By: Jackie Davis
Ashley “Bella” Daramola (B.I.S. ‘10), is the founder and CEO of ArtzyBella, a company passionate about using art for personal wellness. Daramola launched ArtzyBella in 2012 with just $50. “I had this idea to use art making to help people find balance and wellness after using it to help trafficking survivors find a healthy distraction and a way to express themselves creatively. I knew it would help them because art has literally saved my own life, in many ways, many times.”, says Daramola.
ArtzyBella participated in Georgia State’s Main Street Entrepreneurs Seed Fund Inaugural Cohort, an 8-month business accelerator program which concluded in April 2020. Even amid the pandemic, her company is hosting virtual paint parties, selling a new line of subscription art boxes, and beta testing a new online platform.
Most recently, ArtzyBella was selected as one of 10 finalists to pitch their businesses in the New Voices + Shea Moisture Pitch Competition, sponsored by Essence, an independent African American-owned company. Bella took the virtual stage on Friday, November 13. The competition was judged by Simon Jordan, Global Head of Community Commerce, Sundial Brands; Sidra Smith, Executive Producer of Essence Film & TV Studio; and Darryl Thompson, Managing Partner, New Voices Fund.
ArtzyBella won second place, $15,000 for her venture and received expert advice. Daramola plans to use the funding to develop ArtzyBella’s new online platform that will offer virtual art instruction and is specially designed to enhance personal wellness. Daramola explained her vision, “Imagine if an art instructor, passionate about your happiness and wellbeing, could use clinical research to guide you to turn inward and explore or face things buried deep down within – like low self-esteem, grief, even tackle relevant issues like social injustice and COVID.”
Lastly, Daramola shared this about her experience, “New Voices has been amplifying the voices and businesses of women of color in a very special way. Its inspiring for me to see corporations like SheaMoisture and Essence rally around a mission that will help our effort to connect with communities all over the world using art!”