A New Member of the Calligrafam

Y’all. This. Is. Huge. After 4 years of running Ma Belle on my own, I am so excited to introduce you to the FIRST and newest member of my team: EJ. Bringing EJ on board was totally a sign from the universe, and I am super pumped for y’all to meet her.

EJ was actually one of my undergraduate advisees that I met while working at UVA. We got to know each other over lattes at our favorite local coffee shop, obsessing over everything from our personal brands to Jane the Virgin. We kept in touch over the years continuing to gush over favorite TV shows, and I cheered her on through grad school applications - she’s currently a grad student at NYU. Straight out of the movies right? Needless to say, she’s pretty awesome. So, without further ado:

Let’s get to know EJ!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi y’all! My name is EJ, and I’m so excited to be joining the Ma Belle calligrafam. I’m currently a graduate student at New York University, where I’m pursuing my Master’s in Higher Education & Student Affairs. I graduated from the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2017 with a degree in English & Media Studies. Before returning to graduate school, I served as the Executive Director of the Virginia Club of New York, a non-profit dedicated to building connections between UVA alumni in New York.

What’s your passion?

Personally and professionally, my main passion has always been community building. Whether I’m hosting a Christmas dinner for my Italian family, planning a meet-up for UVA alumni in Manhattan, or (now!) connecting with the Ma Belle calligrafam through emails and blogs: I love helping to bring people together, and seeing the connections that people make :)

Where do you call home?

Originally—a small town in Virginia, where the largest intersection is a three-way stop sign and the population of cows far outnumbers the population of people. Currently—Brooklyn (which has too many stoplights and not enough cows, but still feels like home!).

What brings you joy?

Farmer’s markets. Film festivals. Independent bookstores. Italian food. Cooking. Craft fairs. Yoga. DOGS. Spending time with family and friends. Finding happiness in the little things. Exploring New York, one neighborhood at a time. And coffee. Always, always—coffee.

Why is supporting small business important?

Because it’s all about people and their passions. Small business owners are passionate about their customers and the work that they do. And customers can feel confident and comfortable knowing their interests are protected by someone who truly cares. Whether it’s in an independent bookstore or a local coffee shop or a little corner of the web passionate about calligraphy: small business is a space where people can connect stories with service.

What is your favorite item in the Ma Belle Calligraphy shop?

The “S’More Coffee Please” campfire mug! My mom is a public school teacher who loves snow days almost as much as she loves her students. I gave her this mug for Christmas one year, because her favorite snow day tradition is making homemade s’mores over the gas burner in the kitchen. I love making myself a cup of coffee in it when I visit home, and thinking about the joy of a day off from obligations.

Bonus Question: What does EJ stand for?

The million dollar question! EJ stands for EricaJoy. Which is perfect given the Ma Belle mission is to bring joy ;)