We talk to the dazzling Rebecca Denton of dAKOTA rAE dUST for our small business spotlight blog. Find out about all things Etsy and how to grow your own creative business:
What do you do for a living?
I create handmade and embellished clothing and accessories. My work combines bold vinyl prints, that I design on illustrator with vintage and unusual fabrics.
I have developed my own unique embellishment technique, layering applique panels with hand cut, vinyl printed shapes, stitching either by machine or hand to create an unusual textured finish.
Where do you source your materials from?
I recycle unusual fabrics and vintage prints, by combining them with bold vinyl printed patterns to create wearable embellishments. Where possible I use second-hand fabrics. I love the idea of creating something new from what could be seen as waste – so source lots of my fabrics from the textile recycling centre or charity shops. There are plenty of gems to be found!
As well as making items from scratch I embellish ready-made sweatshirts and T-shirts, these are brought from an ethical supplier, made in a factory that uses only renewable energy.
What’s the most interesting commission you’ve undertaken?
Anything wedding related is particularly exciting because it’s such an honour to be asked to create something to be worn on such a special day! This year I have embellished some bridal ‘dancing shoes’ and a necklace, made bridesmaid clutch purses and flower girl rosettes.
It’s very satisfying when a customer comes to me with an idea and we can work through the solution together, leaving them with something completely unique and personal to them.
What is the project you’ve most enjoyed?
The shoes were probably my favourite to work on because it was something different and my embellishments looked really effective on the bride’s cream, satin flats. I probably wouldn’t have thought of trying this idea myself. It was the bride’s idea. Since making these I have been asked to embellish a jewelled flat peak cap!
If you weren’t doing this – what would you be doing instead?
Hmmm, I’d like make costumes and sets for theatre and festivals or start a boutique campsite so I could build dens and decorate all the cabins and bell tents! That would be GREAT fun.
Tell us one thing about having an Etsy shop we might not know…
Etsy is very supportive. They provide a huge amount of guidance and are constantly updating and improving the service they offer. I learned pretty much all I know about Etsy from reading their blog posts and guides, and by joining in with their ‘schools’!
Would you encourage others to go into the textiles and arts industry?
Yes, I would definitely encourage others to go into textiles or the arts if that was their passion. It’s notoriously hard to make a decent income in creative fields but plenty of people do and if you’re anything like me you’ll find a way to make it work until you get there because you’ll be doing what you love.
‘THE ARTS’ is such a huge industry and my experience is pretty niche really but I think I would just advise someone starting out to experience as much as they can until they find what it is they want to do and pick up as many skills as they can along the way. Everything you do will build on your skill set. My small business definitely benefits from the varied creative jobs I have had along the way!
What one item/belonging could you not live without if you were to be stranded alone on a desert island?
I’m going to be very practical and say a hammock with an inbuilt mosquito net – because I’m not a big fan of creepy crawlies.
If you could have dinner with one person from history (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
My dinner date, I find this one hard. I’m sure as soon as I commit to this answer I’ll think of 10 others but I’m going to say, Bjork. She’s a pretty interesting character and has collaborated with some amazing artists during her career, which I’d love to hear more about. OR maybe Rik Mayall, in his Bottom days, with an Esther Rantzen cocktail!
What do you like best about working for yourself?
The best thing about working for myself is being able to enjoy my own company, beavering away and being creative. Trusting my instincts and developing new ideas is very satisfying. The designing part really doesn’t feel like work at all!