Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Nicole Daramola.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Ashley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. I was born on Washington Road in College Park and later finished school on Campbelton Road in Southwest Atlanta. I have three siblings, two sisters and a brother. We were a blended family, children of divorce which was difficult for me to understand as a young child so I quickly found an outlet in the arts. I was known as “the girl who could draw” growing up but I didn’t take it seriously.
I got my first job at 14 and have been working ever since. At 17, people around me told me college was too expensive and that art and theater were pointless career options, so I went to college, got confused, dropped out, and went back to work. In my mid-20s, I developed a passion for working with children, teen girls, and women whose life struggles paralleled my own, especially those that had experienced trauma or who had difficulty understanding their self-worth.
I worked as a social worker and obtained a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology for six years. In 2015, I made a deadline. No matter what happened in the Fall of 2016, I would take my “jump”, quit my job and pursue my talent. When I took my jump, I lost and gave up all my possessions. I knew that any money I made had to be invested into my company.
What has been your biggest struggle as an artist and as an entrepreneur?
My biggest struggle as an artist has been establishing a dual brand as both an artist and an entrepreneur. When it comes to ArtzyBella, my partners and investors are only concerned about my strategy for scaling, not the deep meaning in the work itself. So in making MY personal work for exhibition in my own style, it’s often hard switching my brain. Art dealers and collectors have criticized me for being apart of the commercial part of the art industry which can be frustrating because my company prides itself on still keeping authenticity and a respect for the artistic process infused into every product and service we offer . Also, people don’t always understand the value of art, which effects what they expect to spend on commissioned work.
My struggles with my company, ArtzyBella, are the same struggles all small business owners have: figuring out how to scale and how to grow a team with limited capital. Our solutions have been to be very strategic and focused on the problems we solve for our customers and the unique niches we bring to this unique market.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with artzybella – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
All my jobs, even post-Masters, but a limit on the amount of money I could make and how long it would take to make it. With that model, I’d never be able to become the kind of artist I envisioned. So I started my fifth business at 30 years old to be able to have money to fund my career as an exhibiting artist, my company just happens to be art-based as well.
I found a way to fuse all of my skills and experiences in promotions, marketing, music, business, and psychology into my products and services. I work harder now than I did working 9-5 jobs. I get up at 4am and go to bed at 10pm because maximizing my 24 hour day and getting good rest are the real secrets to my progress as an entrepreneur. I spend the hours I am awake strategizing, marketing, and learning. I read a lot more and I surround myself with influential entrepreneurs, soaking up as much knowledge as possible.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
What’s next? That’s a very loaded question (haha) Entrepreneurs can usually tell you their 20 year plans. We see our businesses today as they may actually be in the future, which to others, looks like we are doing too much, so I’ll keep it short and sweet.
My company has a headquarters, in a store front, on a main street, in downtown East Point, GA. Our grand opening to the public is July 1, 2019. We are the only art studio of its kind in what is now called South Metro Atlanta. Its funny, the last time we talked, I was searching for a studio/retail space and now I have one! We are expanding our partnerships, which includes a fun one with J. Crew and the Riverside Epicenter.
With our new studio opening soon, we will be able to launch our social program which is to provide apprenticeships to young artists who lack support and resources and the same for survivors of sex trafficking. With guidance, mentorship, and funding, these artists will have the knowledge and resources they need to start art careers of their own.
As a exhibiting artist making non commissioned work, I’m just painting my heart out, literally painting everything I have felt and experienced over my lifetime and hoping to exhibit in as many places as possible.
For more information on ArtzyBella, its products and services and upcoming events, visit www.artzybella.com or follow us on social media, our handlers are all @artzybella
To see my personal work for exhibition and where I’ll be showcasing my independent work, visit www.ashleydaramola.com