Flint Southwestern Classical Academy graduate Teshia Smith is following her passion by building her own graphic design and branding business called Artish Design.
“It started when I was in college,” says Smith, who graduated from Marygrove College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration on graphic design. “I posted my artwork on social media and my friends started requesting designs on t-shirts and phone cases.
In my senior year, I was contracted to do freelance work for the university and started getting new branding projects every week or so after that.”
However, it took Smith some time to get the courage to take her career full time. While working as a human resources manager for AMC Theaters, she continued to do freelance work until she worked up the nerve to leave and pursue her business full time.
“Now my business is going very well,” says Smith. “I have an average of 30 to 50 clients each month. I am busy enough that I just hired an assistant to help me keep up with emails and tie up loose ends.”
Smith plans to continue growing her business by securing a brick-and-mortar location and hiring a team of designers within the next two years.
What does a typical day look like for you?
After starting work, I check my emails and texts and focus on responding to pending clients. Then, I always have some sort of design work to do, whether it’s working on business cards, websites or logos. And then I work on any type of marketing work I have.
How did the lessons learned in TeenQuest help you on your journey?
The main things I learned were work ethic and how to speak with people. It gave me an advantage in college compared to peers who didn’t have a program like TeenQuest.
What is your favorite memory?
Our facilitator. He was like one of the kids, but we all respected him. The way he worked taught me that you can still have fun, but you need to have respect.
What advice would you offer current TeenQuest students?
Take every opportunity that comes from the program. When I left for college, I would still get emails with opportunities for jobs. Make sure to keep up with that and know the opportunities are available.
What is your proudest moment since graduating TeenQuest?
Gaining the courage to leave my full-time job and focus on my business. It almost took me a year to leave, but when I did, my business increased three-fold. Blessings come when you go after the goals that scare you most.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.