“Don’t wait for the opportunity to come. Go create the opportunity.”
What if I regret not doing it when I get older? What if I miss the chance to inspire others? What if there is more for me out there?
Questions Ella Lama asked herself that triggered her decision to leave the corporate world. She is sure that she wants to live life without thinking about her what ifs. This sparked her journey to look for answers and discover more about herself and the creative world of lettering.
Ella recalled that her childhood was filled with doodles. Growing up, she developed quite an obsession on positions and spaces. Frames, posters or anything posted on walls are eyesores for Ella if not placed correctly.
In college, she pursued English Literature at University of the Philippines – Diliman. Her years in college were filled with writing, which she enjoyed. She would always daydream about creating a children’s fiction book. This dream was put into the shelf after she graduated.
Just like any graduate, she thought that the only option is to pursue the corporate world. In 2010, Ella joined a company where she did marketing – mostly working on collaterals. After three months, she embarked on a journey to solitude. She spent months doing things alone and connecting with herself. She had an idea of what to pursue, but it came in bits and pieces.
Still unsure on what to do, Ella joined another company, which matched her interest in photography. Her function allowed her to share creative inputs. She enjoyed working with her colleagues and bosses. Everything was pretty much okay, but that’s the thing she doesn’t want to settle with “just okay”.
One fateful day, a bazaar was organized in the office and employees were allowed to sell their own products. Together with a colleague, who shares the same interest in arts, she set up a booth. They sold creatively recycled items made out of bottle caps. The experience paved way to several other bazaars. It opened doors to countless business opportunities and wonderful connections with people who share the same passion.
Her bottle cap venture marked the birth of her lettering projects too. She aims to inspire people thru her work. At present, Ella doodles about life and being in love with life. Despite the successes, she still feels that bigger things are waiting for her outside the corporate world. She doesn’t want to live a life dependent on a paycheck so she signed her resignation letter last April and happily danced her way out of the cubicle. She clearly emphasized that money is important but it is not everything. Inspiring feedback about her creations, from people around her, makes her genuinely happy.
One morning, I messaged Ella if I can meet her for an interview. I can still remember how quickly she replied with a yes. A week after that, I found myself talking to her over a plate of quesadilla. The encounter felt like one of those casual lunch meet-ups with a close friend. The connection was instant, maybe because we share a lot of similarities.
What if I never walked in Type Kita, typography bazaar?
What if I was never attracted to a postcard that says, “Lost is a beautiful place to find yourself”?
Then, I would have never known Ella Lama and her artistic and edgy story.
Ella Lama is a full-time doodler and letterer. She’s an advocate of creativity and exploration. She enjoys different media and forms of art, but her heart belongs to a pen and paper. She loves organizing workshops for those who crave to learn hand lettering too. When she’s not too engrossed with lines and shapes, you’ll find her watching her favorite TV series.
Know more about the other side of Ella thru her confessions:
“I always question ideas, as if I’m a rebel.”
“I’m a vegetarian. I only eat vegetables and fish.”
“I love being alone. I would go to malls alone.”
“I tend to overthink.”
“I am my own cheerleader.”