Paisley-based business owner aims to inspire women to take the leap as career booms

Maria O'Neill
-Credit: (Image: Aurelia Allen Photography)

A talented Paisley woman hopes a £10,000 windfall to grow her business will inspire others to take a leap of faith and start out on their own.

Maria O’Neill saw her life turned upside down during the covid lockdowns but has come out of the experience stronger than ever before.

Maria Elizabeth is a Paisley-based wedding and event design studio that offers hand-drawn fine-art stationery, venue styling, calligraphy workshops and luxury brand artistry from consultation to completion and was founded by Maria in 2021.

The business was born after she was made redundant during the 2020 pandemic.

Maria told the Paisley Daily Express : “I taught myself calligraphy while I was at Glasgow University because I loved the idea and the style of it.

“When lockdown hit, I started sending friends and family messages using calligraphy to write little pick me up messages.

“I posted some of them on social media and I was quickly noticed by some people with very large followings.

“Before I knew it, I had nail artists and floral companies getting in touch to ask if I wanted to work with them.

“I set up a business account and a website and from there it has really just sky rocketed. Now I’ve got people from all over the UK asking to work with me.”

Business is booming for Maria with previous clients including Dior, Jo Malone, Prada and Creed.

And her talent has now been recognised as she has won Scottish Edge.

Scottish Edge is the country’s biggest business funding competition – offering grants and loans from £10,000 to £100,000 to help grow start-up business, social enterprise or charity.

Not only has Maria been recognised as a top entrepreneur, she has just launched a new website and a product stationery and styling line inspired by Bridgerton.

The luxury stationery suite comprises an invitation, details card, RSVP card, vellum jackets, silk ribbon and beautiful envelopes with fine-art liners and wax seals.

A Bridgerton themed invite
A Bridgerton themed invite -Credit:Submitted

Each item is artisanally crafted from handmade paper and adorned with detailed calligraphy and hand-drawn illustrations by company founder Maria.

This classical design is inspired by the Netflix series Bridgerton and Maria’s love for timeless style and luxury.

She added: “Bridgerton has inspired people to look past outdated trends and embrace an elegant, classical and luxe aesthetic; which is Maria Elizabeth’s speciality.

“The Bridgerton-inspired stationery suite will appeal to brides who want to enhance their wedding with a breath-taking, timeless style.

“It can also be adapted to style the wedding on the day. The colour palette can be incorporated into your tablescape via candles, cutlery, table runners and linen, and the design can also be reflected in signage and menus.”

Maria hopes her success will inspire other Renfrewshire women to “take the leap” and pursue their dreams.

“I was furloughed when coronavirus hit [then] was made redundant which wasn’t a surprise to me,” she said. “My new work came at absolutely the right time because I wasn’t particularly happy at my old job.

“It was still rubbish to be told I was being let go but in the end everything has worked out so well.

“It just goes to show that in the midst of darkness, you can still find light and hope. That is definitely what has happened here.

“I’m glad it’s happened this way because I think if I’d tried to force this to happen it maybe wouldn’t have worked.

“Sometimes when you don’t think things will happen, they do organically. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the support I’ve had so far and I feel exceptionally lucky.”

To keep up to date with Maria, you can follow her on Instagram or visit her website at:

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