The idea for Sad Girl Co. was born out of conversations between friends with similar interests, a shared passion for catalyzing community, and a desire to support the female and non-binary members of that community through meaningful content.
The name “Sad Girl Collective” had its founding in the kind of music we all listened to and bonded over — music that was, well, kind of sad. Music that has been boxed into a “sad girl” genre by many. Perhaps it’s not an incorrect classification, but it’s a gendered one. By lumping emotionally vulnerable artists into that genre, the term tends to make a novelty out of feelings.
It’s easy to want to avoid the constraints of being considered a “Sad Girl” artist or consumer all the same. But we thought, why not embrace it? By turning the term into a joke or an indication of too much sentimentality, we’re making it “not OK” to feel.
Emotional vulnerability is a beautiful and powerful thing, and the driving force behind worthwhile art.
We called ourselves Sad Girl Collective because we recognize that there’s a sadness in all of us, somewhere. Sadness isn’t shameful, nor is it necessary to expend all of your energy pushing back on it like it’s some kind of poison. Granted, sadness is also not something to wallow in, but in a world that can turn the idea of perpetual positivity into something toxic and unachievable (think: the “No Bad Days” mantra) it’s important to remind yourself that you can -- and have to -- feel the bad stuff too.
You can be positive and sad (or mad, or frustrated, or…) and there’s something to be said for finding an art form -- like “Sad Girl” music -- that makes you feel understood and helps you get a little closer to resolving your own negative feelings or grief. To feel is to be human and to decode those feelings is to persevere and grow.
We prefer to see the term “Sad Girl” not as one that implies some sort of weakness, but one that represents vulnerability and strength -- the strength of a he/she/they who is progressing beyond trauma and beyond fear of being emotionally “exposed” and is on a powerful path to self-acceptance.
We’ve seen such perseverance carried out through the creation of fine art, music, creative writing and more, and the work of incredibly dedicated organizations and mindful companies. It is our hope to both share and produce more of this.
Adopting the name “Sad Girl Collective” was and is a reclamation of the beauty and complexity of the spectrum of human emotion, through the lens of femininity and gender fluidity. It’s our hope that SGC is a safe and inclusive space that facilitates community, celebrates all identities and encourages all forms of expression.
Jessica Saliski is an artist full of just the right balance of sweetness and sass, just like the pins and other goodies she designs for Sugar Doilies.
She is a designer, maker and illustrator based out of Atlanta, operating under the name Sugar Doilies.
You'll find her designs on everything from enamel pins to cards and bandanas. Sitting down and chatting with Jessica, it's easy to feel her warmth and passion, but also her fire and drive to stir up a dialogue. She became a freelance designer / illustrator about 3 years ago, drawing her dessert-driven inspiration from her own experience with diabetes. Now, her designs not only acknowledge and nod to her health struggles but also to what it means to be modern woman and friend.
The pieces she creates for Sugar Doilies are not just for the sake of cuteness or trend (although they're so cute and there's no denying that enamel pins are on-trend) but also for the sake of community, female to female support, and the leveling of a skewed gender playing field.
Sad Girl Co: What is the role of females in the Atlanta creative scene? Do you feel that there's a diversity of gender and that women are given equal opportunity?
Jessica Saliski: I think our role now is to embrace inclusivity of EVERYONE, and to keep pushing forward, collaborate more and just keep creating. Because I do think that there is a lack of women and people of color being represented in the Atlanta creative scene. BUT that is changing, I think women/POC are starting to take ATL by storm. I have seen a bunch of female owned companies pop up in the last couple of years/months and it's very exciting.
SGC: Tell me about some of your favorite Sugar Doilies designs and why they're your favorite.
JS: I think a couple of my favorites would have to be the CUNT series, See You Next Tuesday Pins, that I created with a friend along with two other pins, Cute Cunt Crew and Best Cunt (some oldies we no longer make) - it reminds me of friends and the power of women coming together. And then my WuTang Ice Cream Cone pins, they remind me of Staten Island and my childhood listening to WuTang.
Jessica's "See You Next Tuesday" series is all about reclaiming the word that has long been used to demean and objectify women. While it's a word that makes many people uncomfortable, that's what Jessica is trying to change. By empowering this reclamation through her designs, she creates an environment where women support women and where even the smallest things -- like wearing a pin or putting a patch on your jean jacket -- can be a form of activism.
When asked about her thoughts on coming up as a woman in the creative scene, she reminisces on a time before she formally acknowledged the plight of women in the work place, but was constantly finding herself being looked down upon by male equals and her ideas often credited to men. It was experiences like this that pushed her to leave the structured workplace and become her own boss. Now, she's able to dive passionately into her work, explore her ideas freely, and use her skills to empower others like her and to encourage an environment of support among women in Atlanta's creative scene.
Her business has grown and this year her focus is on wholesaling her wares. She has about 30 products currently and is beginning seasonal designs and products as well. In the next few months, Jessica hopes to have her products in multiple stocklists nationwide.
Sugar Doilies is one to watch as the business grows alongside the city's burgeoning scene of women makers and creatives. Keep your eyes on Jessica Saliski.