Published on December 18, 2017 by Ashley Smith  
Kristin Farmer

Samford 2011 graphic design major Kristin Farmer is celebrating the holidays with wrapping paper featuring her watercolors of African-American women with natural hair.  The limited-edition product is available through her website  The Curly Contessa brand, which stands for matriarch of curly tresses,  developed as part of her design business Flair Koncepts. 

Farmer works as an art director at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) as well as pursues her design business and hopes to roll out additional products this spring including a line of birthday paper.   She notes that there was nothing like this on the market and that she has received positive feedback with the initial offering.

The endeavor took a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and faith.  Farmer says “My faith played a huge role in me embarking down this path. After much market research, I accessed my risks and debt ratio. Then I took a leap of faith hoping my Father would catch me and I landed on my feet. God has a plan for me and this is only the beginning.”  

She gathered a “host committee” of supporters to help launch the product and developed a strategic plan for production and marketing.  Farmer says “Having mentors and this initial support is key to success.”

According to Farmer, “My advertising/marketing class and senior portfolio project at Samford provided tools to develop a business plan that included scope of work, a website, marketing, and product research.” Part of her plan was to raise capital through a crowdsourcing page and then the actual sale works as a donation in order to support the business.  From concept to production, she has managed it all in less than 3 months. 

Farmer is passionate about her work and wants her artwork to fill the needs of an untapped market. Her hope is “to bring diversity to the marketplace through the art of gifting.”  Her website promotes that “Curly Contessa is raising the bar for holiday cheer and inclusivity while instilling pride in African-American culture.”

She challenges Samford students to learn from and understand different backgrounds and cultures.   “If you don't, you really do not learn anything,” says Farmer.  Farmer also believes in making sacrifices to find a vocation that is meaningful. As she says, her wrapping paper is more than gift wrap, “it is art,” and she plans to continue to share her talent and message with others.    

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.