We had the good fortune of connecting with Michaela Yarbrough and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michaela, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My business started after high school when I wanted to learn how to start selling my work on the side before going to college. I started my business as “M.Y. Artworks” as a self-named freelance/art business and has evolved over time from traditional art to digital art. I continued to do small jobs here and there throughout college but didn’t make a lot of “serious money” doing freelance while in school. I rebranded in 2022 to “Michaela Made” to simplify what I do – make art illustrations. I then sought to sell my work as art prints, stickers and postcards. I wanted the name to encompass a range of what I “make,” which is not just “design” or “prints” but a bunch of forms of art! I’m very interested in other art forms like riso printing, and ceramics, so I wanted to keep it open-ended to what I create in my business. I also loved the double meaning in my Instagram handle: @michaelamade.it. The work I share is something I “made,” and it’s also an endearing phrase I’m manifesting which is “making it as an artist!”

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Of course! My art is digitally, hand-drawn on my iPad. I use a program called Procreate where I digitally illustrate all of the work that you see. I am most excited about launching new product lines with these illustrations because there’s so much that I can achieve by creating digital art. My background is in graphic design, so the hop from graphic designer to digital illustrator was a familiar path. Digital illustration blends, my love for drawing with the practicality and “commercialization” of art. I want to say it was easy to take the art that I was already doing at my day job (advertising & marketing) and shift to doing it for myself, but the business side and self-promotion side of the working for yourself was definitely a challenge. During my first year, running my own business, I took a lot of online classes to supplement my knowledge of running a business, promoting yourself, and building networks in the small business community because it’s so different learning to structure a work flow for an entire business. The biggest lesson I’ve learned on this journey is be flexible when things don’t go to plan! Every day is different as a small business owner and things can go wrong all the time – especially when that you are doing events outside and weather is not on your side. But even product delivery and learning your business can have so many pitfalls that it’s just helpful to roll with the punches and stay open minded and not beat yourself up if things don’t go to plan!

I want the world to know that the Asian-American experience looks different for everyone. As an adopted Chinese American, who grew up in Texas her whole life, I have experienced and reconnected with my culture through my work, so you will see a lot of Asian food, Asian inspired films or lots of cats! As an artist, I hope my work can be seen and relate to other people who share similar upbringings or interests in food, films and cats!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The DFW area has so much to offer and I love that I can share bits of my hometown of Denton with people who come and visit.

Monday: Visit downtown Denton square. Brunch at Barley and Board, lunch at East Side brewery courtyard (I recommend the food truck, the Pickled Carrot), walk around the Denton square, hit up Recycled Books. Play some board games at D20 Tavern and an afternoon coffee at West Oak Coffee. Dinner at LSA Burger or Thai Square, dessert at Beth Marie’s ice cream shop.

Tuesday: Downtown Dallas visit the DMA (Dallas Museum of Art), grab some good street food in Oak Cliff, and walk the strip in Bishop Arts. Swing by We Are 1976 for a really cool art prints and Mosaic Makers Collective for local gifts.

Wednesday: Dallas World Aquarium (or Perot Science Museum), then an afternoon walking Deep Ellum and checking out all of the shops. Check out Archer Paper, then lunch BBQ at Pecan Lodge and Jeni’s ice cream. Dinner at Carne Rosso.

Thursday: Lunch in Richardson’s Kirin Court for good dim sum, and you get the carts at lunch time! Then head to Carrolton spend some time walking the strip and check out in Kinokuniya bookstore, 85° Bakery and Mozart bakery. Grab some KBBQ for dinner and check out the fun little shops.

Friday: A comedy show at Improv in Addison – Torchy’s/Chuy’s (Tex-Mex) or Ida Claire for dinner

Saturday: Six Flags in Arlington, Rangers stadium tour

Sunday: Ft. Worth Stock Yards, Sundance Square, then check out Southside strip off of Magnolia Street, and take a look at the shops and find a restaurant on the strip. Check out Gifted, a curated gift shop!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

I absolutely wouldn’t be doing my business without the constant support of my partner and husband. We have been together for 13 years and he has seen my art dreams become a reality. He’s always been the person I go to to bounce ideas off of, to talk through my next steps, and also is the “muscle” of the business, to help heavy lift bins of prints and set up my shop when we do pop-ups. I literally couldn’t do it without him! He is the behind-the-scenes arm, who not only helps with finances and inventory planning, but also shows up on the front line when we do markets and checks out customers during my events. We have grown together, and I am so thankful for his support, love, and dedication for this little growing business.

Website: https://michaelamade.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaelamade.it/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelayarbrough/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelamade.it

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC70Q6kLu4nDvuwU1JXiXMjg

Image Credits
Kelly Zhu Photo

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