Welcome to our newest tradition, Maker Monday! Our Store Manager, Marissa, gets to know a little bit more about the makers of The DIME Store. We believe in bridging the gap between our customer and the maker -- and this new project is a great way to learn about the person behind the product!
Allie is one of my favorite people in the whole world. Her energy and encouragement are a rare gift and she gives them generously. I got to chat with Allie about her journey to becoming a maker & what it looks like to let the process evolve and change.
So Allie, where did you grow up? What brought you to Denton?
I grew up on the west side of Plano just outside of Dallas. West Plano is known for its affluence, amazing public schools, and wearing high heels to dinner. My family was very middle class -- I knew very few people who lived in an apartment like us. While my peers went to private colleges across the nation, I decided to go to UNT for art school! I fell in love with Denton pretty quickly after moving. It felt so different than home even though it was only 30 miles away. It was and still is so un-materialistic and so local with the collection of mom & pop businesses. I miss it so!
How did you become a maker? How did you make the decision to do this full-time?
While I went to art school, I didn't really feel like an artist. I was leaning more into working in a museum or maybe going to grad school. But one day, super randomly, I found myself at a Jo-Anns buying supplies to make my own little embroidery piece. It really was that random. I didn't really know anything about embroidery, but I knew I loved the texture and wanted to work with my hands. What I didn't expect was that it gave me this newfound confidence that I never really had in my art before. It just made me really happy!
About a year later I opened an Etsy shop, selling little embroidered hoops and greeting cards. I think I started paying myself 1 year later and then was really 'full-time' by year 3. The shop turns 4 in May of this year!
What are some of the differences between what you started out making and what you’re making now?
Hahahaha well, I got my start making embroidered hoops, and then quickly moved to embroidered greeting cards. The cards were where I really saw this huge change in demand. I was getting wholesale orders and starting to sell a good amount online and at events. It was, and still can be, so hard to keep up with! My hands just got so damn tired, and I didn't really know how to keep designing for that very specific product.
As I've grown in my business, I have become so much more comfortable drawing and illustrating. Late last year, I started unveiling cards + prints that were simply illustrated and printed from home (with *gasp*, no stitching!). I'm super excited about the reception the current line has gotten, and I'm SO ready to let it keep growing, without embroidery. I just feel ready to change my story a lil bit!
What was your journey to The DIME Store?
This is also super random because I don't quite remember how I just emailed them one day. The work just gave me this energy to put myself out there. I didn't even fill out the application to be a maker! I don't know what made them say yes, but I'm so glad they did, because it changed my life and career! It felt very serendipitous and still does. I'm so thankful! Maybe a year after getting my work in the store, I became hired as a weekend shop girl and then quickly rose to management and being more involved in business decisions. Making for and working with DIME has been a DREAM! Shelley's not only the best boss ever, but a true friend and icon in our community. I can't speak highly enough of her. She's such an angel.
Last summer, I moved to Tennessee for my husband's job. I'm so happy to say I still work for DIME as a virtual assistant! So, I'm still here, just in the cloud!
What/who has provided the most inspiration for you along the way?
Ahhh that's such a hard question! I think it's a billion different things. From my relationships with friends and family to my love of sustainability and tv shows, to my personal yoga practice... I find so much about my little world inspiring. My work is pretty much my brain on paper, and how I have learned to express myself.
If you could tell “teenage Allie” one thing, what would it be?
Awwww, teenage me! I would probably say the same things I say to myself everyday and hope they stick. 'Stop worrying, you're okay, it's okay. Eat more veggies.'
And last but not least, what do you miss about Denton??
Besides my amazing beautiful community, I miss all the food! Real queso, Pizza Snob, Bagheris! It’s too good.