Emma Reum knows how daunting building an online business can be — as a hand letterer and designer, Reum built Etchings by Emma with her own hands. The Chandler local offers personally crafted signage lettering and artwork with a specialty in weddings and events.
While in college at Arizona State University, Reum took up hand lettering, an art form that allows artists to draw letters by hand in stylized ways. The practice began as a creative outlet in 2015 and has since grown into the backbone of her business, Etchings by Emma.
Etchings by Emma, or etchingsbyemma on Instagram, has accrued approximately 14 thousand followers on Instagram and can be located online at www.etchingsbyemma.com. Reum said she has found success in using social media to showcase her work.
“I came up with the business name in 2015, but then I wanted it to be an Instagram account for drawings, like pictures from a sketchbook,” Reum said. “When I took up hand lettering as a creative outlet, I carried the name with me.”
Reum said she really began growing her business after she graduated from ASU, but had another job working as a nanny on the side. A self-described “non-risk taker,” Reum said there were times that she worked far beyond the typical 40-hour work week to meet all of her commitments.
“I honestly pushed it back further than I should have,” she said. “I went full-time with Etchings by Emma late 2020, when weddings started coming back in full force. I would be nannying on weekdays and realize ‘Oh shoot, I have 10 weddings to prep for this weekend.’ That was when I knew that I needed to take the plunge. ”
The first few years of the business were a blur, Reum said, but a key time in building community relationships and skill sets. She now offers custom signs, Christmas ornaments, printable signs and other items.
The website features a Procreate course to teach patrons the basics of the iPad illustration app, Procreate. Also featured is a lettering basics course for $40 that covers 10 printable worksheets and 40 minutes of video lectures.
“I think handwriting is a very personal, creative thing,” Reum said. “I don’t know how to change the world by any means, but I do know it’s very meaningful when people put pen to paper.”