Today we’d like to introduce you to Devona Stimpson.
Devona, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember. I created my first website when I was in the 4th grade, and taught myself graphic and web design all throughout middle and high school. When MySpace was popular, I would create custom layouts for myself and friends. I was freelancing during my teens and even landed a graphic design internship during my senior year.
I thought I wanted to be the best graphic designer in the world. But that all changed when I took a painting class in college. I became good at it and loved the creative freedom it gave me that the design world didn’t. That moment, I realized I wanted to pursue painting over design.
My husband and I got into personal development and wealth building during our senior year in college, and the online entrepreneurship world opened a whole new world for us. We were working day jobs and wanted to pursue entrepreneurship full time. So we moved from the east coast to San Diego, CA to be surrounded by other like-minded people and to grow our business Strive & Grind.
Strive & Grind was born out of the passion to help others STRIVE to achieve greatness, and GRIND to get there. We currently do this by helping entrepreneurs, influencers, and service-based businesses create memorable, disruptive, and badass PREMIUM brands. We saw that there was a huge gap in the marketplace when it came to branding. A lot of entrepreneurs had crappy brands and didn’t know how to brand themselves or their businesses correctly. A lot of business owners also didn’t know what branding really was, and we wanted to educate the community on the power and importance of branding. We believe that without a brand, you’re a commodity. At the end of the day, our goal is to help entrepreneurs truly thrive and not only create a successful business, but also a life of freedom.
After being able to build S&G to a multiple six-figure business with my husband, I was able to transition out of the business and focus on building my art and personal brand.
My art and personal brand was something I put on the backburner so that I could focus on building the branding company. But it’s been so great to be able to paint again and help other creatives thrive in their business and lives. I now paint and sell quality prints and originals on my online store artbydevona.com, and am now working on the launch of my podcast gangSTAR* CREATIVE.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Absolutely not. Is it ever? haha.
In the beginning, Strive & Grind was a lifestyle brand for anyone and everyone who strived to achieve greatness and grinded to get there. We had a blog, clothing line, brand ambassadors, sponsored athletes, college chapters, and events. Basically, we had something really cool with a lot of stuff going on, but we weren’t making any money. We needed to pivot if we really wanted to quit our day jobs and become full-time entrepreneurs.
When we moved to San Diego, we hired a business coach, joined a mastermind, and created the branding company. Exactly a year from moving, we were both able to quit our day jobs. But it definitely wasn’t easy getting there. The business coach and mastermind for the whole year was a $36,000 investment. We didn’t have that money, of course, so we used credit cards. We knew we had to make enough recurring income to pay the monthly $3k payments, and the 10k credit line would only last three months.
When three months came, we were making some income but not enough. And in 2015 during Thanksgiving, the $3k ended up coming out of our personal bank account. Rent was due right around the corner and we had -$3k+ in our account. It was horrible. We felt like we failed. But it was the power of being broke that made us hustle even harder and get out of that hole. We vowed to never let that happen again.
Also, exiting the company for me was super exciting, but I basically was starting all over again with my art career and personal brand. It’s been a lot of work and hustle to get momentum and clients.
We’d love to hear more about your art.
As an artist, I paint mostly female portraits and figures. My style is colorful, urban, and abstract. I paint murals and on big canvases. When I paint, I’m heavily influenced by emotion, specifically the emotion of being in this calming state. It’s a constant flow through the soul that occurs in the space between positive and negative energy. My subjects are mostly powerful, sensual women or admirable icons who are not afraid to show their vulnerability. Their expressions and postures radiate vulnerability as well as strength.
My process always begins with the background. I apply multiple layers of medium, and through this process, I find my spontaneity. I let my works speak to me, and I create as I go to express my own life experiences, current thoughts, emotions, and interests. A lot of my inspirations derive from emotions, music, pop culture, street art, nature, space, and the abstract. I am simply bringing everyone into my own world, my personal space, and my mind. You can find giclee paper prints, canvas prints, and originals available for sale on my online store artbydevona.com.
I’m also creating a movement and podcast called gangSTAR* CREATIVE. My mission is to annihilate the status quo of the “starving artist”. I want to help creatives thrive in business and their mindsets. There aren’t a lot reliable resources or leaders helping creatives with the business side of things, so I’m going to step up and be a leader in this space. I’ll be helping creatives with tactical tips, advice, and strategies through my web show and podcast, workshops, speaking engagements, and website.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t really believe in luck. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason. And I also believe the universe gives you what you put out. I know that when I’m being a good positive person and working hard, God or the universe (or whatever you believe in) sends blessings, success, and opportunities my way.
- Commissions & Originals – $500-2500+
- Murals – $3000+
- Art Prints – $99-$400
- 1hr Mentorship Call – $99
- Website: artbydevona.com devonastimpson.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/devonastimpson http://instagram.com/artbydevona
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/devonastimpson
- Other: http://youtube.com/devonastimpson
Molly + Co Photography