Here we chat with Liz from the etsy shop ArtofAthie about motherhood, the intention for diversity in art and having faith in your work.
How are you doing? How would you describe your life as a mom or your life in general in just six words? I'm doing great thank you. I would describe myself as a fun, loving, protective, determined, optimist and spiritual mom.
What was the best advice on motherhood you ever received? “Follow your instincts, do your best and cherish all the moments no matter how big or small.”
What are some things you and your family are doing to manage during Covid 19? We try to remain active as much as possible. Our activities range from arts and crafts, board games, dance parties (yes, these are a hit haha), karaoke, movie nights and slumber parties in the living room to picnics at the park and walks around the neighborhood while practicing social distancing.
Let’s change the subject to something lighter and fun. What was your favorite toy as a child and why? My favorite toy was a baby doll. I think that’s when my love for design and creativity first emerged. I loved playing dress up and used to sew small outfits for my dolls.
If you were a kid now, what would your favorite toy be? It would be a baby doll set including a doll house with plenty of outfits to choose from.
Do you think it is important for kids to see themselves in their toys, books, media, etc? How important is diversity and inclusion in your eyes? Yes, it’s very important for kids to relate to their every day interactions. As a child growing up I saw specific characters portrayed in toys, books and movies; it was normal to assume the obvious that someone like me was just not “good enough.” Or, that I just didn’t fit the norm, either way it made me feel different. It definitely takes a village to raise a child.
From the very beginning, children need to know that they are unique in their own way as far as personality, but regardless of how one looks, everyone is special and therefore should be represented as such. With everything going on in the world today, this just might be the change we need, it’s a start at least.
We see that you have an amazing etsy shop? What made you start it? How long have you been an artist? I have been an artist and loved everything creative for as long as I can remember. I’m mostly self taught and could spend days doing art not even noticing the time. I’m a self proclaimed jack of all trades when it comes to creativity and I have never zoned in on just one thing. My art ranges from drawing, painting, portrait commissions, pottery to crochet, fashion/clothing design, jewelry making and always up for learning a new skill. I started my Etsy shop after realizing that I could use my skills to make a difference while making a living and in return, I would be able to spend more time at home with my children while doing what I love.
We love the “Dollee Afrikana: Handmade yarn doll princess” you have in your shop. What was the inspiration behind her? The Inspiration came from my children. Inspiration “hits” differently when your child asks to have their hair straightened to “look pretty.” Or, when they come home from school and tell you that another child called them “dirty” because of their skin color.
My heart was breaking to hear this and even after I would explain how beauty is in the heart, or how unique everyone is. It was hard because I didn’t have much to back me up being that the majority of the books, media, toys portray the opposite. There’s just not enough representation.
I made Dollee Afrikana to be diverse and unique, my focus was a younger audience so the doll is fully crochet with no small pieces or hard plastics. The “hair” can be braided or styled, this is also important because (older) children are able to have fun practicing braiding and clothes are changeable as well so they can play dress up to their hearts’ content. It comes with an African print dress and a tutu.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs? And, people who also sell or want to open a shop on etsy?
- Just have faith and go for it, work until your dreams become a reality.
- Sometimes things may take a while to pick up, but don’t be discouraged. And, remember, whether good or bad, customer feedback is very important in order for you to create better products or as a reminder that you are on the right track.
- Lastly, focus on your goals and conquer them one at a time. Determination will take you a long way.
Do you have any sales, free shipping or discounts in your shop for the holiday season? Currently I have free shipping for all items. Generally, I try to keep my prices low especially during this unfortunate pandemic in order to make it affordable for all and I always give freebies away randomly when I have new products out.
How can we find you online? What is your etsy page, website, social media links, etc? Please share.
I can be found at:
Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/ArtofAthie
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org