Charming Chalker - The Independent Tees Collective

23 May 2021

Source: Charming Chalker

While the pandemic has been a horrible time for a lot of people, it actually helped me discover so many new businesses. In between furlough and quitting my job, I had time on my hands to browse social media and actually check out people's recommendations. This is how I came to discover today's Indie Tees Collective feature, the amazingly talented Charming Chalker.

First and foremost, Kerry, the lovely lady behind Charming Chalker is an artist. I always have such an admiration for those who can master the art of calligraphy, and she does it so beautifully. But then she turns this artwork into products for people to buy, either with bespoke designs or using her own creativity. All the lettering is hand drawn, which makes her highly unique and a force to be reckoned with, and I love seeing everything she comes out with. Make sure you read this post to get a little more acquainted!

Hello! Let's start with a bit of an introduction. Who are you and what is your business all about?

Hello! My names Kerry and I run Charming Chalker - If I had to sum up my business in one word it would be calligraphy! It started off with event signage for wedding and now I put my lovely lettering everywhere - cups , doormats , t-shirts… nothing is safe!

Source: Charming Chalker

Where did the inspiration for Charming Chalker come from? What made you want to kickstart it?

I’ve loved calligraphy for a long time and a few years ago my partner bought me a calligraphy set. I used to work night shifts answering 999 calls and when it was quiet, I would sit and practice. The catalyst for the business was when I got engaged - I started to think about my own wedding signage and noticed there didn’t seem to be anywhere in Teesside offering chalkboards that were my style. From there, I made an Instagram and Charming Chalker was born! I guess my ethos will always be around offering affordable products, whether it's wedding signage or a t-shirt, I would never price something that I wouldn’t be willing to pay myself.

Which of your products is your favourite to make?

Ahhhh this is such a hard one it feels like I’m picking my favourite child! I would say that wedding signage is one of the most stressful things and time intensive things to make, but the most satisfying things at the end knowing it's part of someone's big day. But my favourite favourite is dog tees - I get to receive pictures of people's dogs as part of my business - how amazing is that?

Source: Charming Chalker

Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?

Honestly, most of my designs come from what I personally love, so what you see on the website is a big reflection of my personality. Things like the dog tees, the antisocial club tee, and those glass travel mugs are things that I would wear or use every day. One of our best sellers, the ‘small business’ tote, was born after I was trying to balance too many parcels at the post office, so inspiration is everywhere. I feel like it’s really important to be authentic - if I spent time trawling Instagram for inspiration, I feel that I would fall into the dangerous game of potentially drawing up designs that are similar to others

What do you enjoy most about running Charming Chalker?

It has to be the customers, especially those on Instagram. Instagram can be a really stressful place sometimes, but you tend to build up a relationship with followers whether they’ve bought from you or not - they may reply to your story or offer advice on something I’m chatting on stories about, and I just think how amazing it is that they’ve taken time out of their day to sit and chat with you.

What has been Charming Chalker's biggest achievement so far?

It’s probably a small achievement for other businesses, but my biggest achievement is definitely the website. I never in a million years thought I would actually need one, but I was so busy over Christmas trying to take orders through messages that a website was the only way to really move forward, and it's been a game changer!

Source: Charming Chalker

What do you love about the Teesside independent scene?

It’s so funny because if you had asked me about the Teesside independent scene before Charming Chalker I would have said ‘ what scene?.. there’s nothing here’ - how wrong I was! I love the fact that for the most part it seems to be a ‘community over competition’ with a personal favourite being the small Teessiders markets. You always see people doing collabs and sharing each other's businesses, and I think it's amazing to be a part of it! I love seeing new businesses pop up in Teesside, and always try and make the effort to support them because it's great to see more diversity. Although on a personal note... my favourite part of the Teesside independent scene is any small business that sells a parmo!

What's next for Charming Chalker? What do you hope for the future?

It’s so hard to say. Pre-pandemic, I was primarily doing wedding and business signage. I never even dreamed of branching out into the products I sell today and having a website... it feels insane! I think the next thing on my list is likely to be cards and prints - it feels a bit odd that I haven’t gone into those sooner! In terms of the future I’d love to do a few more collaborations with other small businesses in Teesside!

Source: Charming Chalker

And finally, recommend one other Teesside independent to us!

Ahhhh this is by far the most difficult question of all! I’m going to go with the last independent I bought from which is Bloom & Birdie. I got a gorgeous scarf, headband, and a pair of earrings from her. This business is a new one ran by Sam and I am already obsessed!

As Kerry mentioned, she's set up her very own website, so you can shop online or request something bespoke. You should also make sure to check her out on Instagram (she's always on her stories and showing behind the scenes of drawing up designs) and Facebook.
Make sure you check back next week for another incredible Teesside independent!

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