We had the good fortune of connecting with Mackenzie Ehlers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mackenzie, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
A couple of years ago, I became overwhelmed with comparison. I found myself constantly stacking my work against the work of others. Social media became a bit of a dark hole for me – specifically regarding my work. I would see the beautiful things other people were creating in my industry, and feelings of insecurity would inevitably come creeping in. I came up with the mantra of “staying in my own lane” and paired it with the image of putting on blinders (like a horse in a race), and that really stuck. When I actively chose to shut out what others around me were doing, I could focus on my own work and flourish within that. It is something that I still need to remind myself almost daily, but I find that my best work comes from when I dig deep in my own creativity, instead of when I am inspired by someone else’s.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The work that I do is a bit contradictory to the world we live in today – it negates the fast-paced digital lifestyle for a slower hand-created one. The main focus of my business is calligraphy and custom designs for weddings. This includes stationery (save-the-dates and invitations), as well as day-of details (signage, programs, menus, seating charts, etc.) I get to essentially help build a “brand” for my client’s big day, and all the small details that play into that! I get to help set the tone of the day from beginning to end – from the invitations that the guests receive in the mail to the cocktail napkins they receive with their drink. It is all part of telling the couple’s story! One of the biggest challenges I face in this industry is going against big companies that have templates and streamlined designs. While these may not be custom designs, they are offered at a much lower price point. I will have clients that want a custom suite from me with all the bells and whistles for the price they saw online through one of those major companies, and there is a major disconnect there. The best part of my job is getting to work with people who have an appreciation for the handmade and all the small details. They generally come to me with an idea of what they are gravitating towards, and I help bring that vision to life! Getting to infuse their individual personalities into each element is simply the best – from the materials we choose to use to including a pic of their pet on their welcome sign! It is such an honor to play a small part in someone’s most important day, and I never take it lightly.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
3 of my favorite things here in Phoenix are: Being active, eating, and supporting local (my formula to a perfect week!): Active: Hiking! There are so many beautiful hikes in the valley to choose from – I recently did the Pinnacle Peak trail and loved it. I also would be sure to visit the Scottsdale Barre3 studio… One of my happy places. Such a good workout (it combines strength, cardio, and mindfulness), and you leave feeling so great! Food: Where do I begin! Windsor for happy hour cocktails, the loaded Greek fries from Saba’s, sushi from Iron Chef or Teharu, tacos from Joyride or Blancos Tacos. My mouth is watering! Local: Farmers markets, craft fairs, flea markets. My fave way to spend a day!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To God be all the glory for my business! He has provided all along the way, and I hope to honor him with the talents that has given to me. I also have to give my husband, Josh, his own shoutout! Owning a business can be an absolute emotional roller coaster, and he is my steady through all of it. Whether it is encouraging me on a bad day, or cheering for me after a victory, he is there every step of the way and I honestly could not do this without him.
Pinkerton Photography Elyse Hall Photography Annalise Marie Photography Kaley Broberg Photography