We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsey Gomez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsey, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28. During the first part of my treatment I went online looking for merchandise related to my cancer. Everything I found for cancer patients aligned with the narrative of being “strong”, “brave” or a “warrior”. None of which I felt. There wasn’t any merchandise available that truly spoke to me or my experience. I cope with life through humor and that’s how I approached cancer too. Of course, there’s the sad parts but the sad parts are made easier when we can laugh. I wanted to create products for all sorts of illnesses that would make people smile during hard times.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe what sets my art apart from others is the honesty of it. I tackle tough situations with humor and from a place of understanding. Most all of my art pulls from my own personal experience of having cancer. I also have my own struggles with mental health such as anxiety and ADHD. I aim to help educate on these topics in a way that is easy to understand and engaging. One of the things I am most proud of is the community that has naturally been built around my work on Instagram. I have heard from so many people that have told me that my art has helped them. People have been able to forge friendships as a result of connecting over some of my posts. I also do a series similar to “Post Secret” – where twice a week people send in their anonymous stories/opinions. Mostly they center around the harsh or thoughtless things people say to cancer patients. That continuing art project is one of the single best things that has come from all the bad in my life because it has helped show people they aren’t alone. It has helped people feel seen. It has helped me to feel seen.
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?
My husband Michael has been my rock for over 17 years. We have literally grown up together. Facing a cancer diagnosis (not once but twice) is no easy task… even for a couple as close as us. He truly pushed me to follow my heart and do what would make me happy after cancer.