Atypically Artistic is a shop run by Miss Thera. She grew up creating; participating in fine and performing arts, and later trying her hand at costuming, makeup, hairstyling, and more. In her shop, you can find an eclectic variety of handmade items such as rings, hairbows, digital art, and anything else she’s inspired to create.
Welcome to the Artisans Co-op, Miss Thera!
What’s the name of your business, if you use one? Why did you choose it? – What do you create/sell?
Atypically Artistic is the name of my shop. I picked this name because I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age and have always struggled with the idea of figuring out what I want to “be” or “do” in life. Atypically Artistic is all of who I am – A crafter, a dancer, a teacher, a mother, a creative business consultant, a digital artist, a playwright, and more, and more and more. When the name came to me it just clicked. – My handmade shop is my space to share ALL the many things I create. It’s an eclectic collection of my creative passions. Arts and crafts of many kinds that constantly evolve as I find new mediums and passions.
Do you currently have a shop or website up and running? Where can we find you?
My main website is missthera.com, that is my home for all of my creative projects outside of just handmade creations. You can find my handmade shop specifically at missthera.com/atypicallyartistic/ or https://atypicallyartistic.com – both will lead you to the same awesome place!
How long have you been creating? What made you want to start your business/start selling your art?
I have been creating my whole life. In early childhood through my early adult life it was mostly related to the performing arts. The arts was the one place where I thrived growing up. I struggled a lot in school because of my ADHD, and I always felt out of place and like a failure, but when I was allowed the opportunity to create, I felt like I had found where I belong.
Luckily, I had access to some amazing arts education growing up through scholarships and my late Grandmother investing in my arts education. My parents (separated when I was young) both invested so much time in my participation in performing and fine arts through their time and the little money they had. Without that I don’t know where I would be today. I went from arts classes, to becoming a hairstylist and makeup artist, to costuming and playwrighting and so on. Creativity has always been like water to me. I need it to survive and it makes up the majority of who I am!
In 2012 I got married and handcrafted just about everything involved in our rockabilly/Tim Burton inspired wedding. I made our invitations, my bouquet, our centerpieces, my husband’s boutonniere, our handfasting cords, our food, the hand-painted crow and cherry blossom false nails I wore, and the hair accessories worn by my 2-year-old daughter and me.
The hair bows I made inspired my very first handmade shop RockaBeautyBoutique, which I opened on Etsy 2 years later.
I ran that shop for 2.5 years until I took a break to have our son in 2016. I thought I would come back to it, but over time realized I didn’t like the hyper niche I had created with my brand, and I didn’t like the changes Etsy made when they went public.
Through multiple years of struggling to bring creativity back into my life, and a sickening feeling that I had turned into a manufacturer instead of a creative human, I slowly moved away from the idea of running a handmade shop. I went back to my performing arts roots and focused more on teaching theater and dance, and brought costuming and body art back into my life. In 2020, the pandemic took all of that away from me.
I spent 2020 creating for myself again and realized that I was finally in a happy place. I never strived to be some 6-figure entrepreneur, so why was I listening to business advice from people trying to get rich running their businesses? Why did I listen when everyone said you have to find your niche to be successful? Success is not me finding my target market and selling everything I make.
Success is finding peace and joy in my life. Creating from and following my passions without the limits society tries to place on me is how I found that. The best part is sharing those creations with people that will find a little joy themselves every time they wear, use or look at the things I make!
That epiphany is what brought Atypically Artistic to life. I re-launched my handmade shop under the new brand in June of 2022 and just celebrated our 1 year anniversary, and I have loved every little bit of it!
What does your creative process look like? If you work with a creative partner, how is it to work together, or do you have different roles in the process?
If I’m not actively creating something, then I am always thinking about the next thing I want to create. Sometimes that is a tangible craft project, sometimes it’s digital or pen and paper artwork, sometimes it’s music and movement, or sometimes it’s web design and marketing related. I morph what I create based on what my brain wants and needs at the time, as well as what I’m being asked to create for clients and customers. My constant shifting between creative mediums helps me keep up with my brain and keep my executive dysfunction at bay. The novelty rarely wears off when I’m making something new throughout each and every day.
What part of creation do you enjoy the most? (The process, seeing the finished product, seeing people’s reactions to receiving the art/product, etc.)
I love it all! Each and every step of the way. Some parts can be frustrating when learning a new craft or coming up with a new design, but as someone that thrives on solving problems, I push through the hard bits and the reward is always well worth it.
What is your Number One piece of advice for fellow artisans (biggest lesson learned)?
Follow your passions and frequently check in with yourself about your motivations for creating. If something ever feels bad about your process, change it!
What is your biggest inspiration?
I am inspired by everything around me but frequently find the most inspiration from nature and history. My family went to the beach the other day and my son was collecting seashells, and it inspired a new crochet pattern for some shell earrings. I love bringing fashion and design from history into my work from the rockabilly hair accessories I make to the time period costumes I create for productions. I find color motivates and inspires me a lot as well. I studied color theory throughout my life from art classes in grade school to formulating hair color in cosmetology school. Now I snap a photo anytime I see a color palette in nature that I love and play around with creating my own color palettes on a regular basis.
Is there a specific niche or target audience you are trying to reach with your art?
I find the concept of a niche extremely limiting as a creative, and I have made a conscious decision (out of necessity) to throw that idea out the window. The idea of a niche is a very neurotypical concept to begin with, and as someone who is so passion driven, I don’t want to feel stuck in my craft just to reach some capitalist definition of success. Back when I was trying to go the route of following a niche, I struggled so much to stay motivated in my creativity. Now that I create, while working with instead of against my brains natural state, I am finding more balance and happiness in my life. As for my target audience, my creations are really for anyone who enjoys them. If something I make puts a smile on your face, then it is for you! I also put a lot of activism into my creations with focus on making things that bring happiness to the neurodivergent and LGBTQ+ communities. I am definitely swimming upstream by taking the path I have with my shop, but upstream is a well traveled path for someone who is neurodivergent. Nothing has been easy in life growing up with ADHD, so why go the easy route now? It is vital that what I do be passion driven, and unfortunately that is not the easy route to take in our world.
What do you hope to gain from joining the Artisans Co-op?
I’ve been with Artisans Cooperative from the very beginning. When I re-opened my handmade shop (first on ko-fi, and now on my own website) I knew it would be difficult not joining a major marketplace like Etsy, but the Etsy Strike happened right as I was re-opening my handmade shop doors and I didn’t feel right jumping on a platform that doesn’t live up to its mission. Shortly after I opened my shop, I connected with our initial group of organizers in July of 2022 and it has all just felt like the right path since. The Co-op is a better fit for my style of creativity, and it already is a far better community than any other marketplace I have looked at.
Anything else you’d like to share?
When I re-opened my shop, I had a vision to support causes and non-profits through my creativity. This month, June 2023, I was finally able to make that a reality by launching Atypically Artistic’s Create for a Cause program. Throughout the year I will selecting different causes to support through the sales of my handmade creations.
This month, I am donating all profits from sales of LGBTQ+ pride products in my shop to the It Gets Better Project, a non-profit whose mission is to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth around the globe.
My main goal in launching this program is to give back to and support the communities that I have grown up in. LGBTQ+, Neurodivergent, and Arts communities are my main focus and I am so excited to continue rolling out this program over the year and see where it grows from here!
About Artisans Cooperative
We are growing an online handmade marketplace for an inclusive network of creatives: a co-op alternative to Etsy.
Shop the marketplace!