We had the good fortune of connecting with Marie Button and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Towards the end of 2019, I made the choice to return to school to get my Master’s in something related to mental health. I was teaching second grade at a school I loved, but I knew there was more that I wanted to do for my students. I have my Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, and I had found that the impact I hoped to make in kiddos’ lives was in the social, emotional space. I also knew I wanted to change the conversation surrounding mental health in my own community online and here in Colorado Springs. In 2020, after teaching online for several months, I decided to quit my job as a teacher and start an online product shop focused on mental health awareness. The goal was to work on ending the stigma while I went back to school.

It started as a small batch online shop, with mugs and paper products displaying important messages. My love for mental health advocacy has only grown, and so has this business. By fall of 2020, I moved into a beautiful co-op here in Colorado Springs, called Eclectic OCC. Eclectic is comprised of a fantastic group of creators, fair traders, small business owners, and artists. I get to work with other local business owners every time I step in the shop, and I am lucky to be a part of such a great community. So, now I have my online shop for Button Designs, and a small little space in Eclectic OCC. I am pursuing my Masters in Social Work at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs starting this August, and my mental health stickers and pins are now my best-sellers.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I specialize in hand-lettering, calligraphy, simple line drawings, and faceless digital portraits. When it comes to handwriting, I was always obsessed. I would even change my handwriting from one school year to the next, because I found typography to be so beautiful. It says a lot about your personality–the way you write. I love hand-lettering so much. I was known in college for writing posters for folks, creating prints of funny or inappropriate song lyrics, or just helping people with presentations. Of course now, I’m still known for my handwriting, but it’s more than that. I’m known for putting my handwriting on stickers, mugs, cards, and prints now, and I’m just so happy I can put my lettering towards something good.

Creating can be really exhausting. It is hard mental work, and it cannot be forced. There are some weeks when I don’t draw or letter anything, and other times when I can’t even put my pen and iPad down. I overcome a lot of the “creator’s block” by prioritizing my own mental health with weekly therapy, as well as practicing self-compassion and honoring my needs.

I want the world to know that my biggest goal is to spread mental health advocacy and support. I want people to know they matter. Our society fights hard to tear us down, but we are strong and capable and we can be authentically wonderful. I hope my stickers, mugs, apparel, and pins serve as reminders to people everywhere that mental health MATTERS and we can normalize conversations about mental illness.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love that Colorado is my home. There are so many places I’d take a friend. We would definitely start with coffee every day from one of my favorite coffee shops: Good Neighbors Meeting House, Building III Coffee (get a Snowberry pastry), Switchbacks Coffee Roasters, Loyal Coffee, Peak Place, Wild Goose Meeting House, Kairos, (I could go on and on). We would then go on a nice hike in Cheyenne Canyon, Red Rock Open Space (Section 16 even!), to Mount Rosa or another local adventure. We’d have lunch/brunch at either Garden of the Gods Cafe or my FAVORITE restaurant 503W. We’d explore Old Colorado City and I’d show them the store where my biz has a table (Eclectic OCC), we’d get ice cream at Josh & Johns, and we’d walk around Garden of the Gods. I’d be sure to drive my friend to the top of Pikes Peak, we’d maybe take a drive down to Canon City to Skyline Drive and the Royal Gorge, we’d have a picnic and kayak at Rampart Reservoir. We’d continue to eat out at other places I love/get a beer at my favorite breweries: Cerberus Brewing, Metric Brewing (food trucks!), Goat Patch Brewing, Manitou Brewing Company, Colorado Craft, Odyssey Gastropub, Oscar Blues, Red Leg, Trinity Brewing, EIM Thai. Again, I could go on and on and that’s terrifying that I eat out that much… but we have an amazing restaurant, coffee shop, and brewery scene here. There’s never a lack of things to do.

I’d take my friend to a Switchbacks game at the new stadium, we’d go out to Coati and end a night getting a slice of Fat Sully’s pizza. We would spend an entire day eating the amazing Mexican cuisine in the Springs. We’d have T-Byrds, Dos Santos, and Piglatin. We’d go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, we’d walk around the Broadmoor grounds, and we’d go get a beer and some Irish food at Jack Quinn’s. We would most definitely head up to Denver for a Rockies baseball game and a concert at Red Rocks Ampitheatre/Fiddler’s Green. If they’re athletic, I’d take them to my gym Crossfit Soco, and probably force them to do the Manitou Incline.

Should I keep going? Want me to plan your next trip to Colorado Springs? Ha! Anyway, I love my city. This is a dream place to live.

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’d like to dedicate this shoutout to my husband and biggest cheerleader, Nathaniel. If I didn’t have him supporting me both emotionally and financially, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. He is my rock and my #1 fan and I’m lucky to have a partner like him.

Website: www.mariebuttondesigns.com/shop

Instagram: @buttondesigns_

Other: Visit Eclectic Co in downtown Colorado Springs OR Eclectic OCC in Old Colorado City (my stuff is located in front of the register)

Image Credits
Kira Whitney Photography, @kirawhitneyphotography on Instagram

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.