If you’ve spent any amount of time poking around at paigehulse.com, you’ve seen links to what I call the “sister side” of my business: The Creative Law Shop, which I officially launched at the end of 2017. Since then, many friends, clients, customers and peers have asked me “What is the “Shop”; “Why did you start it” “weren’t you complaining about being too busy already?” And because the answer to the latter has been (and continues to be) an affirmative yes, I realized I never fully explained why the Shop was created. Not just fully- I haven’t told the story yet at all.
So with that being said, here is the story on why the Shop was created, who it serves, and a little on what I have planned for the future:
Photo by Brett Heidebrecht
First and foremost, while I just said the Shop began in late 2017…that’s not entirely true. The story of the Shop is inextricably woven with my love for calligraphy, and begins closer to early 2015.
If you follow along on Instagram, you may have heard me mention that my interest in calligraphy began way back in early 2015, when I was a law student looking for a creative outlet prepping for my last year of law school, with the bar exam looming over my shoulder. I began taking free classes online at Scarlet And Gold, and watching Instagram videos. I was completely self-taught. Durign such a chaotic time in my life, the rhythm and pure focus the art requires was nearly therapeutic to me. I also forgot to mention that my wedding was that summer (bar exam? wedding? same summer? Doesn’t sound stressful at all, right?), so I became quickly acquainted with the wedding world, and beautiful “renaissance” calligraphy seemed to have had.
After I passed the bar exam and began practicing in 2015, I fell head over heels in love with the art of calligraphy for the same qualities: Again, the practice allowed me (forced me) to slow down and focus, softening the stress of my new job as a litigator. At this point, I’d begun learning “enough” to try to learn new styles, to study different strokes and spacing and styles…so I turned to Instagram once again.
The more I turned to Instagram the more I recognized that many calligraphers had stories similar to mine, but they diverged in one way: I knew how to turn begin a business. I had the training, the degree. Many others I saw were looking to Instagram and Facebook for answers…and for sharing contracts….and legal advice.
Keep in mind, at this point it didn’t cross my mind to turn my calligraphy into a business. I had just been raised by an entrepreneur, so I’m always cognizant of a business opportunity when it’s sitting there, staring you in the face. I recognized the convergence of my knowledge, my law degree, and legal training, and the knowledge needed in the industry.
For a reason, I still to this day cannot explain (it was purely a gut move), I purchased the domain shopcreativelaw.com. I wanted to be a writer, honestly, and write for the creative community, possibly correcting some of that bad advice I had been seeing. I didn’t know if that was for creatives or just if my writings would be creative in nature enough to give me that creative outlet (turned out both would be true), but I wanted to at least have the option someday.
Fast forward from early 2015 until 2017, and I still had this gut-driven seed of an idea for shopcreativelaw.com, but didn’t give it much thought. Life had gotten too busy- in the meantime, I’d experienced a life-changing health challenge, a difficult career in litigation, etc. But one thing had changed: my calligraphy “creative outlet” had turned into a veritable side-hustle.
All photos by the Motoya Collective
And I began learning some hands-on life lessons through that experience- like when those seating charts you see above broke on the way to the venue (causing a literal overnight recreation), etc. Even though I just intended it to be a side-hustle, I recognized I had a business on my hands. And deep down, I knew what I wanted to do.
In March of 2017, I got up the nerve to confess to my husband that I wanted to found my own creative law firm- Paige Hulse Law. (I still didn’t act on the CLS domain at this time, but now, I knew someday I would).
In June 2017 I jumped into PHL, and was almost immediately over my head. There are so many creatives out there trying to do the right thing and protect their business with solid contracts, and as someone who had practiced as a contract litigator (meaning, I was in the courtroom arguing contract cases), I wanted to help everyone. (Turns out, that’s not possible).
People began asking for templates, and I would sell them individually (after all, I was in over my head already, and there were other template shops out there, so I didn’t want to immediately start up a second business immediately after starting my firm). But soon I couldn’t keep up with the demand.
“If you’d asked them what they wanted, they would’ve said a faster horse.”– Henry Ford
I say this tongue in cheek because of course, there are a plethora of template shops out there, and have been for decades (even those practicing in the niche of creative law!), so starting the Creative Law Shop was by no means an invention. No one can claim that.
But instead of trying to keep up with my customers asking for a “faster horse”, I decided to invest my time in shifting up my business model from just a one-girl firm, to a spin-off option: The Creative Law Shop.
I believe strongly in intuition, and I knew intuitively there was a reason why I had held onto Shopcreativelaw.com. I had followed my gut in starting my firm; I decided to do the same with the Shop.
When the Shop first began, I think there were about 10 templates available; and if you want to talk about bootstrapping, I bootstrapped this business more than I would like to even say. Starting up a product-based business when you are a service provider, much less trying to build two businesses at once is honestly harder than I can convey. It took a lot of hard work, grit, and late nights to get it off the ground.
Finally, in October of 2018, thanks to the wisdom of my coach, the branding of my graphic designer, and the support of my god-sent shop manager, I opened up a new version of the Shop, that I’m proud of.
And with this relaunch, the Shop is now an entirely separate business from Paige Hulse Law. Moving forward, the Shop will become more and more my only way of serving creative entrepreneurs with contracts.
The Creative Law Shop will continue to be a strong, secure legal resource for creative entrepreneurs…and it’s not going anywhere. As I began this article by saying, the Shop is the marriage of my knowledge of contract law from practicing contract litigation, paired with my love for creativity (calligraphy). The Shop will be here as long as I believe it can be and is a trusted, helpful resource for entrepreneurs.
If you’ve read this far, (first, thank you), and second, I hope the story of the Shop also serves as a reminder that you should never forget to follow those gut feelings. They’re likely there for a reason.
Is there anything else you’d like to know about our Shop- like what I’ve learned in the differences in selling products vs. services, affiliate marketing, etc? I’d love to hear from you- leave a comment below, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!