Cove Calligraphy – personalised gifts hand engraved for all occasions in our studio in Dorset.
Knowing that the sea is just around the corner is very inspirational, but does sometimes drag us away from the workbench! Because all of our gifts are personalised by hand, it really feels like we are making something special for all our customers, and that no two items will be the same. We have investigated lasers and big flashy machinery, but we always come back to the traditional methods, and think that the handmade element gives our items a unique look and makes them feel much more personal. Glass engraving and woodburning can be a dusty and smelly business so we wear heavy duty protective filter masks and visors, as well as silicone finger guards so that we don’t burn our fingers. It’s not an attractive look and we have been known to frighten the postman when he comes to collect our parcels!
HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
Cove Calligraphy Ltd was born in the UK and today the team, led by Amanda Franklin-Brown, work from a studio on the Dorset coast.
A few words from Amanda, Designer, Engraver and Company Director:
“It all began many years ago, back in the 1980’s, when my mum and dad were both jewellers, running their own businesses in Middlesex. Their entrepreneurial drive and passion were what made them both so successful, and I am pleased to say that I definitely inherited those traits! At the age of twelve I was helping out as a “Saturday Girl” in my mum’s jewellery & engraving shop, and this is where she taught me the skills that I still use today – hand engraving on glass using a diamond-tipped pendant drill, and burning onto wood using a hot wire-tipped wand. She also encouraged me to study Calligraphy at the local college. I will always be grateful to her for instilling a ‘can do’ attitude in me from a really young age – that feeling has never gone away! Jump forward a few years (spent as a Customer Services Manager at Marks & Spencer, a house painter and decorator, a singer in a band, working in the Sixth Form of a local school, and a PA to the MD of a company building Indy 500 racing cars – a fairly varied career!) and I knew it was time to focus on running my own business – engraving and wood-burning seemed the obvious choice. A customer’s appetite for personalised products has not diminished since the 80’s, in fact it still seems to be growing every day, and I had a skill that was unique…nearly all the companies I could see on the internet were using laser machines, and producing gifts that looked harsh and digital, and although personalised they were somehow impersonal. With my traditional techniques and ability to offer every customer a bespoke item I knew I was onto a winner! Seven years down the line, we are shipping our hand engraved gifts all over the world and are busier than I could have ever imagined. If I could give any advice to that twelve year old girl today, it would be to forget Marks & Spencer and head straight for going it alone – throw caution to the wind and learn to trust your instincts.”
Life is short, but it’s wide.