Lettering a business on campus

Emily Kim, Feature Editor

Combining their love of calligraphy and writing into one, Diamond Bar High School seniors Ashley To and Christina Pan have molded their intangible idea into a fledgling business.

To started a separate calligraphy account on Instagram, @ashlligraphy, and has been posting regularly since October of last year.

When she met Pan in Computer Science last year, they discovered that both wanted to start a long-term project in calligraphy and came up with the idea of forming a business based on their two interests: calligraphy and creative writing.

The two came up with the company’s name–Meraki Appeals–in class last year. The word “Meraki” means to leave a piece of oneself, whether it be soul or love, in a piece of work, and the pair immediately felt as if the term reflected their ideal for the company. They each contributed $50 to jumpstart their company at the beginning of the school year.

“We figured we could mesh that [calligraphy and writing] together. She had the same goals as me, so it seemed perfect,” To said.

While To is in charge of the actual calligraphy, Pan deals with coming up with quotes to advertise for their “Quote of the Week” as well as handling the logistics of the operation.

Currently, the duo offer both pre-designed notebooks and customizable notebooks in their shop. The pre-designed notebooks come in a random color and have set sayings, such as “Notes and Things” and “Adventure Book” handwritten on the cover. The customized notebooks allow the purchaser to request a specific word to be printed on the cover of the notebook.

The 30-sheet notebooks come in two different sizes, A5 and B5, both 30 sheets each. Pan hopes to expand their inventory by offering baseball caps with different designs and their logo. The two maintain a business page and an inspiration board, along with a blog discussing the girls’ latest projects. All links can be found at merakiappeals.weebly.com.

The girls have sold around 70 notebooks since starting their business in August. The site ran a “buy one, get one free” promotion when they first opened, helping to jumpstart the number of notebooks they sold.

The projects, or social causes, the girls work on involve supporting a specific organization or raising awareness for certain causes. The first project involved raising awareness for childhood cancer, in which girls partnered with St. Jude’s Hospital to donate care packages to children fighting cancer in hospitals.

For every notebook sold, To and Pan donated a calligraphy care package to the children. The donated care packages included a notebook, a personalized message of motivation as well as a guide for beginners how to start practicing calligraphy.

“Instead of just doing money, because we don’t know where the money goes, we said why don’twe help the kids out by making these encouragement packages. Our next goal is to help homeless people and shelters and to help donate blankets and whatever we can think of for them,” Pan said.

To and Pan hope to branch out of selling notebooks in the Diamond Bar area in the future, depending on their success.

Both plan on continuing the practice beyond high school and maintaining the status of their shop and blog.

“I have been wanting to this for a really long time– doing something that I love, giving something to people that they can buy and like, and also helping someone,” To said.