Coffee Date with Molly Jacques

From designing gorgeous fonts for Great Lakes Lettering to leading calligraphy workshops across the country and working with large names like Nike and Martha Stewart Weddings, Molly Jacques is one busy lady. She would humbly tell you that a large part of her success is by chance, but the proof is in her stunning portfolio. This twenty-something entrepreneur has a crazy amount of talent and after admiring her gorgeous calligraphy and illustration for years (and nearly fainting when I realized that she had been following along with me on Instagram), I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation for an Elle & Company Coffee Date.

It isn't every day that I get to have a Q&A with one of my favorite people in the design field. So today I'm pretending that I'm in Molly's studio, joining her for a nuked cup of coffee and chatting about life, design, and pug drifting (you'll see what I mean). You can join us, too. Meet Molly Jacques! 

What's in your coffee mug this morning?

Coffee, as always =)

What does a normal day-in-the-life of Molly Jacques look like?

A normal day for me usually looks a little like this...

7 AM : Wake up, coffee, take the pups for a long walk and give them a bit of attention. Spend a bit of time with my husband over breakfast discussing what we're doing that day.

8:30 (or) 9ish AM : Walk into my home office and open up my emails. Get back to clients that I'm working with on what WIP will be sent along that day.

9 AM - 12 PM : Work time. I can be found huddled over my sketchbook, scanner, or (a recent purchase) my cintiq companion.

12 PM : Lunch time! Luckily, I work from home so I just head on over to the kitchen and whip something yummy up. This usually involves nuking a cup of coffee from the morning coffee pot. (Let nothing go to waste!)

12 PM - 6 PM : More sketching, revising projects with clients, back and forth via emails, all that fun stuff. My puppies keeping me company all the while.

6 PM - 11 PM : This time is spent differently every single day. Exercise, spend time with friends, eat dinner, walk the pups, brainstorm side projects. Then, bed time!

In design school, I struggled to embrace my own design style. Have you had a similar experience? What advice do you have for other creative ladies about embracing your own individual design aesthetic?

Wow, YES! Design school is such a funny time. I remember always being on this emotional roller-coaster. Entering design competitions, never winning anything, seeing my friends flourish in their illustration skills and their so-called "voice". It was a constant battle of always comparing my work to my peers and always feeling sub-par or lacking vision. Fast forward four years later and now I realize that was TOTALLY normal and exactly what art school is all about. It takes time and patience and perseverance to start to create a visual voice and design aesthetic. Sometimes it comes more quickly to some than others. I feel like I'm just now starting to embrace my individual design aesthetic. It's funny - art school is an amazing community of artists all sharing one space but I think sometimes one's most honest work comes from spending a good chunk of time being alone without the temptation of comparison. 

My advice for other creative ladies is to be patient and gentle with yourself. Realize that you need time to discover your voice and aesthetic and that's okay. Just make sure you put in the work time - or else it will never happen!

What is one thing people might never guess about you?

I'm a total introvert. 100% full blooded. So much so that sometimes I'll go weeks without seeing someone else besides my puppies and husband (ha!). Traveling and teaching flexes my "people skills" muscles - if I didn't teach, I would probably be a hermit.

You were able to turn your passion for art and calligraphy into a successful business at the age of 24. What do you attribute most to your success and what advice do you have for other young, creative entrepreneurs?

First off, let me say how thankful I am to have a job that I sincerely love. Generation Y-ers are constantly seeking their "dream jobs" in hopes of truly enjoying getting up and going to work each day and rejecting what used to be considered a normal job. I'm beyond thankful that I get to do just that. I don't take it for granted (believe me!).

I attribute my success to a variety of things. First - luck (OR divine planning). I was at the right place at the right time. Secondly, authentic love for what I do and human beings. I know, that's kinda taking it far, but bear with me. My love for what I do has driven me to work crazy hard and master a skill set. Without that love for my craft - I never would have put in this many hard hours of practice and dedication. My cousin once told me: "Ya gotta kinda wanna". Great words of advice =)

Moreover, my love for human beings. This is really important. Because I'm an introvert (as I mentioned before) I find that I'm more fulfilled when I have meaningful relationships with people. I'm terrible at small talk and making "acquaintances". When I work with clients or try to reach out to the design community with ideas, I'm always keeping in mind how I can genuinely connect with people at a deeper level. Ultimately, I think this has worked in my favor in building a community around my little brand.

Lastly, I think the fact that I'm always pushing myself to be better and different plays a large role.

In the words of Marty Neumeier: "Don't offer more - offer different". 

Your husband is also an artist. How did you two meet? (And on a scale of 1-10, how good is his calligraphy?)

HA! Cody is terrible at calligraphy (sorry Cody!). If he had an interest in it, I know he would be great at it. I always ask him if he wants to sit in on a calligraphy workshop but I think he just isn't that interested. Which is totally ok - he's amazing at his own craft.

Cody and I met while earning our undergrad degree at College for Creative Studies here in Detroit. He was always an amazing painter during those years and after graduating in the top of our class, he went on to earn his MFA from Kendall College of Art and Design. He now paints full time and teaches two classes at our Alma Mater CCS.

And just for fun, do you have any dog shaming photos and/or recent funny stories of Fievel and Dakota?

Oh dear - our dogs are crazy. We don't have kids yet so we're ridiculously obsessed with our puppies.

Fievel is a pug and Dakota is a golden retriever so the match in breed alone is hilarious (they're BFFs). Cody and I just bought a new house and it has these beautiful wooden floors throughout. For any dog owners who have wood floors in their house - you know how dogs slip and slide like crazy? It's double over here.

Anyways - anyone who owns a pug knows that they get these weird bursts of energy and just like to freak out for a while and then sleep for the rest of the day. I don't even know where he gets his crazy energy but it's hilarious because he sprints around our hardwood floors and drifts corners while snorting like a fully grown pig. When I say drifting - yes, like Fast and Furious.

Needless to say - they keep us entertained.

Follow along with Molly

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Follow along with Fievel and Dakota on Instagram, too.

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