Art, Healing, and Business: A Woman's Nod to Creativity and Capital


How one business owner uses her art as a healing practice and source of revenue

by Robin Robinson

Black business owners have been on the rise throughout communities across the nation. Demetria Williams is a 21-year old entrepreneur who is dedicated to using her craft as a source of healing and capital. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Williams started her design business, Designs by Deme, in 2016. Since then, Williams has been designing a variety of crochet pieces based upon unique requests from customers and her own creative process. Williams continues to base her business out of Wisconsin while pursuing her college degree. 

Are there any intersections between art, healing and business?

Art is something that people use to express themselves whether that’s painting, singing or drawing … It has a connection to healing because I use my art to heal and to help me just process my emotions … I feel like business can get really overwhelming and overshadow the healing process, because when you’re running a business it comes with a lot of rules that people don’t tell you about … As you go through this journey of healing, learning things about yourself, you just gotta take it one step at a time … You can’t rush and do things overnight. Things don’t happen overnight. [A] business won’t grow itself overnight. You have to put time and effort into it, just like with art … It’s just something that I do for my sanity because it’s something I love to do.

What does being a Black business owner mean to you?

I think that being a Black business owner is a really great thing, especially today because we’re the new generation. There was a time where we didn’t have the opportunities to have our own businesses, and I do and I’ve built it from scratch on my own. It’s become very successful, and I think it’ll be even more successful. But I think just being a Black woman, having my own business … can just be really inspiring for people who want to have a business and learn how to do that. Some people when they start their businesses, they have somebody to help them, they already have resources, so they don’t really have to start from scratch. But people like me, I have to start from scratch because I don’t have those resources. I don’t have somebody to give me a loan of a million dollars to start my business. I have to use my own funding sometimes to start my business and buy the supplies. And I think it’s just building something greater than myself. I just look at all of the people that started before us, like Madam C.J. Walker … she started from scratch, just like I did. She was very successful and she’s made a name for herself and a legacy for her family. That’s what I want to do. I want to be like Madam C.J. Walker, or any other Black business owners out there that have paved the way for me and many others.

How has crochet design contributed to your wider understanding of the world?

I think crochet design has shown me that everybody’s unique and different because when I create my items and designs they’re all based on the personality of that person, based on what they want. Nothing that I make is honestly ever the same … [My customers] come from different backgrounds, different experiences that shaped them into who they are, and I think that’s really great. I love that about the world … It can be hard to understand certain parts of people in certain parts of the world, because we just don’t get it. Things get complicated, just like when I crochet designs and things that I’ve never done before.

What are some of the triumphs and challenges of owning your own business?

I think the biggest one for me is learning how to price my items. Because it can be hard to put a price on your art because you made this thing and you love it so much. And it’s like I don’t know how to price that … Another challenge for me running this business is doing it on my own … When you go into Walmart, you don’t see one person in there running the store. There’s like at least 100 workers in there. So I’m not saying I need 100 workers, but I need more hands to help me build my brand the way I want to build it. So if that means I need to teach like five people how to crochet and pay them by the hour to help me, then that’s what I’m going to do because I know it’ll help me run my business smoothly … I think a triumph for me was hitting my follower goal on Instagram. Instagram was my main source of social media that promoted my business … That means a lot to me. You care enough to look at my art, pay attention to the detail and you admire it. I think that was pretty cool. I just feel like it’s growing every day because every week I get more and more followers.

How has crochet design shaped any aspect of your identity?

Well, honestly, I can say crochet design has helped me learn how to dress better and that helps me feel better because when you dress and look good, you feel good. Honestly, I can say I did not have a really good sense of style, but I was still learning, especially in high school … Designing clothes for other people, it just gave me a new light on clothing and how it can just make you feel, and I know it’s just quotes, but what you wear plays a role in how you feel … I just really love crocheting and it’s the one thing that truly makes me happy.

Featured photo provided by Pixabay.