After discovering the beauty of calligraphy in a magazine, actress Jane Labanz took up the art to occupy her time while working as a “booth singer” off stage. She soon found herself applying her own expression to the calligraphy she was self-teaching. When production cast members saw her work, they implored her to do their wedding and other one-off invitations.
When it occurred to actress Jane Labanz that she did not want to spend countless hours at auditions or acting in productions that kept her away from her Manhattan home for extended periods of time, she turned her talent to entrepreneurship to give her the freedom she needed.
She adapted her dramatic flair from stage to paper, developing a clientele in the film, television, theater and advertising industries. Her offerings range from initiation suits, hand-lettered envelopes, on-camera calligraphy and "vintage" calligraphic props.
The Delicate Pen provides high-end calligraphy products for weddings and other special events. Labanz' products have been showcased by Barbara Walters on TV’s “The View" and featured in numerous bride and wedding magazines, including Martha Stewart Living Wedding and New York Bride.
The Delicate Pen’s sales reached $150,000 in its first year and its products are now sold in more than 30 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Italy. Its stockists include Bloomingdale's and Michael C. Fina & Co.
Her new lifestyle allows Labanz to devote more time to her charitable passions such as participating in benefits for Broadway Cares and working for the Little Seeds program in South Africa.
In 1998, Labanz visited the New York SCORE office to learn about entrepreneurship. SCORE mentors helped her develop her first product line of fine stationery. Armed with a product portfolio and new entrepreneurial skills, Labanz participated in her first trade show, where well-known stationer Kate’s Paperie discovered The Delicate Pen’s products.
When it comes to advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, she emphatically states, “Go to SCORE!” She herself continues to take advantage of SCORE’s services as she grows her business. “Think big but start slow, and pick your passion," Labanz adds.