(Pictured: My best-selling Afrodescendiente Necklace, available at ShopZahiraKelly.com)
After much deliberation and pussyfooting, this last August I opened up my own proper online shop, just to try it. For the last couple years I had been selling random stuff from RedBubble and was really frustrated with their layout and terrible pricing and wondering if it was worth the money to have my own standalone online store. And while my initial shop was featured in Paper Mag for my handcrafted foodie 3d nail art sets, I was hesitant to stock anything else. I am an artist, yes, but I have been very shy about showing people what I create for most my life. Background: Only in my late 20’s did I finally post something online (a black cheesecake pin-up) and whaddya know, my art career started picking up.
Some know me on social media for being ranty about Afrolatina and/or feminist issues and I purposely kept my name and art very separate from my written socio-cultural critique for my first few years on tumblr and twitter. It took some time to dip my toes into visibility. After Editors kept asking me to write for their publications and my name started popping up in articles, I kinda gave up the mystery and started integrating my art into things.
Fast forward and I just threw myself into this online shop thing. I am an indie artist and can’t keep large stock or mass manufacture. In a world of instant gratification, I was afraid making people wait a few weeks to have their items produced would be unrealistic. But I figured out how to 3d print the necklaces pictured above and embarked on this, on sheer faith. And whoa. It has been pretty amazing. They were a hit. Granted, had a few issues with my manufacturer for the first month or so and then switched to a new one and its been smooth sailing.
My shop has recorded nearly 10,000 unique visitors in the last 4 months. I’ve sold so many prints, tees, and other varied merchandise with my art on it. I have gotten business and shout outs from the brilliant Anika Noni Rose, Francheska aka HeyFranHey, among others. Featured in one of Buzzfeed’s holiday gift lists and asked to vend at the next AfroLatino Fest in NYC.
I will be updating you here on new products, developments and whatevers up with this new endeavor of mine (one of like a trillion- -‘hustle mode’ forever on.)
I’m just so grateful to all of you. Most of the proceeds were donated directly to a young Black sex worker, Black moms, a Native mom, a Black trans woman.
Thank you so much,