Today we’d like to introduce you to Annie Anzaldua.
Annie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
As long as I can remember, I have had an interest in art, design, and fashion, so when it came time to go to college I opted for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I majored in fashion design (with an emphasis on sustainable fashion), and I really loved it. My senior year Abercrombie and Fitch recruited me to design for them before I had even graduated and as a broke college student living off of rice and beans I was so excited by all the zeros on my sign-on bonus that I neglected to think about what kind of a company they were. Needless to say, their environmental practices were terrible, and my coworkers were certainly not the nicest. I had signed a two-year contract so I couldn’t leave -it was a really terrible time.
When my contract was up, I quit that second and left Ohio (where Abercrombie is based) to move to Austin, Texas on a whim. My husband and I had visited several times, and we just fell in love with it and took the jump! Once I got to Austin, I was really lost for a bit and worked some odd jobs – blogging, retail, nannying, etc. Eventually, a friend of mine recommended I attend this workshop called Feminist Camp that was in NYC. I got a partial scholarship to go, and the experience really pushed me to take my dreams more seriously, and also to do something about all the awful things that had been going on since the 2016 election. I started hosting fundraisers for Planned Parenthood and, to raise more money, I started designing merchandise for the events. Eventually, people started asking if they could buy the merchandise outside of the events, and my husband convinced me to expand my line.
I started an Etsy shop, and an online shop that I named The F Word Gift Shop (The F word here is “feminist”) and things slowly started taking off. I got my product in a bunch of shops all over the country and eventually last June I quit all my side jobs to be full time. Switching to full time was when things really got real, and after ten months of doing that, I had enough money to open my brick and mortar store – Gloria Collective! This shop has my products, but it is also a women’s collective for about 20 female identifying women in the Austin area. We also have a few artist studios in the back and a community area where we host volunteer nights and workshops. We just opened last month, but so far it has been amazing!
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
We sell everything from t-shirts, to greeting cards, to sticker packs. Most of our first generation products are niche and specific to political rhetoric or events going on in the world – but we are expanding our line this year to be more all-encompassing (we try to focus on positivity and sisterly solidarity). A few of our items we have made by outside vendors, but we are slowly shifting that as we earn enough capital to buy expensive printers and vinyl cutters.
I design all of our products, packaging, and social media/marketing materials. Our main goal is to have women think about their power and not things we have been made to feel ashamed for – basically to promote body positivity and speak openly about all aspects of womanhood. I always say that I hope women walk away from our store and feel beautiful, smart, and capable.
In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think there are a lot (especially for women and minorities), but the biggest one has to be money. It is really hard to get a company off the ground if it is completely self-funded, but in order to get grants and loans a lot of time you need to show proof that your company is working… it is kind of a catch 22. The same thing goes for product margins; basically, you cannot afford to buy large quantities when you first start out and aren’t sure if this is going to work and that means that everything costs more and in turn, you earn less money off of each sale. It is really hard to get out of that loop without outside funding.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can always find our full line at Gloria Collective in Austin, TX and check out our Instagram (@TheFWordGiftShop).
We also sell in stores all over the country so you can check out the stockist page on our website for more details (www.TheFWordGiftShop.com).
The best way to support small artists is definitely to buy their work, haha, but even just comments and shares on social media can be super helpful (and free!).
- Address: 3016 Guadalupe St. Suite A101, Austin, TX 78705
- Website: www.TheFWordGiftShop.com
- Phone: 8313596140
- Email: ANNIE@THEFWORDGIFTSHOP.COM
- Instagram: @TheFWordGiftShop
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefwordgiftshop