Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacey Montgomery.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My story began over 20 years ago when I was unable to find a Christmas card that reflected both the way I look and my personality. So, I illustrated my own. From there, I decided to do my part to address the dearth of positive, diverse images in the media and on products by creating a line of stationery and gifts that featured kids with a variety of skin tones, ethnicities, and hair colors. I also incorporated glasses, hearing aids, and freckles. My goal was to make kids smile.
I later realized that my quest for that perfect Christmas card was all about empowerment and self-confidence. I wanted to provide kids with a tool to help them feel empowered—not for a moment, but long-term. That led me to create my first guided journal, What’s Your Super Power?, in April of 2017. What’s Your Super Power? encourages girls ages 8-12 to focus on their own special qualities so that they understand their own self-worth. I now have six books, including one for boys called, What Makes You So Awesome? Two more are scheduled for release this year. Throughout each book I use the symbol of a superhero because I want kids to discover their own unique qualities—their super powers, and I want kids to view themselves as heroes in their own lives.
Please tell us about your art.
I have a line of books, stationery, and gifts that feature my original illustrations. The line includes six guided journals, blank journals, note cards, birthday cards, mugs, tote bags, and more. My products feature illustrations of kids with diverse features and a range of abilities. I want kids to feel good about themselves when they see images that look like them. The greatest compliment is when upon seeing one of my illustrations a child happily exclaims, “That looks like me!”
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Have a plan and a great accountant. Creating art as a hobby and creating art as part of a business are two different things. It is important to treat it as a business. Create a business plan that includes a strong marketing component and then work the plan. A couple of aha moments for my business was creating a mission statement and pinpointing my ideal customer. Once I did that, it was a lot easier to focus my marketing. Another way to minimize financial challenges is to work your business as a side endeavor until revenue from it is consistent.
Education and networking are also important. There are a lot of resources out there to artists and entrepreneurs. Taking advantage of these resources can help to avoid costly business mistakes. One resource that has been valuable to me for networking, education, and support is WESOS- Women Entrepreneurs Secrets of Success.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My products are available on my website- staceymdesign.com. They are also available at Wyckwood House in downtown Aurora. In addition, I offer social-emotional learning workshops based on the concepts in my guided journals for elementary schools and Girl Scouts—Brownies and Juniors. Contact me to schedule a workshop!
- Website: www.staceymdesign.com
- Phone: 6308031126
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Instagram.com/staceymdesign
- Facebook: Facebook.com/staceymdesign
- Twitter: Twitter.com/staceymdesign
Karthika Gupta, Latrice Murphy, Soma Raychaudhuri