We had the good fortune of connecting with Annette Zuozo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annette, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
For a long time I’ve always wanted to do more than just my full-time 9-5 job. I had lots of creative ideas that I’ve wanted to tap into, but I guess never had the time to sit back and see what could I do. Then hit the coronavirus pandemic. I saw the negative impact it had on people, families, workers, everyone. My family is in the restaurant industry and seeing the setbacks they and their employees had to take was tough. I constantly kept asking myself, “How can I help? How can I do more and give more to people?”. This is when the idea of starting my business, Made By A, flourished. Back in February, when we all first started hearing about COVID-19, I took a photo of these beautiful flowers and created an illustration on top of it that read “Spread Love, Not Germs”. I posted it to my art Instagram account and just loved it. However, that phrase constantly stuck to me, throughout our new normal of working from home and the ups and downs, it was always in the back of my head. A couple of weeks later, I decided I wanted to design and produce T-shirts with that phrase on them. All the proceeds I made from the sales of the shirts were going to be donated to The Restaurant Workers’ Community Coronavirus Relief Fund. This is a non-profit organization that is helping out the restaurant industry during this tough time. Their proceeds are distributed to restaurant workers who were let go, to other nonprofit organizations serving restaurant workers, and to loans for restaurants to get back up and running. I sold out of my first batch of shirts within the first 2 weeks and had to replenish my stocks. I am still till this day forever grateful for every single person who purchased a shirt from me and helped my cause. I knew I wanted to lend a hand to the restaurant industry somehow and being able to mix my art in there just felt so right. Now, that I officially launched Made By A, my own business, I want to continue creating art that has a purpose and one that can always give back to communities in need now.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I don’t think there is anything that sets me apart from other amazing and talented artists. I just love to illustrate things that make me happy or are funny to me. I started to get into photography as well. I love playing around with the different mediums and digitally collaging and illustrating on top of my photographs. I don’t take any of it seriously which kind of benefits me because I just have fun playing around and end up with something I love at the end. Kind of how I ended up creating my T-shirts as well. Just kept playing around with designs until I found something that can be universally worn and people loved them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
What don’t you want to see while visiting Miami?? Top things I love to do in Miami include (but are not limited to): walk around Coconut Grove and have lunch at any of the local restaurants, walk through Barnacle Park to see a bit of greenery and the water. Make your way down to Key Biscayne, but first make a pit stop at Alice C. Wainwright Park to get a beautiful view of the bay, perfect place for a cute picnic date. Rent kayaks or paddle boards down in Key Biscayne and head out into the water. Enjoy the night life and great happy hour deals in any of Brickell’s bars. On a perfect sunny day, head to mid- beach for a more calmer and private beach experience, then before heading home stop at The Standard for drinks and sunset watching.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I couldn’t be doing the things I love without the full support and encouragement from my family. Then come my best friends, partly because I run all my crazy ideas by them first and love to see their reaction.