About ten years ago when other young people were simply content to wear Jamaican lifestyle brand Cooyah, the teenaged Jessica Reynolds was inspired: she thought it would be cool to have her own designs printed on a shirt.
Today that’s exactly what she is doing with Artemis Art. You’ve probably seen someone rocking one of her T-shirts . If you frequent the Brighton Farmers Market on Saturdays or Holders Farmers Market on Sundays, you may also have seen Jessica there.
I caught up with her one Thursday morning as she manned the inspiring collaborative art space that is Tandem in Colonnade Mall on Broad Street. There I got the story behind the brand which includes tees, stickers and buttons.
“The origin story is a bit of a jumbled mess. When I was in my teens I really liked the brand Cooyah and I was like it would be so cool to do stuff on a T-shirt or whatever. I was like 15 or 16 then. Then I kinda fast forwarded to 21, 22 when I was working and I was just doing these designs and just stuff to pass the time and whatever. I had like these cute little designs and I was like what am I going to do with them. So somebody was like you should register a business and somebody else encouraged me to do a Facebook page. After that I said I guess I would put them on T-shirts,” she recalls.
And so it began, driven by the encouragement of other people.
When I think about Artemis the “Thin the Herd” and “Hunting Greatness” lines come to mind first. That’s why I was eager to hear about the motivation behind the inspirational messages. As it turns out, Jessica came back from studying animation overseas and found herself jobless for six months. As she revealed, the designs were a way of uplifting and comforting herself and it occurred to her that other people probably need to hear these inspirational words as well. She was right. These lines generally get the most attention from customers and potential purchasers.
While we’re on the subject of customers, it’s noteworthy that Artemis Art has mass appeal. Jessica says she initially expected her demographic to be that 18 to 25 age group who are now finding their way in the world. However, people ages 24 to 45 have also been intrigued by the brand and Jessica is pleased with the progress of her mostly one-woman operation over the past four years. In fact, having seen the returns on her efforts, she’s planning future expansion.
If you check out the Artemis Art Redbubble store you’ll see bags, mugs, stationery and even device cases featuring Jessica’s designs. However, she wants to go even further.
“Right now I’m trying to find a way to expand outwards from just T-shirts. There’s the stuff that I do online but I think I’d also like to get into other apparel so it’s less of a T-shirt line and more of a casual line. So I’m just kind of trying to figure out where to put my foot first,” she explains.
So what can we expect? Earlier this year Jessica participated in the Pompasette Brunch Party fashion show with a dress, shorts and a cropped top and pencil skirt combo. If we’re lucky at least two of these pieces will be available in a small run within the next year.
I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see what’s in store!