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

Hi MiChelle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
During the stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, I looked for activities I could do with my family that did not include a screen. With a passion for puzzles since childhood, I wanted to share that with my family. Still, I wanted designs more culturally relevant to us. Once I started shopping, I quickly realized that the puzzles in the marketplace neither satisfied my desire for subject matter nor aesthetics.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a software & web developer by day and a soon-to-be puzzle mogul by night and weekends. I make puzzles of black art by black artists. When I started this endeavor, I found a small number of black-themed puzzles that black artists did not make. I love puzzles but wanted puzzles that looked like me and mine—made by me and mine. When I named my company, some cautioned the name was a “little in your face,” but that was the Point! I wanted it to be known that WE have a place in this billion-dollar industry, that we can represent and show up and show out! That our culture, voices, point-of-views, wants, and desires matter. That we matter! So my brand, in a nutshell, is I make puzzles of black art by black artists. Period.

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.
I’ve only been to ATL a handful of times, but Ponce City Market is one of my favorite places to people watch, window shop, and eat!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Pieces Of Us By Us would not exist without our Artists. These passionate and imaginative artists share a little bit of themselves through diverse and contemporary images and artistry. These artists, who are from all over the world, became the Pieces of our Premium Puzzles, made from Cultural Fine Art by Us and For Us though all are welcome.

When I reached out to various artists who had never thought about putting their art to a puzzle, some liked my vision and believed in what I was trying to do. They took a big chance on the unknown but believed I could do what I said I would do. Artists like Cbabi Bayoc (https://www.instagram.com/cbabi/) and Jenn Elaine (https://www.instagram.com/orijennal_art/) who are already superstars in the art world, agreed to work with me. Though I have created the artwork for one of my puzzles, I could not do this without collaborating with these talented and exceptional artists.

Website: https://www.piecesofusbyus.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/piecesofusbyus

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-risby/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/piecesofusbyus

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/piecesofusbyus

Image Credits
All of our Artists: Toni’Tria Ballard Emmanuel Ignatius Cbabi Bayoc Jennifer Elaine MiChelle Risby

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