Working with the public the way we do, we have the privilege to intersect with a wide variety of people. We often meet incredibly interesting individuals who are doing extraordinary things either personally or through their business. A lot of the time, we are not just printing t-shirts for these people, we are helping them start a business, get their art in front of a new audience, or communicate a complex truth through a simple medium. And that is what Joy Cuttino-Vereen is trying to do with her new t-shirt line Bald Barbie.
When Joy came into the shop a few weeks ago and shared her story we were all affected. Joy has sacrificed a lot to create this line and her message is really powerful and really important. Joy was actually the inspiration for this new series we’re calling The Straight & Arrow. Having the privilege to help Joy create her line of inspiring tees we realized how many other inspiring stories we’ve been lucky enough to be a part of telling. The response from the people we’ve reached out to has been amazing and we can’t wait to share those stories with you but, for now we’re delighted to let Joy tell you her own story in her own words.
FA: What neighborhood do you call home?
Joy: I am currently living in Avondale Estates. It pretty much borders downtown Decatur. It’s an awesome place if you’re 40+, wear spectacles, have grand kids, and drive a station wagon with some type of college memorabilia. I’m moving to the Highlands or Buckhead this Spring so I’m excited about that!
FA: What inspired you to start your current venture?
Joy: My cousin who was 14 was an amazing kid. He died from osteosarcoma and even when he was battling his cancer you never knew he was in pain. He sacrificed much of his childhood and I knew I had to sacrifice a couple of things in his memory. I shaved my hair and came up with Bald Barbie. It’s a t-shirt line exclusively for young girls and women that have lost their hair due to cancer related treatments. In my world you are definitely a Barbie with or without hair. The response has been beautiful.
FA: What challenges did you face/are you facing in getting your project off the ground? How have you/are you overcoming them?
Joy: As many may say money makes the world go ‘round, most people may think that a t-shirt line is easy to do. You just have to slap a logo on it and you’re done but that’s not the case. I want quality everything so I have completely depleted my savings with this project. Like I said, I had to sacrifice because in the end this project and keeping Ryan’s memory alive is worth way more! Another issue that I’m having is getting licensing from Barbie. I am using a font style similar to the brand so I have asked for permission. Fingers crossed they will forget that they are a corporation.
FA: What are some of the things you love about working in Atlanta?
Joy: I absolutely love the fact that Atlanta is a city on the map but it still has that small town feel. When I’m working I like that I can call up a friend a be like, I need this and then they’re like, oh yeah? I got you boo.
FA: Tell us a little about what inspires you or makes you tick?
Joy: My mother is a social worker and has worked with a large population of homeless and displaced people so some of the stories she tells me are unbelievable. Many people, especially younger people need to know that many living on the streets of Atl are veterans and ultimately need to be respected. They fought for the country.
FA: If you could pick any one person on earth you’d love to see wearing your merch who would it be? Why?
Joy: Dude. Hands down, Robin and Talia Castellano. Both are amazing females! If you watch Youtube you probably know about Talia. She was diagnosed at 7, I believe with cancer and although she is fairly young her makeup skills are like that of a seasoned pro. That’s what she’s known for. So, boy and girls who like makeup look her up. Robin was definitely an inspiration for me this year. She is absolutely gorgeous with no hair. I hope her amazing journey is going to get better.
FA: What song/album do you have playing on repeat right now?
Joy: I literally listen to everything. Some people are very surprised by my musical taste. I have to keep it real and say that “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan. Ha! I was like 5 years old when that song came out. I’m pretty sure whoever is reading this is like, “yeeeeaaahhh right”, but for real when I rap to this song it’s so funny. Let’s just say I have the voice of all three Chipmunks combined.
FA: If someone handed you an open ended plane ticket to anywhere on earth if you left right now where would you be heading?
Joy: Aaaagh! This is such a hard question! I live to travel. I honestly would have to say Brazil. Beautiful spirits live everywhere in the world but Brazil just has that extra flavor.
FA: What does the future look like for you and your venture?
Joy: I honestly feel this has the potential to be something big, and with the help of Fallen Arrows it’s going to be just that. I want Bald Barbie to reach the masses! Ohhh yeah. I see very big things.
FA: Tell people where they can find you and buy your gear?
Joy: Funny you should ask. I just started working at Dark Horse Tavern in the Highlands so you can find me there on weekends. I’m always at any thrift store in Buckhead or vintage shop in Little 5. I’m building a website on mywundershop.com so look out for that! If you really want to buy a Bald Barbie or Fuck Hair tee hunt me down. Or call FA for my contact info. For my info on Ryan follow this link: crowdrise.com/movemountains