What is your favorite piece of work that you have created?
It is hard to decide what my favorite piece of work is but overarching, my new building is probably my favorite. We are renovating and I am making it the Sassy Olive HQ. Our production room is finished and is colorful and funky and makes for a fantastic space for us to do our creative production in. While this isn’t a direct product that we sell, I am very proud of this building and am absolutely ecstatic to watch my visions come to life in here with my wonderful staff by my side.
What are your goals for the future, both artistically and in life?
I strive to be active in the community in Allegan with both my business and personal life. Our events that we host bring thousands of people to Allegan and ticket proceeds benefit a local scholarship fund as well as other local organizations. For the future, I definitely want my business to be a part of downtown Allegan’s growth. I also want to expand our market outside of Michigan by doing more art shows and trade shows outside of the state.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, we are preparing for both our annual Sassy Olive Birthday Celebration as well as renovating our new building and prepping for our grand opening this fall.
Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
Most people are interested to find out that I have no background in business, clothing design, or graphic design -all of which encompass what I now do for a living! I have two degrees from the University of Michigan and planned on working in hospital infection prevention before my business grew so vastly. My undergrad is in Spanish & Evolutionary Anthropology and I also have my Master’s of Public Health in Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology. I graduated in April 2017, opened my first small store and over the past year have expanded so much that I purchased my own building and have big plans for the future of The Sassy Olive!
What is your strongest memory of your childhood?
I have many great memories including many with my grandma who taught me to sew 4 years ago when I started my business but one of my favorite memories is of my dad waking me up late at night to come outside and look at a giant luna moth in the driveway. I have always loved animals, bugs, and nature and for whatever reason, that memory sticks out in my head very strongly. I am even getting a tattoo soon of a luna moth to commemorate the memory!
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Other than being a student, I have waited tables, bartended, coached tennis, substitute taught at special education schools and worked at an ice cream shop.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A few interesting facts about me include that I have 12 piercings (5 of which are in my nose), 11 -and counting- tattoos, I am very passionate about rescue dogs and I absolutely love sharks and llamas. I even have a llama tattoo and a shark is also on the ever-expanding list!
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
I often get told that I should do motivational speeches or write a book to talk about my story but I find it difficult to quantify and summarize my entire story. I would say one of my best qualities is not putting too much weight into others’ opinions of me and my business. I am confident in the work that I do and know that while I may ruffle some feathers, I am doing whats right and what I feel is best for both the success of my business and downtown Allegan. My words of advice would be to be true to your beliefs and hold strong to your personal style when translating it to your work. I have a unique sense of style that I like to define as ‘Quirky Boho’ and this is the overall vibe that I strive for my business and products. I also have a certain quality that I hold my business at and am not afraid to turn down a custom request if I am not proud to have my tag on it. Be a good person, stick to your guns and don’t be afraid to dye your hair pink!
Where do you gather most of your inspiration for your artwork?
I find a lot of inspiration from graphics and patterns that I see as well as other artists style. I like to pull different elements that I like and bring them together for a totally new and unique look. I also greatly value my customer’s input and accommodate their requests every chance I can get. In fact, our birthday event is centered around customer requests so I make sure to bring in every pattern request possible.
What is your favorite...
Pet and/or animal: dogs! My two rescue dogs are named Benzie and Lucy but I also love llamas and sharks.
Movie: Edward Scissorhands
Board game: Words Against Humanity
Best cup of coffee: frozen coconut milk latte with sugar-free vanilla and an extra shot from Mugshots in Allegan!
Ice cream: I am lactose intolerant but I love Ben & Jerry’s 7 Layer Dairy Free!
What superpower would you have and why?
I would love to be able to travel extremely fast like the Flash. I think my work day would be way more efficient!
A recipe you’re known for or like to make:
I am not much of a chef….but I am known to enjoy a Taco Bell bean burrito with no onions and sushi probably more than I should.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Keep your personal life as separate from your business as possible.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
What has been the best cultural event you visited in the past year?
Electric Forest music festival was an amazing event to be a part of. I loved meeting so many different people from all over the country.
Do you admire any artists?
Carly from Harper North Designs
Cris Borowski from Hypknotica
What are some of your favorite reads?
My favorite book is the Handmaid’s Tale. I also love modern-day motivational books such as Grit and Girl Wash Your Face.
What do you like to listen to?
I have a wide variety of music that I love. Macklemore, Thomas Rhett, Kasbo, The Guess Who, Leon Bridges, Radical Something, The Lumineers, The Rolling Stones, and Santana are amongst my favorites.