As a teen, South Fulton resident Ashley Daramola was told that she couldn’t make money as an artist. Now, in her thirties, she’s continuing to prove the naysayers wrong. Her East Point art studio is thriving, and she just won $10,000 to launch her first product.
Just last year, Daramola opened the doors to Artzybella Studio + Shop. From the start, she distinguished herself from her competitors by using her mental health background to empower her customers to use art for self-care. Plus, she began looking for ways to scale her business by applying for accelerator programs. Within a few months, her company was selected for the Main Street Entrepreneurs Seed Fund.
The fund was established last year with a grant from The Marcus Foundation and is overseen by the Georgia State University Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute. Nearly 100 applied to be part of the inaugural cohort before the 21 finalists – including Daramola – were announced last October.
Members of the cohort received initial financial assistance and mentorship. They were also given the opportunity to showcase their ideas during the Seed Fund Demo Day last month for a shot at an additional investment. Daramola pitched her ArtzyBella subscription box and was awarded first place and a $10,000 prize.
Story continues below…
Her subscription box will be available to the public soon. It’s carefully curated to bring the art therapy experience into the homes of consumers. Daramola is entering a market niche that has grown by leaps and bounds over the last several years. Nearly 20 million U.S. consumers currently have at least one product box subscription.
In a Facebook post, Daramola expressed her gratitude.
“We are grateful and excited for the future of our company,” she wrote. “We’re apart of a growing conversation about the place art and creatives have in the global economy, neighborhood revitalization, economic development and mental health.”
With every success and business milestone, Daramola continues to emphasize a message she wishes she’d received when she was younger.
“No artists should ever be starving. Being a creative is getting a real job.”
Photo: Ashley Daramola (far left) is awarded $10,000 from the Main Street Entrepreneurs Seed Fund. (Credit: Georgia State University)
Photo: ArtzyBella Subscription Box (Credit: ArtzyBella Studio + Shop)