Tell me about your work:
I own an art and design company that specializes in custom lettering and calligraphy. That work spans from commissioned canvases to a new retail line of tees, tanks and tote bags.
How did you get started?
I experienced a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed Bipolar in 2012. This was one of the darkest times of my life & I needed something that could make me smile. I found myself chuckling at snarky sayings, silly quotes and jokes with my friends.
Through such a troubling time in my life I am proud to have used humor—and ultra-comfortable clothes that helped me feel cozy- to find bits and pieces of strength. I have created an improved identity that makes me feel worthwhile simply because I am alive.
What is your favorite part of your work?
I love getting lost in a project. I love the flow of being fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Because I work with such a wide variety of clients, I love getting to know them so I can tailor each project to something that reflects their individuality.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
Going through darkness can create something beautiful. My bipolar challenges me every. single. day. Bipolar has presented hurdles I never imagined I'd have to overcome, but each one has made me better. Wiser. Stronger.
I have learned that stretching myself out of my comfort zone only makes me improve. I have had to overcome crippling social anxiety that has connected me to amazing people in our community.
How do you rejuvenate?
Do small owners get to rejuvenate? I’m learning how to set my own boundaries to work on self care. My favorite thing is having a girls night with my 12 year old daughter Ellie. We buy a ton of junk food, get giant burritos and hit up Redbox for a handful of movies. We turn off phones and snuggle up for a movie marathon. It reminds me that these moments with her are fleeting and focusing on being a Mom powers me to get back to work to set a good example.
Where do you find inspiration?
On my really good mental health days, I find inspiration everywhere. My brain lights up at the color of the sky, cute shoes on a woman passing by, a really well made sandwich. It’s weird, I know. But the little things matter to me.
And on all other days it’s Target.
Who do you look up to?
I love learning about other women and their journey as a small business owner. The stories may seem small because they’re not making buckets of money or on the cover of Fortune. In my opinion, these are the stories that mean the most. They are personal journeys of women just trying to make it through life while they juggle so many roles and live with authenticity.
What is your best advice to women pursuing their passion?
Support is necessary. I have found there are so many other women entrepreneurs and trailblazers that have openly shared their own struggles to help others down their own business development path. Being a part of a community that wants to lift women up instead of tear them down has been a huge joy in navigating my way through business chaos.
I could not continue on this journey without the love from my tribe. They understand when I have buried myself at my desk or have lost myself while painting. They lift me up when I don't think I can go any further. They know I love them endlessly even when I’m not showing it.
Where is your favorite place in Central Illinois?
Have I mentioned Target?
In all seriousness I love Downtown Champaign. I love the energy and have been inspired by its growth over the past 40+ years. My father-in-law started the Great Impasta and mother-in-law opened Jane Addams Book Store in the 1980s and 90s. My husband also had restaurants of his own downtown was cool. The restaurants, shops and businesses have fueled a wonderful place just live life.