A colourful fashion blog supporting independents & sustainable fashion in Bristol and beyond since 2011

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Indies in Lockdown - Sophie Filomena

As we enter more unpredictable times with another lockdown looming, I hope that the Indies in Lockdown interview series may be able to offer some form of comfort and inspiration to other creatives during the pandemic and perhaps offer hope for the future. 

Please know you are not alone AND if you are an indie business and would like to share your story, where ever you are based and what ever your situation, please do get in touch. 

Sophie Filomena

Contemporary jewellery designer and super lovely gal Sophie Filomena handcrafts fun, bold and colourful creations using polymer clay. From a wide range of hoops, studs and abstract earrings to the new super cute hair barrettes there is such a variety of treats that simply look good enough to eat!  

With graphic design, collage, illustration, video work and a feature in Vogue also under her belt this creative has got it going on! The question is, how did Sophie Filomena keep inspired and productive during lockdown?

This interview took place in July 2020 and was updated in September 2020. 

Sophie Filomena creates super cute jewellery pieces using polymer clay

How are you & what has your situation been like during lockdown? 

It's funny, at the start of the year, I was under an immense amount of pressure without really realising it. Although I'd managed to set up plans and goals for the year ahead, such as booking in workshops, markets and establishing a business plan, I felt my creativity had taken a huge hit. 

I felt like I wasn't in a position where I had much space in my mind to expand on my ideas and explore new avenues of design. 

I'd been constantly working around the clock and not having enough time to rest and take time for myself and the work I actually wanted to do.

In a way, the lockdown suddenly changed my situation overnight and I then found myself (along with many others) in a place where I had a huge expanse of empty time before me! There was a slight sense of relief and a great appreciation for my loved ones.

In true Bristol fashion, the lockdown only brought people together and I was able to explore new directions for my designs and take some time off.

Geometric drop studs by Sophie Filomena £20 

How has lockdown affected your business and the way you work?

I was so uncertain as to whether I could still continue making a living off designing and making jewellery, but as it turned out, people still continued to find ways to support small business. 

To my delight, I received a lot of messages from customers who told me my earrings made their day a little brighter in the early days of lockdown. I don't think they realise how much that spurred me on and to come up with innovative ideas to maintain a connection through design. 

I set up a competition where people designed their own earrings and the winner received their own custom order, handmade by me. 

As this has been a testing time for many people, it became clear to me that high morale, collaboration and local support was key to maintaining small and local business. 

I recently teamed up with Photographer and Stylist, Charlotte Turton who shot a selection of my earrings in a style very true to my brand. Bold, innovative and positive! 

Focusing on the online aspect of my jewellery work felt very important, as all of my physical stockists, unfortunately, had to temporarily shut down.   

Fun fashion collaboration with stylist and photographer Charlotte Turton for Sophie Filomena

Has this time helped your productivity? If yes, how?

Being essentially housebound made my productivity shoot through the roof - but not in the way I expected.

I spent days upon days just being in the garden and completely transformed it by planting loads of seeds. I found myself being able to start projects I'd always wish I had the time to do.

If there is one thing I'll take away from this situation, it is knowing the importance of doing creative things other than your work. When you are a self-employed creative, it is easy to fall into a trap where your personal and work life begin to merge.

By dedicating a good amount of my time to new hobbies, gardening and doing activities that are far removed from your job, it completely propels your productivity forwards when you go back to it. 

There are definitely days that feel very lethargic with no sense of an end to this strange way of living, but overall I am happy with the amount of work I’ve done on the house, garden and my business.

The new Hair Barrette collection by Sophie Filomena

Have you become more or less inspired in this time?

Overall, I'm pleased to say I have been feeling more inspired than ever. I get to work on my own terms and feel like I am in a more creative space, mentally. I've since released a new product line of clay hair barrettes and it's felt like a breath of fresh air to get those released. 

My jewellery has taken a new direction in terms of style and I have been pushing the boundaries with what I create. I've also finally been able to offer a wider range of clip-on options which I am very excited about! Who says you need pierced ears to enjoy my creations?!

Thanks to the lockdown, I've been able to pick up my collage work again and experiment with new mediums such as video and scanography. 

My musician boyfriend and I have been collaborating on some sound and visual projects which I hope to release under an alternative alias, Anemo Lif on Instagram. 

For both of us, it's been a useful time to figure out what we want for our own work and I feel more inspired than ever. I believe innovative thinking can emerge from times like these and I’ll definitely be taking these new ideas forward into the future. 

Squiggle hair clip barrette by Sophie Filomena £8

What's next for your business?  

Right at the start of lockdown, my earrings made it into April’s issue of Vogue Czechoslovakia which was such an incredible milestone and not expected at all! 

I’m working towards my brand becoming more high-end fashion, whilst still being accessible to all. There are a few worldwide stockists I have my eye on to approach and I’m considering hiring a few people to help me out, later down the line. 

I’m looking forward to collaborating more with photographers, models and anyone who has a cool idea. 

Visit Sophie Filomena online


Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Indies in Lockdown - Hello Dodo

It has been so inspiring to see many indie businesses thriving and courageously pushing through these changeable times, as life decides to throw us all the biggest curveball ever! 

The chance to slow down, take time to reflect and focus on the future - and what really matters - has created a surge of realisation, inspiration and creativity that offers hope to this new world. 

Back in June 2020, I spoke to a selection of UK based creatives to find out what life in lockdown has been like for them as independent businesses. 

Hello Dodo founders Ali and Jam outside their garden studio in Worthing

Hello Dodo

Hello Dodo is a fun, bright and colourful ethical fashion brand run by the equally colourful husband and wife team Ali and Jam from their home in Worthing. 

Going by their fun filled Instagram page you could make a guess that things have been going pretty well for the Hello Dodo team despite the pandemic, but everyone has a story to tell, right? 

This interview originally took place in June 2020. Read on for an extra Hello Dodo update at the end of the interview!

Keep on Raven crop top by Hello Dodo £22

How are you & what has your situation been like during lockdown? 

We are fine thank you, a little tired though as we haven’t had a day off in ages! 

We’ve been pretty fortunate during lockdown as we both work on our business from home, screen printing and packing orders from our little studio at the end of our garden. 

We have a tiny post office just around the corner which is run by our lovely postmaster Sam so we could continue to ship things safely, which was a huge relief. 

Working in this way has allowed us to become pretty much hermits though! We haven’t even been in to a supermarket since mid March so now that lockdown is easing we have to overcome quite a lot of social anxiety or risk becoming total recluses!

Hello Dodo screen print their own designs by hand

How has lockdown affected your business and the way you work? 

Although we’ve been lucky to be able to carry on running our business we’ve had every single one of our 2020 events cancelled (including artist’s open houses and markets) and also we were due to run our own two week long pop up shop at the end of July. 

We also lost a lot of revenue from our lovely stockists being closed too. We turned off International shipping during lockdown (we’ve only just reinstated it on our website) as we felt like the risk of orders being either lost or hugely delayed was just too high. 

For quite a while we weren’t able to order in the blank tees and sweatshirts that we print on to either so had to make do with what we had. 

The positive impact of lockdown on our business though has been, despite everything, that we are very busy! With actual shops forced to close lots of people turned to online shopping and even better - to supporting tiny independent brands like ours.

All Hello Dodo prints feature positive messages and fun play on words

Has this time helped your productivity? If yes, how? 

Like most things, it has come in waves! 

There has been times, particularly at the beginning of lockdown, when being productive felt almost impossible and we felt overwhelmed with anxiety and the enormity of it all. 

Then there’s been other times when being productive and creative has been the best distraction for us. We have managed to do two successful launches during lockdown and we’re currently working on another really big one - so actually maybe we should cut ourselves some slack!

Hello Dodo's Jam wearing the Grand Bug Hotel unisex sweatshirt £33

Have you become more or less inspired in this time?

Right now it feels like our inspiration is returning - like the stress was holding it back and now the floodgates have been opened!

In deepest darkest lockdown the main concern was keeping our business afloat. This whole experience has definitely had a huge impact on us though and some of our new designs that we’re working on will nod to that.

NEW Kids Human Kind print sweatshirt by Hello Dodo £24

What's next for your business? 

We’re just about to release a whole bunch of yummy summer pieces both for adults, kids and babies! 

It feels scary and a bit risky but we’re really excited about it all and we’re working with another brand on a tiny limited edition collection plus two self employed photographers. As an indie business ourselves we feel it’s really important to pay for services from other indies. 

We’re also getting back on track with our new handprinted vintage label Long Live The DODO which has been delayed by lockdown. Lots of exciting things in the pipeline!

Ali has been running Hello Dodo with her husband Jam for 9 years.

September 2020 update

How has life after lockdown been for Hello Dodo?

When we last left you (in June 2020) we were in the midst of working on a summer collection for both kids and adults! 

That went really well and we were able to work with two brilliant photographers, one who could photograph her own children and one who specialises in self portraiture. Perfect for covid times! 

We’re now straight in to A/W with an adventure theme for kids and a dog theme for adults (with some crossovers!) and we’re planning photo shoots with both photographers again but this time with models. 

This feels very exciting as we weren’t sure that it would be a feasible option in 2020! 

All of our stockists have reopened too and they’re all really busy, which is a huge relief for everyone! 

Winter still feels like an unknown but right now it feels like things are on the up and we’re enjoying that and trying to not worry too much about things that we can’t control!

Visit the Hello Dodo online shop 


Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Indies in Lockdown - Elin Horgan

When faced with a situation that none of us have ever experienced before it knocks the way we live our lives for six. During the height of the pandemic we all adapted to change, with many of our jobs and livelihoods slowing down and in some cases coming to a complete halt. 

As an independent business owner you didn't have the opportunity to furlough yourself to spend more time with home-schooling or taking a mind break, you were REALLY worried about how your business would continue and when the next payment was coming in! 

Or, perhaps, you did have some extra time on your hands, but couldn't get hold of the stock that helps you to create your products during lockdown? What can you do instead?

Where there is an indie maker there is always a way....

Jewellery designer Elin Horgan 

Elin Horgan

Creating beautiful and elegant handmade jewellery in recycled silver, Bristol maker Elin Horgan became inspired to design her new Shapes & Spheres collection after realising she couldn't get new stock and components from her regular suppliers. 

This interview took place during lockdown in June 2020. 

Elin's wax carving tools used to make her unique ring creations

How are you? What has your situation been like during lockdown?

I'm ok thanks (well, I am today at least!)....hanging on in there in these strange times.  

I've been in lockdown with my two kids (who are 5 and 8) and my husband (who is currently working from home) so, like many self-employed creatives it's been quite an adjustment having everyone in the house with me all day every day.

Sphere pendents from £60 by Elin Horgan

How has lockdown affected your business and the way you work?

Business has been mostly OK.  

My stockists have, of course, been closed, but some have taken their shops and galleries online. I'm hugely grateful to everyone who has been buying jewellery from my website during this time as their support has really kept me going!

I usually run jewellery making workshops at Kiln Workshop just off Gloucester Road, Bristol, so have had to put all of those on hold for the time being.  I'm really hoping to be back teaching in the Autumn as I miss it so much!

Silver orbit hoops by Elin Horgan 
Photography by Paola Leonardi 

Has this time helped your productivity?

It's a struggle to fit much in at the moment although I suspect that having less time actually makes me more productive as there are far fewer opportunities for faffing about.  

There's definitely a lot of evening and weekend work (and not very much homeschooling) going on at the moment.

Elin Horgan's best selling Triangle stud £45

Have you become more or less inspired in this time?

After a few weeks of adjusting to our new family set up, I had a really creative burst and produced lots of new work.  

As lots of jewellery making suppliers were closed to begin with I wanted to challenge myself to make some pieces by using materials I already had; repurposing and recycling my scrap silver where possible.  

The new Shapes & Spheres collection of one-off pieces is now available to buy on my website and I love the fact that each piece is totally unique and won't be made again. (see top image)

Apollo Statement earrings £250 by Elin Horgan
Photography by Han Goes Click Studios

What's next for your business?

I'm currently working on a capsule collection of rings made from recycled silver which I hope to release this Autumn.

Visit the Elin Horgan online shop


Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Indies in lockdown - Black Olive

It's been so interesting and encouraging to find out what creatives have been up to during lockdown. One thing lockdown has offered is some headspace for our indie makers to think about how their creativity and businesses can continue going forward into this brave new world! 

Bristol based seamstress and digital embroiderer Charly Evans aka Black Olive balances her creative projects in between her full time job working in education.

Things have dramatically changed for Charly during lockdown and she has even customised a jacket for Kurupt FM's Chabuddy G! Brilliant!

Personalised velour hooded bodysuit by Black Olive

Black Olive 

How are you & what has your situation been during lockdown?

For me, lockdown has been a rollercoaster of emotions but it’s given me the time to focus on what’s important and to let all the little things go that were bugging me.  

I’ve definitely eaten too many biscuits at home in my PJs over the past four months and I’m glad to finally start seeing friends and family again!! 

One thing that has brought me great comfort has been the ability to zone it all out with ongoing creative projects.  

Black Olive has always been a side hustle to my full time job working in education and I am really happy with how I balance the two different aspects of my life.

My creative studio is at home. We forfeited having a dining room to have a space where both my housemate and I can be creative (messy). 

During lockdown I have been lucky enough to work from home and I have just started a phased return to my actual work place which has been a really positive experience. I didn’t realise how important the social side of my day time job was until I returned and realised how much I missed everyone. 

A big shout out to everyone who has been working in education during this time- being involved in delivering homeschooling at any age is a challenging experience!!

Black Olive founder Charly Evans

How has lockdown affected your business/ the way you are working??

This year I had really hoped to offer some sewing and upcycling classes at various venues across the city. 

I meet many creative people who have machines gathering dust at home and are desperate for a bit of guidance. Lockdown obviously put a stop to these plans but fingers crossed I’ll be able to offer something early next year.

At this point in the Black Olive journey, everything I make is one off and bespoke to the customer. Therefore, whilst still working full time, I am only able to take on one order a week. 

Lockdown has given me more headspace to design projects, communicate with customers and plan social media content. I have spent time planning my orders and I’m now fully booked for the next month!

Just when I think I might have some time to make myself something, the next exciting project pops up in my inbox.

Black Olive's Personalised Hen-Do Sequin jackets

Has this time helped your productivity? If yes,how?

I’ve definitely become more productive during lockdown.

I’ve found time to cut out projects on my lunch break and I’ve gone straight from work into sewing most evenings. 

Being at home has given me extra time to experiment with patterns and techniques, rather than jumping straight into a project. I’ve found this has meant the quality of my products have improved as I have had the time to ‘iron out any creases’. 

Black Olive at The Bristol Fashion Show - Image courtesy of  Edward Felton Photography

Have you become more/less inspired in this time?

Weirdly, I’ve become more inspired and that comes directly from the amazing customer ideas I receive weekly. Getting messages like ‘Can you make my dream jacket’ are what keeps me going!

Normally this time of year involves rolling in and out of festivals and the lead up to these events would have me making outfits for people. Having said this I’m finding people are still ordering festival style garments, throwing on some glitter and having a disco at home instead.   

One of the highlights from lockdown was seeing a performer wearing one of my hooded bodysuits during an online cabaret stream.  I get a massive kick out of seeing people on stage in my clothes, even if this year it had to be through the telly instead.

I’ve found inspiration from lots of online platforms, from virtual tours of V&A exhibitions, that I may not have had time to visit, to up close stage performances from acts such as Cirque Du Soleil. 

The customised Chabuddy G jacket by Black Olive

What's next for Black Olive?

I’ve just set up an Etsy store specifically for customers to order personalised Hen-Do sequin jackets and I plan spending the next six months marketing that product.

Once venues are able to start offering classes, I hope to be delivering embellishing workshops, teaching creatives how to produce the same embroidery and appliqué offered in my bespoke made garments.

Black Olive is starting to establish a name within the talented but competitive, independent clothing businesses in Bristol. 

My focus has always been to push my skills in appliqué and embroidery and this will continue to be the main feature of everything I produce. 

Other designers are now out sourcing embroidery work from me and I’ve got some super exciting collaborations planned for later this year. 

Support Indie fashion designers and follow @blackolivedesign for bespoke garms and digital embroidery projects and for all 'brides to be' head over to Black Olive Embroidery on Etsy for your sparkly customised Hen-Do/wedding jackets! 


Monday, 3 August 2020

Indies in Lockdown - Balulu

Everyone's lockdown experience has been different and in some cases creative flow has had to come to a complete standstill. 

Can keeping positive really help inspire something good out of a bad experience and how does an indie business relying on international suppliers and manufacturers continue to create and grow in lockdown? 

Super fun Balulu co-ords
Super fun Balulu co-ords made from upcycled bedsheets


Balulu is a colourful, slow fashion brand that creates fun streetwear pieces using upcycled bedsheets and vintage fabrics from India. 

As part of the No Debutante - Indies in lockdown series, super sweet Balulu designer Lulu Harrison shares how family and friends have inspired her to move forward during a tough time for her business, as she learnt to adapt and grow during lockdown. 

Colourful Balulu designer Lulu Harrison

How are you & what has your situation been during lockdown? 

I’m good! I have been staying with my parents during lockdown which has actually been great. 

It has been quite a special time as I wouldn’t usually get to spend this much time with them, so I feel blessed to have had that. 

We have been spending our time going on long walks, swimming in the river every day, doing quizzes, drinking wine and watching a lot of Netflix series! 

Reversible Mickey Mouse print Kimono by Balulu £65

How has lockdown affected your business and the way you work? 

It has been really tough on the business. 

We were meant to be trading at Glastonbury for the first time ever this summer and it would have been our second year at Shambala. 

Not only have we been affected by not having anywhere to trade, we haven’t been able to get any of our new stock as India went into an even stricter lockdown than here, particularly Varanasi which is where my clothes are made. 

I had one box of clothes come before the world went into lockdown and, to be fair, everything sold out pretty quickly which was amazing!

As we put way more effort into our online presence, we saw a lot more sales than we have previously. Online shopping became much more of a thing and whilst we had the stock our business really benefited from that. 

Mix and match repurposed fashion creations by Balulu

Has this time helped your productivity?

Sadly, without having the stock to be creative with, I can’t really say it has helped my productivity. 

I definitely started off trying to keep super motivated and coming up with new ideas, but as time has gone on the business has been hit harder, it’s been hard to stay positive about it. 

I think this whole pandemic has not only had a hit on businesses, but also on people’s mental health which I can say from first hand experience.

Unique Jungle Dungarees by Balulu £50

Have you become more or less inspired in this time?

It has been a mixture of feelings. 

With the help from my friend and marketing whizz Brodie Imogen, I have been inspired to enter a competition, update the website and make a promo video for Balulu. 

I think I needed that push from someone else to keep me motivated and generate fresh ideas. 

A selection of colourful garms by Balulu

What's next for your business? 

I have literally just got a new box of clothes which is really exciting! There are about 50 pairs of new dungarees I need to shoot and upload onto the website AND I have been updated by my tailors that more clothes will be coming soon. I’m super excited to get the new stock in! 

I have also just moved to London into a great flat/studio space so that is really exciting. 

I am also going to be studying a masters in Material Futures in October at Central Saint Martins so I can’t wait to see what will come of that and how I can incorporate Balulu into the course! 

Support Indie fashion designers and head over to the Balulu website where there is currently a flash sale happening until Wednesday (5 August) don't miss out! 


Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Indies in lockdown - Emotional Waterfall

Has it taken a pandemic to make us re-evaluate our fast paced lives and slow down? Can a big change inspire creativity? 

Colourful, Bristol artist Emotional Waterfall says "Yes!!". 

We catch up with another Bristol creative  - as part of the Indies in Lockdown series -  who has completely submerged herself into her creative work during lockdown.

Colourful Bristol Artist Emotional Waterfall

Emotional Waterfall

Colourful, pattern making queen and fabulous mother of three, Jemma Burnsnell aka Emotional Waterfall is an artist who dabbles in everything creative from art installations to jewellery maker, upcycler, fashion collaborator and interior designer.

Preferring to remain known as an artist first over any other creative label, if Emotional Waterfall can hand paint her signature bright coloured geometrics and abstract brush stroke patterns on it, she will! 

From collaborations with Lucy and Yak, Winifred Rose and Gangster Wraps under her belt alongside handpainted upcycled pieces, 'sell out in seconds' wearable art earrings, wall murals and one woman live art shows at Bristol's Upfest, this is one busy and creative lady. 

So, what's changed during lockdown? How has Emotional Waterfall become even more productive?

Abstract portrait collages by Emotional Waterfall
Abstract portrait collages by Emotional Waterfall

How are you & what has your situation been during lockdown? 

In the beginning I thought 'well that’s it for the way I work', it felt like making and selling ART was a bit pointless considering!
The levels of fear and doom that we were being fed constantly ground everything creative to an abrupt halt and having a family at home was busy for me at first!

I was usually at my studio everyday from school drop till pick up then suddenly I was just at home, a bit confused, in my pjs!

BUT, quickly it became a calm and lovely time to have everyone together and not rush around. I actually found my mind full of ideas and had time to revisit lots of unfinished projects at home that I now had time for. Actual time had no meaning, (there was) no clock watching, no deadlines, we were all together and I felt really peaceful and happy. 

More Love Love More by Emotional Waterfall

How has lockdown affected your business and the way you work? 

This new relaxed vibe led me back into creativity pretty quickly and I set up a temporary work space in my tiny kitchen, where I happily work away with a steady stream of music and children using the toaster or asking when dinner is!

I guess the difference is without the parameters of worrying if I was late for a meeting or school pick up, the flow became a much gentler way of life as an artist at home.

Join the Pattern Party with Emotional Waterfall

Has this time helped your productivity? If yes, how? 

YES is the answer! 

There was a more relaxed vibe from clocking out of life as it previously was and entering a new lockdown at home time.

I had more time to really think about what I wanted to make and I ended up making earrings as I did last summer -  they are a long process of clay, drying, painting, doodling, varnishing and packaging - Such a labour of LOVE! I previously wouldn’t of considered ever making them again as, 

A, I’m not a jewellery maker! I’m a pattern maker. 
And B, I just felt WAY to busy previously to even get into such a slow process again. 

But this way at home I could have a paint brush on the go whilst keeping my eye on dinner and it just worked for me!

Wearable Art Earring shapes by Emotional Waterfall

Have you become more/less inspired in this time?


I think looking back a lot of people hopefully valued the special, slower time we were given - circumstances allowing of obviously - but personally it gave me a chance to really focus and make the best choices going forward with my ART.

Being bolder in those choices I got a really solid plan together to formulate all my best ideas from the past, revisit ideas scribbled in note books, finding old doodles whilst tidying up and pick the best of the best so that emerging from this strange time Emotional Waterfall is exactly what I want it be going forward.

It’s always been my own special universe to exist in anyway in essence, that’s how it came to be anyway and I think for artists it pretty much how we live most of the time lockdown or not!

I had time to think about what worked, what didn’t and what positive joy I really want to say through my art going forward.

Recycling Joy by Emotional Waterfall

What's next for Emotional Waterfall? 

The website and shop are the main things, along with some other secret stuff!

I’m very easily distracted especially being at home, so this has been a while on the table but I’ve had time to actually write and take photos for the online shop. 

I’m really excited to have this new phase almost ready to launch and to welcome everyone into the universe of EMOTIONAL WATERFALL x

Follow Emotional Waterfall on Instagram and hold tight for the launch of the new website and online shop! 

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Indies in Lockdown - Dakota Rae Dust

How have indie creatives coped during lockdown? 

Following our initial blog post where we found out that a change -  or in this case, a pandemic  - can inspire creativity, we have also learnt how courageous and adaptable indie makers and businesses have been during lockdown.

Overwhelmed by the heartfelt responses from some of my favourite indie makers and designers, we shall continue the Indies in Lockdown blog series profiling each creative with a full interview whilst showcasing some of the pieces that they have been working on during this time. 

Dakota Rae Dust

The first indie designer profile features the fabulous, colourful statement jewellery maker Bec Denton, founder of Dakota Rae Dust. During lockdown Bec has had to put her new collections on hold and adapt to a new way of working from her home studio, here in Bristol. Bec is also missing selling at markets and the beloved festival season. 

NEW Turquoise fringe, bib necklace £42
NEW Turquoise fringe, bib necklace £42 by Dakota Rae Dust

How are you & what has your situation been during lockdown? 

I'm well thanks, feeling much better after my first trip to a friend's garden last week! My partner received a letter advising him to shield due to an existing health condition so we have both been working from home in our one bed attic flat during lockdown!

I already work from home, so no big upheaval for me but my partner set up office in the bedroom and during the first few weeks of lockdown he was also running two 3D printers in there, printing PPE visors! 

We don't have a garden, which we were cursing during the sunny weather but the flexibility that our work has offered us and the support from friends and family, with food shopping, has left us feeling very lucky.

Indie maker Bec Denton with a pair of Dakota Rae Dust statement tassel earrings

How has lockdown affected your business and the way you work? 

Since starting my business I have relied heavily on markets, festivals and in person selling to spread awareness of my work. When the reality of a summer without any events first dawned on me, I have to admit, I felt pretty panic stricken, but lots of amazing event organisers and fellow makers sprung into action with virtual alternatives which have been a real help. 

I have traded with Bristol Markets and Makers Bazaar Fair (on instagram) they have definitely proven to be an effective way to reach potential new customers from my sofa - which is a win -  but I am really missing all the amazing market food and contact with fellow makers and customers. 

Access to equipment has been a bit of a problem. I usually take a bus across town to use a friend's heat press and occasionally the laser cutter at KWMC The Factory but shielding meant this was much trickier.

I have delayed launching any new designs for now, focusing instead on new colourways of existing styles that I can produce at home. Excitingly, this should be changing imminently. 


Has this time helped your productivity? If yes, how? 

Ermmm! Not exactly, I've definitely found it tricky to stay motivated without the regular deadlines that trading at markets provides and the usual contact with friends and fellow makers.....I realised early on that I'm not a big fan of Zoom!!   

Since postponing working on anything new, having to rely on existing designs has allowed me some extra time to streamline my production and make products in small batches which I am usually too disorganised to enforce. This has definitely been a positive outcome of the last few months. I still haven't managed to tidy my desk though Haha!

A selection of oversize jazzy plectrum earrings, available with OR without tassels

Have you become more/less inspired in this time?

BOTH. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster!

At times I've focused solely on the very practical side of the business only, getting orders out and keeping accounts up to date, with no motivation for designing, or coming up with creative ways to tackle the coming months. 

Once I made the decision about delaying the launch of any new designs and freed up some time to play around with colours and fabrics I started to feel much more inspired. I'm very keen to get prototyping now. Autumn, maybe even the end of the Summer, should be bringing lots of exciting new things! 

All my textile jewellery is inspired by and includes some vintage, recycled or secondhand fabrics. Many of my pieces feature components cut from textile off-cuts and waste materials donated by fellow makers as well as smaller scraps left over from my own larger projects.

features three vintage fabrics in florals and plains. The vintage floral fabric used in the large teardrop earring components was once a bedspread! Worn and well loved, it has been repurposed in these playful earrings(below).

What's next for Dakota Rae Dust? 

I'm interested to see how plans for markets opening up again will progress in the coming months. I really hope to be loading my pegboards with statement tassels and catching up with customers again soon. 

I committed to a website upgrade earlier this year (before I had any idea about what was about to happen with Covid) and after initial fears over whether it was the right time to be spending money, I'm now feeling confident that, especially in the current climate, this was a good call. 

A slick online presence and shopping experience feels more important than ever while I am relying so much on virtual trading and marketing via social media. I'm still getting to grips with the new site and uploading products but keen to get everything up and running asap! 

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