An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Junior Bricker pursues passion while starting business

Junior+Addy+Bricker+has+been+cultivating+her+own+designs+while+selling+a+wide+range+of+accessory+products+through+her+business%2C+Addy+Art.
Courtesy of Addy Bricker
Junior Addy Bricker has been cultivating her own designs while selling a wide range of accessory products through her business, Addy Art.

Hours of dedication have been spent at the seven-foot-long white glossy table where junior Addy Bricker has designed boho bags, clothing, art prints and cosmetic bags as part of her business, Addy Art. 

Bricker recently learned how to sew last January during her costume design class at Midtown. The semester spent learning these skills allowed her to discover her love for sewing as she began putting her own twist on the assignments. 

“When I was younger I had tried out so many different things and nothing was as good as sewing,” Bricker said. “I didn’t have the drive for anything, but now [with] sewing I really have a passion for it.”

Bricker’s final project in her drawing and painting class last year had the greatest influence in getting her business off the ground. Taking these skills and making them her own made her want to continue designing. 

“Our final project in May was to make 12 different works of art,” Bricker said. “You had to sell it or you had to donate it somewhere, [and] you had to have it online. I sold all 12 works of my art. After seeing how well those sold, that opened me up to the idea that I could make a business out of it and people are actually buying my stuff.”

Bricker’s mother, Meredith Bricker, has also started her own business, Meredith Bricker Fitness. Since Meredith Bricker understands the complex steps it takes to start a business, she describes Bricker’s work ethic as a “proud mom moment.”

“[Addy] did 100% of the work,” Meredith Bricker said. “She created and drew her own logo and then she put that into digital form [for] her card. She chose her own business name. She would use me to run her ideas by once she had already brainstormed or formed an opinion or idea. I was super impressed with how independent she was to do all those things.”

Due to being surrounded by teachers constantly showing her new skills, Bricker feels motivated to keep her momentum for growing her business. 

“I want to take advantage of all the resources I have at the school because if I would like to make a career out of this, what I’m doing now is helping me very much,” Bricker said. “I’m advancing with this more so than others. I’m on top of looking at things now and learning all the skills which I think are going to help me very much in the future.”

Meredith Bricker never noticed Bricker struggling to find the motivation to practice her art. She describes this as a turning point for Bricker’s level of commitment. 

“I never have to encourage her to do her art,” Meredith Bricker said. “I’m never asking her, ‘well have you thought about the next thing yet?’ She’s already three ideas ahead of what she’s going to do for her classes, for the next painting, the next drawing or the next fashion thing. Honestly the only thing she’s missing is more time. I feel like if she had more time she would be creating so much more.”

Fashion teacher Kottavei Williams has seen Bricker develop her sewing skills to create complex products. Having Bricker in her fashion class for two years and in the fashion club, Williams has observed Bricker’s driven personality thrive over the years and encourages Bricker to grow her business. 

“Age shouldn’t be a hindrance,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of things you can do right now as a student to produce something outside of here to make money or just delve deeper into something you love.”

This is Bricker’s first year working with art teacher John Brandhorst in his advanced portfolio development class. Brandhorst believes Bricker being involved in art classes while also having a business outside of school is interchangeable with her attention to detail. 

“I think she sees the separation,” Brandhorst said. “I think she clearly sees that there’s this world of commerce, in this case, and how that connects with all the things that we try to teach here: quality craft, attention to detail, historical knowledge, just making choices. I think she has a very clear sense that she’s part of a much larger world than just the high school.”

Student support specialist Cheryl Nahmias met Bricker this September when she reached out to Brandhorst to find a student able to recreate a lost painting. Bricker has been working on the commission on a stretch canvas since Brandhorst recommended Bricker for the task. Nahmias appreciates Bricker’s drive to start this business during high school. 

“Sometimes it can be really hard to see what the relationship with high school to life is beyond high school,” Nahmias said. “I think it’s really great when we have opportunities for students to start living their real life. It’s not, ‘this is a step towards one day getting to do the real thing that I want to do.’ I just love it when I see someone just going ahead and pulling the trigger and doing what makes them happy and that’s actually a profession.”

Bricker got a chance to showcase her products at a festival for the first time during the Inman Park Wine Stroll. By the end of the festival, Bricker had sold 12 of her bags, the most out of all the surrounding tables, helping her realize the potential of her business. 

“I had never done a festival before and I definitely want to do more,” Bricker said. “A lot of the people were really nice. It helped that I was a high school student because people were like, ‘Oh, I want to support her.’ Also, I think that I sold a lot because I knew the demographic of the people that were going to be buying the stuff and I was very personable with them.”

Brandhorst was approached the year before to set up a booth at the Inman Park Wine Stroll and decided to continue the tradition again this year to let students independently operate at the event. Brandhorst was impressed with Bricker’s outcome and professionalism at the festival. 

“It takes hours and hours, people don’t realize,” Brandhorst said. “The fact that she has her own product already set up, she has it marketed, you can tell that each of the pieces was made with tremendous precision. She had business cards done. She was ready.”

Williams said that Bricker’s motivation to push herself and apply skills learned during class are characteristics that aid Bricker in growing her business. 

“[Students] take the skill set I give them and apply it to something outside of here,” Williams said. “I don’t ever encourage students to be costume designers, fashion designers or artists. I encourage them to take the skills and then make it into something that’s meaningful to them. [Bricker’s] done that on so many levels.”

Bricker drew up a contract for Nahmias while negotiating the terms of the commission. Nahmias said she had a positive experience while working with Bricker due to the professionalism Bricker composed and can imagine herself continuing to purchase Bricker’s art. 

“She comes across as a very serious and trustworthy person, but also someone who’s creative,” Nahmias said. “You can tell that the business side of it is not the main event, the art is the main event, but she has also cultivated this very trustworthy professional demeanor that makes you feel comfortable dealing with the creative side.”

Meredith Bricker is excited that the world now gets to see Bricker’s reflection in the form of art as Meredith Bricker has always seen on the inside. 

“As an artist, so much of what you put out is your character, your personality, it’s a very vulnerable thing to share because you’re not just creating a product, that product is a representation of you,” Meredith Bricker said. “It doesn’t surprise me that I’ve always thought that she was unique and individual and now she’s turning that into a brand and a voice that can be a commodity and be out in the world where people can buy it or it’ll end up on the runway. I like seeing that a part of her that I always knew on the inside now gets to be on the outside for everybody else to see. I think that’s probably because she’s pouring a lot of that spirit and personality into her artwork and her brand.”

Bricker’s current goal is to highlight her business by providing quality products and creating outreach platforms such as a website and Instagram account to promote her name.

“For now I just hope that I can have a recurring customer base,” Bricker said. “Like people who have bought stuff from me and [when] I put out a new art collection they want to be like, ‘Oh, I want a new piece from her this year.’ I hope I can just get my name out there this year to help with my business getting my art pieces into small galleries around the city: shaking peoples hands and getting people’s names. Making a network for myself.”

Balancing art for assignments and outside of school can be a challenge for students. Brandhorst said Bricker’s passion encourages her to strive, despite this typical diversion. 

“Art projects are often seen as assignments, but for Addy I think it’s part of how she walks and breathes,” Brandhorst said. “Making stuff on a consistent basis is the most important part.”

Bricker doesn’t plan on pivoting careers as she plans to continue to follow her passion and grow her business after graduation. 

“I’ve always been an artist,” Bricker said. “I just like that I have the talent to do it. I like that I have something going for me and I’m not just wanting to be a math major or literature because that’s definitely what I’m passionate about. I hope that this really takes off and that in the future I can make a living off of my art and designing things.”

Williams believes Bricker will go far in her career with high hopes that Bricker will continue to leave her astonished.

“My expectation for her is that I’m going to look up one day and see her on TV or in an interview,” Williams said. “She’s going to be like, ‘Thank you Ms. Williams, I’m bringing you coffee!’ I fully see in her that she’s going to go beyond anything that’s here right now. This is just a stepping stone to whatever greatness is in her journey in front of her.”

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About the Contributor
Kate Durden
Kate Durden, Lifestyle Associate Managing Editor
Kate Durden is a junior and this is her third year writing for the Southerner. She enjoys volunteering at an animal shelter, attending 21st Century Leaders meetings, making films at Midtown's cinema club and hanging out with her friends.

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