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Meet Amanda Cisneros

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Cisneros.

Hi Amanda, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’ve been making and selling my own art since I was eight years old when I participated in a local market in my hometown of Santa Fe, NM. I started off painting watercolors of traditional Catholic saints, then I discovered anime and wanted to focus more on drawing my own characters and writing my own stories. When I was 15, I had my very first one-woman art show. I spent much of my early twenties trying to build a social media following and selling my illustrations at local comic conventions. It sorta worked, but I always felt like I lacked focus because I had so many varying interests.

At this point, I think I’ve had at least seven incomplete business ventures, including running my own face-painting business for kid’s parties. Some people might see that as a failure, but being that I’m only 26, I think trial-and-error is a really critical ingredient to success. All of my businesses failed for one reason or another- most of them because I lost interest in what I was doing and no longer found it fulfilling but my dream of running my own business has never wavered. I’ve taken each failure as a learning opportunity, which has lead me to where I am now- I’m working 9 to 5 as a child and family therapist and running my own small business in my free time. I’m narrowing my focus to creating more simple graphic designs that made into various hand-made items, like stickers and tote bags.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
In terms of fostering my love for art and entrepreneurship, I had it pretty easy. I was born into a family of artists who all made careers from their craft. So when I wanted to pursue art, no one batted an eye… in fact, I think they might have been a little disappointed when I got a Bachelor’s in psychology and then went to pursue a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy instead of going to art school. I consider myself really lucky in that way because so many people face backlash from friends and family when they try and pursue their creative passions.

To say that the entire journey has been smooth, though, wouldn’t be accurate. Failure has been critical to my success, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. I encounter imposter syndrome on a daily basis. I constantly set expectations for myself that are unreasonably high and then criticize myself when I don’t meet them- even as someone who works in mental health, this can be a challenge. I think it’s also really tough out there for small business owners. The process of registering my own business and getting my seller’s permit literally made me feel like it would be easier to give up and do something easier– like rocket science! I think creators and small business owners are constantly faced with this huge dichotomy of feeling like we’re living the American Dream™ and feeling like the path to get there is so convoluted and out of reach.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Currently, I’m focusing on making handmade gifts that feature my own hand-lettering and graphic designs. Right now, my product lineup includes stickers, tote bags, zipper pouches and keychains. A lot of my products feature bright colors and are geared towards my fellow creatives and caffeine addicts. I also try and incorporate my background in mental health to create items that normalize mental health care and help people to feel seen. If I can make someone smile when they look at something I’ve made, then I’ll know I’ve done my job.

Can you talk about how you think about risk?
I would describe myself as 99.9% risk-averse… that 0.01% of me that acts like a rebel only comes out when I’m doing something creative. Risk-taking and art are practically synonymous. One of my go-to mottos is to “make bad art,” which essentially emboldens artists to move forward with creating, regardless of whether or not you’ll love the end result. When it comes to the business side of things, however, I’m still playing it on the safe side. I’m not quite ready to quit my 9-to-5 job and dive full-time into my small business. When it comes to the legal side of owning a business, I definitely recommend going by the book and avoiding risks. As far as when you’ll know if it’s time to take a risk, I would say to focus on when the idea of failing at something no longer stops you from wanting to do it.

Pricing:

  • Stickers $2-$4
  • Tote bags $10-$15
  • Zipper Pouches $7
  • Keychains $5

Contact Info:

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