I never imagined I’d be a mother of two growing a small business online. Some days I struggle to know what the next right step is for me, my family, and Cash Color. And then there are days where I wake up so incredibly grateful that I get to call this a career! This pandemic has brought me so close to all of you, and so many have reached out to ask me how to turn your passion into a career. I don’t have the answers, but admitting that has led to some of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made. With it being Women’s History Month, I felt it fitting to share my story into entrepreneurship.
My voice came later in life after numerous jobs, internships, and life cycles. As a little girl, I struggled with expressing myself. It was difficult for me to really understand my feelings, but when I went to my canvas, I could just be me. Those canvases were — and still are — my safe place; a way to release my emotions.
I vividly remember while working for Abercombie & Fitch, seeing all of the intricate details and steps that go into every collection, I thought, “I want to do this.” I wanted to take my own art through the same process and also get to engage with the customers who would respond to it. I’m motivated by creating art that spreads joy. The corporate jobs I’d had provided an invaluable opportunity to learn how products are conceived and made, but they were missing the thing that excites me the most: being able to sell the work that I make directly to the people who buy it and put it in their house.
A very empowering step I took as a new business owner was signing up for courses online to teach me the things I didn’t know. I’m an artist, but I didn’t know how to get my work out there in a meaningful way. One course, My Own Irresistible Brand, taught me that in order to turn my passion into a business, I had to identify the “Why” that motivates me to create art. This course helped me launch Cash Color.
The next milestone in the growth of my business was hiring a marketing team that not only understood the industry, but also me and my goals. I found two moms who founded their own kick-ass company, Virtual Collective, because they happen to know a lot about online marketing and set out to help people like me. They reminded me that I can grow my business while still being authentic. I don’t have to put on the façade of being someone who “has it all together”. I can be messy at home and still create beautiful art. I can be a mom and ambitious at the same time. I don’t have to choose. I might not get everything done in the same day, but it will get done by the time it has to.
I say all of this to you because I know that sometimes, as mothers and as women in general, we feel a sense of guilt around our ambition. No, I don’t have all of the answers, but I know enough about myself to build my team with people who know more than me. If you’re considering starting something on your own, I encourage you to dig into what you want to create and what value you want to bring to the people who you’re creating it for. Everything else will fall into place if it aligns with those goals.
Let’s talk about women for a minute. None of my business endeavors would be possible without the fearless women who came before me. The ones who fought for our right to vote and to have our own checking account, and the amazingly strong black women who are still fighting for equity and a fair shot at building the future they want.*
Women’s History Month also has me feeling nostalgic and inspired, looking at my past collections and the inspiration behind them. For example, the Figure prints all stemming from my journey into and through motherhood, and all the beauty and magic that comes from a woman’s body. Each of those figures is an embodiment of the characteristics of women I know personally. I see the strengths I admire about her, the insecurities she wrestles with, or how other people view her.
Or the hope and joy of the Hand Lettering and Hand Signs collections that started from a simple ask from my sis for a peace sign. Now these prints are being used as literal symbols of hope around our beloved city that has overcome so much this year. A year into the pandemic, these prints hold so much more meaning now than they did when I first painted them.
And the abstract Letters Collections that each started as playful sketches have turned into personalized keepsakes and art that get to grow with you and your family. I started this company to bring joy to your walls, but the sales and response to these letters have done something more. The pictures you share with me brings so much joy to my heart!
As I get to know myself better in this stage in life (where I’m learning to juggle my roles as a wife, mother, business owner, and artist), I’m getting more comfortable with myself. There’s a new level of certainty that I see in these pieces, and I’m so honored I get to share them with you.
Thank you for supporting me as an artist and supporting Cash Color, a woman-owned and run business. Change might look different for everyone — maybe it’s starting your own company, maybe it’s leaving a job that brings you no joy. This journey has changed me forever. Not only do I want to continue painting art that is meaningful; I also want to take advantage of this platform to use my voice to advocate and support women around me. To stand up for what I feel in my heart is right. Nobody really knows how to do this whole life thing the “right” way, but I’m going to keep trying to be empathetic towards others and towards myself (easier said than done) and to know that we’ll be a little better off because of it.
*This month's free download is for the black women who are constantly at the root of positive change. I believe that there is unbelievable beauty in this. Please download the art, and then pass it on!