We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary DeBoise and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary, how does your business help the community?
I started Black Girls Craft in 2015 as a means of creating a safe space for black women to come together to share and inspire. Early on, I noticed a huge cultural disparity in the crafting world as African American representation was virtually non-existent in the mainstream art realm.
Almost 7 years later, we are 215K + strong, filled with a multitude of talent, inspiration and sisterhood. We broke down barriers and built valuable and mutually beneficial relationships with big box craft companies such as Cricut and Michaels. Items that represent all shades of brown are finally more easily accessible and entrepreneurship amongst creatives is at an all time high!
In addition, our community has been a mental health safe space for so many as the benefits of crafting as it relates to our well being are limitless! These past few years have been tumultuous and it brings me joy beyond measure that a platform I created built to bring awareness has turned into an ecosystem that provides inspiration, education ,wealth and joy to the world.
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.
I’ve always been a dreamer but I had no idea that creativity is where I would land. I dreamt of being a writer, then a doctor and ended up with a degree in Economics. I worked in investment banking and finance for years before I decided to take the leap and jump into Black Girls Craft full time and it’s been the most fulfilling role outside of parenting that I’ve ever had.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
What a fun question! I don’t want to date myself but if my BFF comes to town we are definitely going to get in some good nap time….especially if I have a week to spend without kids and sports! So with that said, day one will be filled with gut wrenching laughter over wine while we catch up on old times!
The next day we’ll head over to Camp North End for coffee, art and lunch! This is absolutely one of my favorite places in Charlotte and is where Kreate Studios will reside (GOD WILLING). It’s a cultural complex featuring good food, public art & shops that features black owned businesses such as dupp & swat and MacFly Fresh Printing Co.
The next day …. we will rest. BUT Day 3, me and my bestie are headed to uptown Charlotte to visit Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture where we can walk through the halls viewing hundreds of master and contemporary artists, both emerging and established.
Since food makes us both smile, we’ll tap the night off by heading over to Mr. Charles Chicken & Fish where I know I will personally order chicken & dumplings, mac & cheese, catfish and yams!
Now we might head to a day party as it’s imperative we stick to our early bedtime! 1601 is a great option with amazing service, music and drinks!
Lastly, as our week comes to an end, we’ll head to Asheville NC and hike the Blue Ridge Mountains and reflect on God’s grace and all the blessings HE has given us.
And then we will head home and nap 🙂
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I owe all my creativity to my grandmother Josephine and Aunt Wanda as they taught me how to crochet, operate a sewing machine and knit all by the age of 9. That’s when I realized the power in using your hands to make & create.
Those early lessons allowed me to not only discover my creative side but I was able to use crafting as a coping mechanism to deal with stress, depression & my childhood trauma.
Youtube: Black Girls Craft