Updated: Apr 3
This Creative Corner is Tye Jiles of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, owner, and operator of Sagmoon Paper CO. Tye is a fantastic artist and poet, and I would never have found her if it wasn't for Tik Tok.
I love following creatives on every platform because I am inspired by the beauty they put into the world. I happen to see her work, and I stopped, clicked her profile, and started to scroll her profile. When I say I had to double back a few times, I did just that. I was amazed.
I started a small conversation and asked if she would like to be featured as a Creative Corner; she said yes!!! I am so excited to feature her, and really she doesn't need any hype from me; she is one BADASS woman!!!
I love Tye's vibe and cool demeanor. She is very talented, and her art is featured in
Bobby/Berk: 16 Black-Owned Etsy Shops Bobby Is Shopping.
Blackboard Magazine: How to rethink your interiors while supporting Black businesses.
Moxiskates: Support Black Creatives
She has created book a of her poetry called: Revealing Layers: The Shell of a Woman. Please go check out her work so you can understand why she is a big deal.
Now let's get into a bit of Tye and her interview with Obsidian People.
Can you tell me a bit about your business path?
I've always known entrepreneurship was the path I wanted to go in because I grew up seeing it. My grandparents owned a clothing store, and I remember loving it! We went to conventions, festivals, and I learned how to shop wholesale because they included me in everything. Many entrepreneurs were in my family, so having that visual inspiration was monumental in my taking this path. It was a natural transition for me.
What is the mission of your business?
To create art that means something to people. To continue to show us as beautiful human beings. I think black people are just so beautiful. Our whole essence is just a vibe. I love how we are, and of course, we have flaws, but at our core, we are the epitome of love. Our culture is so dope, and I want to continue to create art that showcases who we are. That is my ultimate goal. Creating art in this way will allow me to contribute even more to causes that uplift us and make a change in our community.
What inspired your business?
My love for creativity is what inspired my business. I have always been doing something creative. I made wearable art jewelry out of resin, and that was my first business venture in 2012, but some unforeseen things happened, and I had to put that to the side. I miss doing that; it was very soothing. To be honest, art was secondary for me. I was writing first. It is my passion as well. My initial goal was to create art for greeting cards and write the words/poetry for the interior of the cards. I am selling some now, but they are blank inside.
I have a new collection coming out for those shortly. I opened an Etsy store in 2016, but it just sat there because I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go. At the start of 2020, I was determined to do my art somehow. I needed an iPad, and I really couldn't afford it at the time, but I kept speaking it. I wrote it down in my journal daily in 2019. I got my iPad in March 2020, and late one night in June, I tweeted some of the art I was making in light of everything that was going on with the movement and woke up to people asking where they could buy it.
I got retweets from some viral people, and it was just insane. I was shocked! I purposely did it at night because I was afraid of the response, and it was the complete opposite of what I expected. So I quickly put some mockups together and started filling up my Etsy store.
What were some of your early roles in the field?
I started out making patterns. I drew them by hand, uploaded them to Illustrator, and sold them on Print on Demand sites. I took courses to enhance my skills, read tons of books, and watched many YouTube videos related to design and illustration. I entered a contest on Mood Fabric's IG and came in 2nd place. It was a great experience and pushed me to learn even more about the craft of design. I am still a student because there is still so much to learn.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do? / What are you most excited about right now?
The thing I love the most is the response to my art. I never knew it would do for people what it is doing. I save every message that people send me about how it makes them feel. The best thing is people calling me Sis; that feels like I'm talking to the family! It's also them thanking me for letting them see themselves in my work. I feel like my customers have become a part of my family because they have a massive piece of my heart in their homes. It means the world to me. I'm most excited about a few things coming up in 2022. I can't expound on them yet, but I am overwhelmed by the opportunities.
What do you enjoy the least? Or is there something that surprised you about the role when you first started?
The administrative things! I hate not answering people the moment they message me. I am a perfectionist in a way that I need to make sure their needs are being met. It's just hard to get everything done in 24 hrs and still make sure you are making time for other things. I have three daughters, 19, 14, and 6 years old, and they are all at different stages of life right now, so I have to tend to their needs and try to spend time with my husband. It's a juggling act at this point, and sometimes I'm stretched thin, but I wouldn't trade the experience, and I'm looking forward to hiring someone in the future to do that end of the work so that I have more time to create.
What are some big projects you're working on now or that you've finished up in the last few months?
I can't talk about some of them, but I am entirely beside myself with the opportunities coming my way. I kept thinking to myself like I don't have a vast social media following, so I figured it would take me a while to grow, but that's not the case. I have been receiving partnership deals like crazy, and I am still in awe! I have no idea how they're even finding me lol I am incredibly grateful and humbled by it all, and I don't take any of it for granted. One thing I am excited about is my Fall Collection. It is very much centered around black femininity.
As black women, we are often just recognized for having hard exteriors and not being seen as the ideal standard of beauty and femininity, but that is entirely false. We are soft; we are loving and sensitive.
We should be allowed the space to be that and be seen as strong all the time because we are not. We deserve to be loved in whatever way we present ourselves. I am hoping to showcase that in this upcoming collection. Also, right now, the partnership I did with Sand and Fog candles is in stores now. You can purchase them at TJ Maxx and Home Goods. My collaboration with Souk and Sepia is also one I'm very proud of. I love working with them. Also, I partnered with Fy Art to bring my art to the U.K. and Europe for those looking to shop overseas.
What skills do you think are most important for someone interested in a business like yours?
Do your research on the industry. Know your worth as far as licensing goes, don't underprice your work. I made that mistake initially, but I have learned the value of knowing the industry standards. Don't think you are worthless because you are just starting, and you should price your work according to the time you spend on it. Talk to other artists that are willing to mentor you in the industry.
The best thing I can say is to utilize places like SkillShare and YouTube. I learned so much from those two platforms alone about art techniques as well as business. Protect your work from resellers who steal art; there is a lot of that going on with artists these days. Ensure your business is protected, secure an LLC if you can, and keep track of everything with receipts. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone; it will take you far.
How has this journey shaped your life?
It has made me more confident. It has made me more aware of moving in this world, operating from love and understanding. I struggled with caring so much about what others thought about what I created, so much so that I never shared it. I've been making art that never saw the light of day because someone close to me didn't give it approval. That made absolutely no sense!
I don't care so much about opinions or lack of support for what I am doing anymore. Just because you know someone or they are your family doesn't mean that they are your customer. I had to get out of my feelings about that and focus on those who love what I bring to the table. I had a whole shift in my life where I am now surrounded by people who encourage my gifts and spread the word! I used to feel like I wasn't good at what I was doing and that I should continue just being a mom and wife, but that was not the purpose of my life.
My middle daughter got emotional when I said I was going to give it up. She spoke life into me, and I tell her all the time how she changed my life just because she believed in me. I had to set an example for my girls not to give up. They are thriving in their own ways, and I think them watching me has helped them in many ways. I also shifted my mindset, and I believe in myself more than anything now. Don't get me wrong, I still have days of doubt, but I don't let that fear sit around for too long. I am not afraid of so-called failure; I know that there is a lesson in everything and dust myself off and try it differently.
I have grown to understand that my life belongs to me, and to spread love to others, I had to learn to love myself unconditionally. I am in no way perfect, but I have way more compassion in my heart than ever before. I live my life more intentionally now. I focus on what I need, and in turn, I can give more to others.
How will you inspire others?
I hope to inspire others by being that person that encourages people to chase after what they are and not what they want to be. What I mean by that is, we are born with gifts, and we often fight against them to fit in. I want people to identify who they are and hone in on the skills they need to accomplish their goals. Break the rules a little bit! The rules were created to stifle our creativity to be workers and not use our skills to make even more beauty in this world.