Dropping out of FAMU opened doors for Marsae Johnson

Marsae Johnson’s graphic design business is booming. Image courtesy Marsae Johnson

Acclaimed poet and writer Nikki Giovanni once said, “A lot of people refuse to do things because they don’t want to go naked, don’t want to go without a guarantee. But that’s what’s got to happen. You go naked until you die.”

Just like any other young creative child growing up, Marsae Johnson always had her eyes on the prize no matter how long and bumpy the road to success seemed.

After growing up in Houston, , she chose to attend Florida A&M University.

At FAMU she majored in journalism while developing a very good eye for detail. She took several classes that involved graphic design. After taking her first two graphic classes, she began to grow a passion and love for the art of creating flyers and creative presentations.

Close friend and supporter, Kyra Freeman, said: “Marsae is extremely creative, and a great friend. She has been the brains behind a lot of my creative and stylish works.”

Once she hit her junior year, she was coping with depression after losing loved ones and Johnson realized she wasn’t happy at FAMU. After several self-reflections and conversations with her family and close friends, before the start of her final junior year semester in January 2019, she decided that she was going to quit school and become a freelance graphic designer.

The thought of dropping out of school and moving back to Houston scared her loved ones, but for Johnson, it was the perfect move. Her mental state was back in order and she started her graphic business, SaeGPX.

She started off making a social media account for her business that showed all her work samples. And with the support of her friends, all of her work was reposted to bring awareness to what she was doing.

In less than a month after leaving school, she was already flooded with business inquiries. Getting customers from all over Houston and Tallahassee, Johnson had realized that she had found something conducive to her career goals.

Since then she’s made graphics for local businesses, club venues, and even had the opportunity to make T-shirts for record label, Slip-N-Slide Records.

“When she first told me that she wanted to drop out of college, I was disappointed,” said Johnson’s mother Marcia Robinson. “But seeing her find happiness and make a plan has been so rewarding to watch.”

Since her decision to leave FAMU, she has had more time to work on her brand, focus on her happiness, and expound on business ventures.

Johnson’s drive and creativity have taken her far. She is creating her own legacy and writing her future out day by day.

“I had a vision, but I didn’t know how to reach it because I felt that school was boxing me in and limiting me from what I knew I could do,” Johnson said. “I want to inspire all those who feel and or felt like I did that you are great, and you have the power over your life so have a leap of faith and believe in yourself.”