This week we’re featuring a great Etsy shop that sells original art and inspiration that is all about self-esteem, confidence, a healthy body image, a positive attitude, and gratitude to God for his many blessings. Enough talk… Now onto our feature featuring MyJunkyTrunk.

1. Tell us about yourself.
My
name is Unessalyn Sweet, and I am a “God-taught” visual artist and creator
of MyJunkyTrunk®, LLC. As a teen, I
was often teased about having a “junky trunk” and was routinely accused of
smuggling missing basketballs out of the gym underneath my sweatpants! After graduating from high school, I
went on to college at the Art Institute to become a Fashion Illustrator. During my very first art class (which
was also my last), we were asked to draw a model wearing one of our
designs. As we all worked, I began
to hear encouraging words from the instructor swirling about the room……until
she came to me.

I was the only African-American
student in the course, and when she saw my model
(who had hips, thighs, and a curvy bottom—but not nearly to the extent that I illustrate in my work today), she
sternly voiced her displeasure. She was clearly
unhappy with my idea of what a beautiful
model looked like (keep in mind that
where and when I grew up, having a curvy body wasn’t as popular as it is today, and wasn’t celebrated in
the fashion industry at all). “That’s all wrong!” She snapped. “Real people don’t look like that!” I thought to myself, “But, I do. Does
that make me wrong, too?”

It
was at that moment (as I walked out of the classroom) that I vowed to some day take the very thing that I was made to feel
ashamed of, and use it in a way that
would inspire other women to celebrate their curves. In other words, I would use my “junky trunk” powers for good, and not for evil!
Years later, MyJunkyTrunk®
was born.

2.What are you currently doing besides your creative craft?
In
addition to my own artwork and business, I also do quite a bit of graphic
design work for other individuals and small businesses such as original, custom
logos (using hand- painted images), children’s book illustrations, and
t-shirt design. I’m writing my
first book as well, so I keep pretty busy in my quest to use my gifts and
talents to bring glory to God.

3. What do you offer on your website?
I
offer high quality prints, original acrylic paintings on canvas, and Kidz
Fun Portrait Paintings™. I also
offer 100% cotton tees with a fabulous feminine cut which feature my gorgeous
MyJunkyTrunk® Girlz. I call them
multi-cultural cuties, with big ole booties! LOL!
I have quite a bit of new merchandise that will be available this
year as well, so please be sure to visit us often to see what’s happening
with MyJunkyTrunk®!

4.Where do you create?
I have an art studio in my home, and I do most
of my creating there. However, I don’t
limit myself to just one space. I’m
known to grab my easel, paint, and brushes and create outdoors if the weather
is nice. It always gives me such a euphoric
feeling! I also create in my favorite coffee
shop, bookstores, and even on planes during long trips (sketching only……I don’t think the flight
attendants would appreciate paint all over the seats!)

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
As
cliché as it sounds, I get all of
my inspiration from God. When He
first gave me the idea for MyJunkyTrunk®, I asked Him to help me with
ideas and messages of inspiration and encouragement so that my work would
draw others to Him. I also asked that
MyJunkyTrunk® always maintain a kind of purity and innocence at its core. Since my work is very unconventional, I’m
always mindful to represent Christ well with it. For example, each name for the
MyJunkyTrunk® Girlz is run by the Father first. He has actually “red flagged” a few of
the names that I came up with on my own.
I quickly sent them to the chopping block, of course. I trust and depend on Him greatly in my business
(and in my life). I can’t do any of
this without Him!

6. How did you get started in your line of business?
It
started back in 2005 when God taught me how to paint. Then in 2006, as I was looking at old
photos, I began to recall some of the funny names for a butt that I’ve
heard over the years. Some of the
names were definitely PG13, but most were just silly and fun like bottom,
apple, fanny, tush, and caboose! One
day, I sat in the middle of the floor and started brainstorming,
sketching, writing and laughing with God.
The rest is history! MyJunkyTrunk®
has been the perfect vehicle for me to share the love of God in Christ
Jesus with the world. It’s more
than just art or business to me……this is ministry, and it’s what I was
born to do.

7. How do you promote your business?
Social networks, local art exhibits, and apparel
marts have been really helpful. I’m also
really grateful to have found Etsy, which has allowed me to put my work before
an audience that may not have found me otherwise. I’m always searching for more ways to
increase my online visibility, but I honestly believe that one of the best ways
to get the news out about MyJunkyTrunk®, will be through the buzz created by “word
of mouth”.

8. What is one of your most important lessons you’ve learned since starting your business?
You have to be prepared to wear many “hats”. I confess that this has been a bit of a
challenge! If you’re like me, you’d love
nothing more than to create 24/7! While
that’s a wonderful dream, it won’t pay the bills! I’ve learned that when you’re just starting
out (and usually for the first few years), it’s not unusual for you to have to wear
the hats of an artist, promoter, marketer, advertiser, salesperson, file clerk,
PR person, writer, travel agent, tax preparer, and probably a few other hats
that I’ve neglected to mention!

9. What is some of your favorite online shops on and off Etsy?
Hands down, my favorite “off Etsy”
shop is by an artist named Frank Morrison.
His work and career inspires me
more than any other artist out there. On
Etsy, I enjoy so many shops
that it’s really difficult to pick favorites!
However, I will say that within the
Etsy Artists of Color Team, some of my favorites are FlowersFromFatima,SatinDollCo, MarcusKwame, TheSoapSeduction,
ShayGon, QuellyRueDesigns, VirtuousCreations,
and ForMySistersProducts, just to name a few!

You can find MyJunkyTrunk online at:
-Etsy:
www.myjunkytrunk.etsy.com
Website: www.myjunkytrunk.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/myjunkytrunk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/MyJunkyTrunk-Art-Inspiration/323813188341

Here’s some great products that can found at MyJunkyTrunk:

Professional Peach Print

Kidz Fun Portrait Painting

Fetish Fanny Print

Word Workout Print