We had the good fortune of connecting with Dave Kuhr and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dave, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Honestly, I was trying to figure out how to supplement my acting career. I had done the waiter thing for a while when I lived in Atlanta. When I moved back to Los Angeles, I had lived in LA during my time in college at USC, I wanted to move on from the server job. I thought about the other skills I had. I remembered addressing envelopes for a couple friends of mine for their marriage as a wedding gift. I had been dabbling into calligraphy for a while and suddenly Quill Brothers Calligraphy was born. A friend of mine created a website for me and I waited. My website has gone through 5 iterations on the past 20 years. I’m now very happy with what people will see. I also have pages on Yelp, Google, The Knot and most recently Thumbtack to drive in business.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In terms of setting me apart from other calligraphers I think one of my clients said it best in a review. “Unlike many calligraphers, who can be overly precious about their talents, he was confident in his ability without being in my face or dramatic about.” In addition I am a guy as opposed to the many women in this field. That’s not to say I’m better by any means but I will come at a project from a different point of view. Finally, I say yes to most anything. Because of my can-do attitude, in addition to envelopes, paper and certificates I’ve written on rocks, footballs, piggy banks, tiles, jeans, volleyballs, sand dollars, books, and a globe. My calligraphy has also lead to me to writing restaurant menus on chalkboards. One of the things I’m really proud of is being a part of Hollywood not just as an actor but as a prop designer. I did many projects for the TV show How I Met Your Mother. Most notably writing the Playbook for the womanizing character Barney. I also did some envelopes for Fresh Off the Boat. The footballs I wrote on were for the producers of the show Friday Night Lights. My latest prop were the place cards for the film Mank starring Gary Oldman and directed by David Fincher. You can see it and my work on Netflix. It has not always been easy even after many years in the business. The difficult part is calligraphy is not a skill that garners repeat clients. Once a couple gets married that’s usually it for me. Hopefully I’ve done the envelopes, place cards, signage and sometimes even the save-the-date cards. I try to squeeze as much out of the one event as I can. But it’s not always the case. So half of the business is drumming up work for this niche endeavor. It’s why I like working with wedding planners and the prop masters because they’ll come back to me for different projects they have. Quill Brothers Calligraphy is a brand built on passion, confidence and creativity. I am here to make your events memorable and the work that hangs/resides in your restaurant, office or house stand out.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In Los Angeles, if there wasn’t a pandemic, I would recommend the following sights to see: Griffith Park Observatory, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach Boardwalk, Disneyland (though it’s not in LA). Book a studio tour or a taping of a show. See a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Catch a sporting event. NFL, NHL, NBA, WNBA, WTA, MLB, MLS we’ve got ’em all. The Hollywood sign. Walk up and down Rodeo Drive. See an outdoor movie at the Forever Cemetery. Watch a play or musical or opera at the Center Theater Group in DTLA.
As far as food we have the best Mexican restaurants in America. Sushi is also pretty great out here as well. In n Out is the premier fast food. Eat from a food truck too. LA is a weird city because it is vast. It’s basically a bunch or different types of neighborhoods put together. If you want to hang with the hipsters go to Silver Lake. If your thing is the ocean go to Manhattan or Hermosa Beach. I would stay away from Hollywood proper because that’s where all the tourists are. Identify your people and hang there. You could also go the opposite way and people watch the people who are not part of your crowd.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife, Pamela Davis, who believes in me always. I also need to thank the people who helped me with my site: Chris, Cole, Jason, Betsy and Lisa. My brother Tom, for his business advice.
Yelp: Quill Brothers Calligraphy