Our mission at Self Love Tool Chest by Nia Patterson Designs is crafting colorful, fun, and validating products like enamel pins, stickers, and original art. We strive to remind people afraid to love and care for themselves that it is okay to show up authentically in the world and that they are not alone.

Hey! I'm Nia. I'm an illustrator, artist, blogger, mental health advocate, dog lover, and all-around believer in the power of self love.

I currently live in Lincoln, Nebraska. I come from a long line of PhDs, medical degrees, and educators. I actually went to Occidental College and graduated with a Bachelors in Biochemistry and only used it for about a year and a half.

Now I'm breaking the mold I've been in most of my life and following my passion for art and creating. I've always been a creative kid. I spent after school programs building houses out of cardboard boxes and painting at my friends house with oil paints. But I never really saw myself as an "artist" in the most basic sense of the world. If anything I saw myself as an entrepreneur. So walking into calling myself an artist has been a big step!

I live with my 6-year old pupper Sasha and I work a full time job. I also host the podcast Body Trauma: A Storytelling Podcast. You can also find me writing about my mental health healing process on Instagram @thefriendineverwanted. And when I'm not behind my iPad, on my computer, or on Instagram I am frequently chatting with my friends on the phone or catching up on the latest Real Housewives of Atlanta episode!

Self Love Tool Chest was actually The Dapper Dolphin originally. I started my business in 2016 with one desk, a sticker cutting machine, and a ton of clipart! At the time I was obsessed with pretty planning and stickers were my lifeblood! And so I decided I would sit down and create and sell stickers. And I did it for a good while. 

But when my life took me to an eating disorder treatment center in 2017 I started creating products that said what I needed to hear at the time. From there I continued to add mental health and body positive stickers to my shop alongside monthly sticker kits and planner cases. I released the first Self Care Challenge Kit later in 2018 and it was then that I started thinking up ideas of what I could create for people struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and so many other debilitating mental illnesses. 

So in 2019 I created my first enamel pin. And the moment I held that finished pin in my hands I was ecstatic. Holding and feeling my art come to life perplexed me but also excited me. So I started pumping out pin designs the rest of the year and ran my first Kickstarter for the Fat Yoga Babe pins in Fall 2019. When I looked back on the year I realized how many pins I had created and was excited for the year to come.

This year I really felt like I needed to leave The Dapper Dolphin behind and find a brand that coincided with what was important to me and represented the products I create. And so Self Love Tool Chest came around and the name and colors and branding just felt so very me. And not just me but me when I was younger when I needed the support for my mental illness and eating disorder. Because not only do I create cute art but I give people the tools to come to a place of self love, self care, and body acceptance. So here we are! Ready for the ride ahead!

What I really do is I talk to my friends, people in recovery, people struggling with mental illness and I share my story and give advice and challenge them to challenge themselves and those words turn into the products I create. If those words had a positive effect on someone then someone else can benefit from a pin or a sticker with those same words on it.