Who are you? & can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Brittany Dunlap (soon to be Brittany Bouyer)! I live, work and play in Chicago, IL and have for the last 6 years. I grew up in a small town with horses and farm animals in Ohio and took a leap to the big city with hopes of throwing life a curveball. I’m a very passionate person which makes me fully commit with my whole heart on projects, friendships and family. I drink a lot of tea, have a serious relationship with dark chocolate and love to laugh and socialize!
What exactly is Art & Advocacy?
Art and Advocacy is just like it sounds: using art to advocate. We use art to advocate for a variety of causes from all over the world. I personally design and create new artwork collections that’s inspired by different non-profits missions and annual projects. From each collection, 20% of the proceeds are donated back to the partnered non-profit. Right now the shop mainly runs from an online shop with a few wholesale accounts throughout the city in boutiques.
What inspired you to start Art & Advocacy?
In the last few years I’ve noticed what inspires and motivates me to work. I discovered myself struggling as an artist for awhile, it was difficult to stay motivated since I had the freedom to create absolutely anything. What motivated me was creating for a larger purpose. After a trip to Uganda in 2011, I continued to stay closely connected with our group, FOYA Uganda. Each year I created some work, sold some art pieces and donated the funds back to them. This lit me up inside! As I was taking a long drive (you know, no phone distractions!) it was some sort of “ah-ha” moment, “why don’t I do this kind of work ALL the time?!” And, Art & Advocacy was born.
How did you come up with the name?
Honestly, it took a decent amount of brainstorming with a few of my creative friends. I was trying to explain exactly what I wanted it to become. I wanted the name to be clear and really communicate my message without much gray area. Plus I love when words are together and begin with the same letter, it just sounds better!
Some of your proceeds are donated; can you tell us about that?
Yes! Each collection of designs has a specific non-profit partner. Each month, the 20% of the proceeds are accounted for and I send off a payment to the partner! I absolutely LOVE being about to financially support these causes and share their missions with my audience.
Is there a favorite product?
I would definitely have to say the totes! I use them for EVERYTHING. I’m also one of those crazy bag people that uses multiple bags for everyday use! PLUS it’s super fun to always have one on me for trips to the store– you know, anti-plastic bags!
What is your favorite part about running Art & Advocacy?
That’s such a tough one– there are so many amazing part to running it. Lately I would have to say my favorite part has been actually visiting the non-profits I partner with. Visiting any facilities, learning all the details of the process and more. It really helps me feel a more personal connection to what they are continuing to achieve daily.
What is your least favorite part about running Art & Advocacy?
I think I would have to say keeping up with some silly admin stuff that you don’t actually think about as an artist running a business. It is getting so much easier now though! Each day is a new learning experience.
How do you spread the word about your company?
Talking to people I meet, small boutiques in Chicago, live vending at festivals and events, connections with the non-profit partners and social media (Facebook and Instagram). My favorite is definitely just talking to people– it really fuels my fire to share what I’m doing!
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Go with your gut.
Make decisions— don’t meddle in them for too long.
Be proud of what you are creating.
Find a solid support system with other business owners.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? ☺
Here are a few favorites:
“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” -Vincent Van Gogh
“Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyways.” -Glennon Doyle Melton
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” -William Shakespeare
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
First I’d love to announce our next collections and when they will launch:
October 2018: Partnership with Women for Women International Collection
December 2018: Partnership with One Tail at a Time
I’m always open to accept proposals for other non-profits or projects, so feel free to email (firstname.lastname@example.org) your ideas to me at any time. I’m currently working on some special edition products and designs for specific causes throughout the year too (i.e. Women’s March, Annual Fundraisers, Disaster Reflief, etc.)!
Follow Along via Instagram or Like the page on Facebook– every little bit of sharing can change so much for small businesses— thank you!