My name is Aunna Kelly and I am an artist from Shreveport, Louisiana. I express myself in many art forms including visual, fashion, and photography. I attended Caddo Magnet High School where I delved into visual arts and found my love for fashion illustration. I later studied studio art at Centenary College of Louisiana and soon transferred to Academy of Art University studying fashion design and fashion styling. I am now on my journey of entrepreneurship and building my company, Starving Artists Lifestyle Brand.
Starving Artists is a lifestyle brand dedicated to artists of all forms and styles. We sell eccentric art, everyday vintage finds, and recycled clothing.
The logo for Starving Artists Lifestyle Brand is a flamingo. Now we all know that a flamingo is pink but, some of you may or may not know that it is not born pink in color. A flamingo actually gets its color from its diet and what it puts in its body. With that being said, we Starving Artists can be whatever and whoever we want to be, we just have to feed ourselves with the art and creativity that gives us our true color. I hope everyone can find a way to relate and feel inspired and empowered by the flamingo! Be the best artist you can be in every aspect of art there is (dance, music, theater, visual, photography, fashion, etc.) find yourself, feed yourself, be yourself!
What’s your mission/goal?
My mission/goal for the brand is to have a successful online store and be able to reach an audience across the entire country at least, then further to something more nationwide. I would love to have a storefront first in my hometown, Shreveport, La, next in Los Angeles and New York following; possibly one in New Orleans as well.
How long have you been in business?
I started this idea back in June of 2016, that is when I went on a hunt for my first thrift pieces. I sat on a rack of clothes for almost an enitre year, just putting my idea off because I didn't know where to start to actually execute it. I forced myself to post some items for sale and the moment I did, I sold my first piece. That was May 25, 2017. So I guess you could say I've been selling for about 9 months.
What influenced you to pick this craft?
I'd always wanted to have a boutique of my own but I never had the funds to open a shop. Well I figured that I'd take the funds that I did have and work with that. I thrift for my personal wardrobe so thrifting came easy and natural for me. I chose to turn that hobby into something I'd always wanted to do, open a store. I could afford thrift pieces and everyone loves my style and sense of fashion, yet not many really want to go through the hunt of finding these super cool pieces. So I decided to provide a service to them, then Starving Artists was born.
How do you balance being a passionate artist with being a business woman?
This is something that I struggle with and I am still searching for the key ingredient to making both of these work. I look up to other female artists and business women in the city and take as many notes and pointers from them. One trick is, always appear to have it all together even when you don't.
What’s the toughest part about having your own business?
Time management and balancing life. It is a lot more work than I imagined trying to build a company and live a life. You basically have to have no life and live, breath, and eat your business. I am okay with that because I love my company, but it can be extremely challenging at times. I want to do so much for my company but I am only one person and there are only 24 hours in a day. A better financial backing would help tremendously, ease the burdens, free up time and allow for a clearer mine to have time to invest in the business.
What’s the most fulfilling?
Seeing someone wearing a piece from my shop out in public, on social media, and/or selling to someone that lives outside of Shreveport that doesn't know who I am personally. That's pretty cool, seeing your vision and idea really work and blossom. Seeing people understand and gravitate to my idea of the brand, it's very inspiring!
Right now Staring Artists is on a seasonal break. I am working on rebranding and a possible relocation of the brand. I may be back soon with an awesome Spring 2018 collection, or I may have a new home for Starving Artists to grow in the future. Whatever happens, follow the Instagram page (@shopstarvingartists) to stay updated.