Kristin Farmer: Curly Contessa
When Kristin Farmer was diagnosed with Bipolar II and Borderline Personality Disorder, she actually breathed a sigh of relief. She’d been misdiagnosed for years and frustrated by the onslaught of wrong information, which came to a stop once she found the right mental health professional. To celebrate, Farmer decided to treat herself to a glass of wine in festive glassware. Unfortunately, she discovered that she had trouble locating a wine glass with a fun illustration resembling herself. So she did what any savvy artist would do — she created one. With that, her new business, Curly Contessa, was born.
Farmer, a corporate graphic designer by trade, explained that Curly Contessa is meant for “celebrating everyday moments.” As a Black woman with natural hair, she wanted her art to inspire other Black women. The brand started with wrapping paper and moved toward a large assortment of gift items, including apparel, glassware and much more.
Farmer has high hopes for her business and intends to to move her brand into luxury retail establishments in the near future. For now, shoppers can find her online, at CurlyContessa.com. She also accepts commission work.
“Black women see themselves in my images, and they relate to them,” she said.
Javacia Harris Bowser: See Jane Write
When Javacia Harris Bowser returned to her native Birmingham after time away, she immediately sought a writing group that would address her varied interests: journalism, poetry, blogging and creative nonfiction. To her surprise, the groups she found were focused on one niche of wordsmithing, not several. Bowser decided to take matters into her own hands and create See Jane Write, a community for writers of all stripes to gather and trade ideas.
At first, Bowser was juggling teaching full time at Alabama School of Fine Arts with running her new business. In 2019, she decided to embark on her freelance writing career, which gave her flexibility and allowed See Jane Write to flourish. In early 2020, Bowser was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she powered through her treatment with good humor, the support of her family and the SJW community. As of December 2020, she was finished with treatment.
Since its inception in 2011, See Jane Write has become a thriving business. Members have access to a resource library of information, special guest speaker sessions, monthly critiques, workshops, write-ins and more.
“If you’re looking for something and can’t find it, create it yourself,” Bowser advised. “There are other people out there who want it and need it too.”