrate with people every day. Whether it is a special occasion, a new baby or a note of encouragement between friends, my customers let me be a small part of their life’s little moments and I couldn’t love that more.
My least favorite part is absolutely shipping! I put so much care into making an item and packing it up cute (with confetti), but once it leaves your hands, you’re no longer in control! Nothing makes me crazier than tracking a package that is due to arrive before a big event! I’ve been known to have a dance party when I finally get a delivery notification.
Q: Advice to people is a tough one — but based on your experience — what is something you’d want to share with all the women looking to make this art part of their life?
A: I would say just to put your work out there! We all started our instagram accounts with one follower, and sometimes it can feel like nobody is listening. But if you continue to share your work and stay consistent, people will take notice. Some of your first customers will be your (and your mom’s) Facebook friends, but they will never know you’re in business if you don’t tell them.
Some of the best business advice that I ever received was from my friend Caroline Birgmann of Posh PR. She told me, “If you are true to yourself, you have no competition in the world.” Don’t be a copy of someone else. You are the best you around, so just be you. If you are truly authentic in the way that you present yourself, your business, and your original work, then you are already ahead of the game.
PS — We still have a few spots in our All She Wrote Atlanta events! Maghon will be at Swoozie's Buckhead 12/7 from 5:00–6:30 and Swoozie's Norcross 12/8 from 12:00-1:30! RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org limited spots available!