Maker Spotlight: Louise Dean


Happy Friday, everyone! We’re busily getting the final touches ready for our final Fair of the season in our hometown, but that doesn’t mean we can’t gawk over some beautiful textiles and illustrations! Louise Dean Design will be helping us celebrate the last days of Summer at our Chicago Fair this weekend – we can’t wait!


Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

I had just gotten married when I started my business and I thought it would be a nice way to keep my family name alive.. There are nothing but girls on my father’s side. My Dad runs a small business with the name Dean in too and he has been some of the inspiration to start to work for myself. Seeing the whole rollercoaster of having  a business while a grew up meant I knew what I was getting myself into. It’s also an ode to him and all his hard work. He is  a great example of someone who works hard, which motivates me.


When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I launched my company in March 2014. I have always been painting or drawing. But while taking a graphic design class in the UK before college my tutor said that I should move into textile to express myself. Ever since, I have been doing textile design. After I graduated from Loughborough University in England with a degree in  Multi Media Textile Design, I was recruited by a Fashion Label to be a designer for them. I worked there for 5 years and decided it was time to follow my dreams and start my new company.

Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

Absolutely, who doesn’t  have something that goes wrong on occasion. I’ve learned that I should probably say no sometimes because I can’t do everything. The first year is the hardest. The key is just keep going because for one disappointment there are always a handful of great ones such as being selected for Renegade!


Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

My last job was all consuming and I really wanted more of a work/life balance. I might have been able to get further faster if I skipped vacations or spent less time with my friends or husband but you only live once and I don’t want to regret a thing. Having said all that i’m writing this “after hours”- there’s not one hard and fast rule though… right?

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My favourite moment is always seeing my paintings in their final products and having people get excited about buying them. Everything in 100% made in the USA. I try to keep my production as close to where I live as possible and put thought into what the impact of my products will have on the environment. I try to use environmentally sustainable methods of printing and recycled paper options wherever possible and i’m pretty proud of that!


How does the city you live in influence your work?

I moved to Oklahoma City from Columbus Ohio just before starting my company. I love to paint and although the weather is a bit crazy sometimes, I love to take everything outside and work on painting some of the plants that I grow. I also get inspiration from my wanderings around Oklahoma and the western states. It was strange at first to live in a place so dry after coming from Ohio and before that England but after a few months I started to see the incredible beauty in the different landscapes out west. I have travelled all over the state and also made many trips to Texas and New Mexico while living here. The change in climate for me inspired me to produce my newest collection of succulent inspired artwork. It’s about the only thing I can keep alive in the heat.

I also have to say that the people in Oklahoma have been some of the nicest, kindest, open-hearted people I have ever met. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start my own company. People will give you opportunities here that would have been so hard to get in some of the bigger cities. I wouldn’t have come so far without the many local shops that carry my product or all the other amazing small business owners ready to give time and advice, because they know what it’s like to start something.


What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

My degree in Textile Design in England  gave me a great foundation of knowledge. As part of my course I took a year working at various companies in London and Copenhagen. There I had to learn how to dye fabrics, screen print and even embroider and design samples for the fashion world. Through this experience, I was recruited by a fashion label and moved to the USA.


What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

My husband, Rob, encouraged me to take this leap. He got a job in Oklahoma City so I knew I had to do something new. It ended up being  a now or never leap that I could not have done without him. It was always something I had in the back of my mind but it’s hard to leave a stable, full time paid position to follow your dreams, especially when you are stepping into the unknown. I am so happy I took the leap.

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

If you are working from home, find a local network of people and business owners you can meet with regularly. Getting out and about in the city/place you live is really important and being able to bounce ideas off people is great too.

Don’t worry too much about what people say/think, see where your creativity takes you and always have a pen and paper handy!


What are some inspirations for your work?

I love to travel and photograph plants, nature, and animals on my way around the world.


My business over all reflects my passion for making beautiful things that fill peoples home with color and interest. Everything is made in limited production runs and we design it to stand the test of time.


Photos by Ely Fair Photography

We can’t wait to spend some time with these Summery prints and textiles out our Chicago Fair. Be sure to check out Louise Dean Design online here:




Maker Spotlight: O’Douds


We fell in love with O’Douds Apothecary as soon as we saw their goods in Austin. Now the boys behind O’Douds are making their way to our hometown and we can’t wait to see them again in Chicago!


Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

O’Douds is a family name. When my family immigrated to America our name was switched from “O’Dowds” to “Douds”, so I decided this would be a great opportunity to pay respects to my family, who courageously moved to this country.

When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I actually sort of stumbled into it! Back when O’Douds started, I had been learning a lot about the benefits of natural products (or rather the harms of chemicals), so when I started using Pomade, I figured I would make my own. After a whole lot of trail and error, I got a recipe I was proud of. Being someone who is obsessed with design and marketing, I took the branding seriously, even though I didn’t expect it to turn into anything more than a hobby. And to my surprise, people really appreciated all of the hard work that went into the pomade, and pretty quickly O’Douds started to grow.


Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I wouldn’t say that I had any failures. Starting a business has its ups and downs, but from everything bad that has happened, I have learned a lot, so I would say it has all been worth it. The biggest thing I have learned is to be a perfectionist. I have a tendency to want to move onto to the next big thing very quickly, which is great when I am creating new products, but I’ve had to learn to slow down and focus on making what we’ve got the best that it can be. We recently rebranded and while there were a lot of products I wanted to release, we decided to really spend a lot of time refining what we have, and I couldn’t be more proud of how everything turned out.

Have you sacrificed anything to create your business?

If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets? I would say the only big thing I have sacrificed is my anxiety. I get really worried, I make small problems into big problems in my mind, and I am not naturally a positive person. So figuring out how to deal with that, and how to stay positive has been a journey. But no, I definitely don’t regret it, it has all made me a better person, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.


What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My favorite moments have been the times I’ve spent with other makers and all of the friends I have made. For the San Francisco Renegade over a year ago, I was able to work with Karl from Anvil Handcrafted, and while that started as a “partnership” he is now a great friend, and without this company I would have never met him.

How does the city you live in influence your work?

Well that is an interested question because we actually just relocated from Houston to Brooklyn. We’ve only been here for a month, so I can’t say it has influenced us that much, but starting a small business in Texas is pretty great. There is huge community of makers and just seeing their hard work always pushed me to take O’Douds to bigger places.

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

I had a pretty great setup, and I am extremely thankful for that. I was a manager at a restaurant, and they let me cut down from five days a week to three days a week, to one day a week and then suddenly I had my hands completely full with O’Douds.


What are some inspirations for your work?

Oh man, there are so many great brands out there doing good work, just seeing them work so hard inspires me to do the same. Karl from Anvil handcrafted, Christian from 1924US, all of the guys at Manready Mercantile, Rob from Morris Motley and whole lot more, I could type up way too big of a list, haha!

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Be innovative and work hard. There are a lot of small companies out there, and it can be hard to set yourself apart, but find something that makes you unique, and really push that.


If you ever need a gift for your man, or if you just love sweetly scented goods and apothecary products, be sure to check out O’Douds at our Chicago Fair. You’re going to love them. In the meantime, browse their beautiful work online here:



Maker Spotlight: INDIGO & SNOW


We can’t believe our Chicago Fair is just around the corner! We’re counting down the days and are thrilled to be featuring INDIGO & SNOW! These beautiful textiles will be making their way to Division Street this weekend!


Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

The first time I ever worked with indigo there was a huge snowstorm that day. At the time I was dyeing with a dear friend of mine, artist Liza Sylvestre, I was coordinating our plan via email and I remember writing p.s. INDIGO & SNOW that would be a good name for our label. It resonates with me because I like that SNOW references a geographical landscape where this work is being created.


When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I began experimenting with hand-printing textiles nearly 15 years ago and began dyeing textiles full-time in 2013. I do what I do because it feels magical. When I am dyeing textiles, I go into a flow zone and it feels like my highest state of being. The state of being you want to have in a yoga class, but at times your brain remains too distracted to surrender to that place–where you know you are channeling energy that is way bigger than you, where you feel so connected to an intense life force energy. I go into that state of being when I work with textiles. I know in my core, it is my highest state of being, my calling, my gift.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I don’t choose to use the word “failure” it feels too loaded. I have made a lot of mistakes and continually face challenges as I navigate this process. For me the most important insights gained are learning to trust the universe and the timing of things. I often think I know what’s best when I have a goal or career expectation of how something is going to play out. When it doesn’t go according to my plan I will feel a sense of “failure” or disappointment in that moment. But the passage of time allows me the perspective to evaluate and more often than not I am so grateful that the events unfolded as they did.

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My proudest moment was when the NYT’s online magazine, T Magazine featured INDIGO & SNOW shortly after launching my first hand-dyed collection. It felt surreal. My favorite moment is when I remove the binding and see how designs and patterns unfold — it feels magical.


How does the city you live in influence your work?

Minneapolis is a very supportive place to be a maker. It’s a very accessible city and there are a lot of resources here for artists. I am thankful to live in a city with a nationally renowned textile center that exhibits amazing textile artists and has a phenomenal textile library.


What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

When I was in college my dream was to open a restaurant that featured local, organic, seasonal cuisine. This was nearly twenty years ago when there were only a handful of places like this in the country. I moved to the verdant hills of the Kickapoo Valley in Wisconsin to start my cafe. I learned how to write a business plan and pitched my financing proposals to both banks and individual investors and I received a certificate in small business development, this experience began my path as a creative entrepreneur. Ultimately, I decided I didn’t want to live in a small rural community; I missed living in an urban setting and moved back to Minneapolis. More recently I worked as an Arts Administrator at a non-profit and that experience gave me the confidence to say hey! I have the skills to do this for myself.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

Landscape. Recently I have become really inspired by John O’Donohue, the Irish poet and philosopher. I am working on a series of landscape pieces that are a tribute to him. I highly recommend listening to the On Being podcast, “The Inner Landscape of Beauty.”


What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

I could tell you all the obvious things, learn how to price your work effectively, be really organized, network etc. But honestly developing an effective tool to deal with self-doubt will serve you well and allow you to not waste your energy on thoughts that are not serving you, and quite frankly are not helpful. For a long time I was my own worst enemy. I was plagued with a lot of self-doubt around whether I could financially make this dream sustainable. I had the opportunity to travel to Japan before having kids and enjoyed visiting temples. One temple stands out for me, it was a gilded temple on an island that shown so brightly in the sunlight. I choose to see my brain as this temple and I visualize the temple doors. I am very guarded about what comes into my temple. I consciously choose to nurture my brain with thoughts that are healthy and supportive. When I see toxic thoughts coming I don’t allow them passage into the temple. It’s almost as if there’s a banner that drops down that reads: “NOT HELPFUL”. Everything is visual for me, and this has been an effective tool.


We can’t wait to buy up Indigo and Snow products this weekend at our Chicago Fair! If you can’t wait till Saturday, you can find Indigo and Snow online here:



Chicago Fair Sneak Peek!

Chicago Eflyer

We’re coming home, Chicago! The Renegade Craft Fair is returning to Wicker Park along Division Street (between Damen and Paulina) on September 19 + 20. The free-to-attend event will be open 11am – 6pm each day, featuring a curated selection of today’s finest independent Makers, a mixture of artisanal food stalls, interactive activities, vintage purveyors, DIY workshops and more. Get ready for an end of Summer outdoor extravaganza!

At our flagship Fair, you’ll find an incredible collection of outstanding handmade goods. Illustrated stationery and paper goods, one-of-a-kind jewelry, children’s accessories and toys, pet products, natural beauty collections, clothing, furniture and housewares are just some of the categories present at this year’s Chicago Fair. You won’t want to miss this year’s line up of 400+ talented Makers, food and drink, activities and more. Check out the Roster here.


ROW 1: Nic Annette Miller | Small Queue | Printwork by Toni Point | ROW 2: Argaman & Defiance | Solid State Goods | Calica Studio | ROW 3: Facture Goods | Leah Ball | O’Douds Apothecary

Expect a fun and lively atmosphere along Division St. with shopping, interactive activities, creative inspiration, and more. Chirp Radio and Reckless Records will be on-hand spinning jams and tunes all weekend long while visitors explore the array of delightful wares. Feeling crafty? Stop by one of the DIY workshops: learn basic leather-working with the Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts and learn how to knit, fold origami, and wind jump-ropes with Urban Prairie Waldorf School.

All of you cycling enthusiasts will want to visit Pedal to the People‘s Pop-Up Bike Shop – offering bike valet service, mechanical services, and a “Don’t Get Stranded” flat fix workshop. Those on the hunt for some vintage treasures can visit with First Ladies VintageHighstreet Vintage, and Lost Girls Vintage and shop collections full of found and selected goods from around the country.

When your stomach starts to growl, head over to one of the many food stands in our Eats + Treats section, featuring local Chicago establishments: Chicago’s DoghouseDia de los TamalesDönerMenMana Food Bar, and Taco in A Bag as well as sample from artisanal food vendors. Black Dog Gelato, Justice of the Pies, and Puffs of Doom will be serving delicious icy treats, pies, and baked goods for those wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth cravings. Thirsty shoppers can look to Harvest JuiceryLa Colombe Coffee Roasters, and Bow Truss Coffee Roasters for refreshment and caffeine boosts, while ProteaTito’s Vodka, and Revolution Brewing, will be serving and sampling wine, vodka and beer throughout the weekend

Don’t forget to stop in the complimentary Magnolia Photo Booth and pose pretty with props to commemorate your visit. Attendees can also sit down and get a hand drawn portrait of themselves courtesy of The Doodlebooth.

FedEx will have a Shipping Station on-site, where attendees and Makers can enjoy simple, flat rate shipping for their one-of-a-kind goods.


Getting There: The Fair will take place along Division St. between Damen and Paulina. Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike, or take public transportation to the Fair. The closest CTA train stop to the Fair is the Division Blue Line Stop. Parking is limited in the neighborhood. Route directions to the intersection of Damen and Division here.

Uber is sponsoring rides for the Renegade Craft Fair. New users can get up to $20 off their first Uber ride using the code RCF2015. To sign up, download the app or head to


Want to spread the word? Join our Facebook event and invite your friends. Grab our e-flyer and pass it around. Add #RenegadeCraftFair and #RenegadeChicago to your RCF-related Instagram pictures and tweets! We love seeing what our followers and makers are up to!

For more information about this event, please visit the Renegade Craft Fair website, check out our upcoming Maker Spotlights, or browse the Makers on Pinterest.


The Renegade Craft Fair Thanks its Chicago Sponsors:


Maker Spotlight: Iron and Oak Domestics


We’re falling in love with Iron and Oak Domestics over here! These furniture and home goods will be making their way to our Chicago Fair in just a couple weeks!Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 2.52.14 PM

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

My business name came from what I focus and specialize in.  Metalworking and woodworking combined make up the products, in addition, I resource all of my materials domestically – mainly in Michigan.

When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

My Grandfather was an excellent craftsmen, he started teaching me woodworking at the age of 7.  I found it fascinating and would try and learn the craft when given the opportunity.  As I got older I started welding and working with metal, my passion for both grew.  I started my business in early 2014 when I decided a 9-5 wasn’t for me. Iron and Oak Domestics became my full time job.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I’ve had my fair share of failures along the way, but nothing I haven’t gained knowledge from. The process of establishing my brand became somewhat trial and error. Luckily I have a clear vision of what I want Iron and Oak to look like, for every misstep a lesson has been learned.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.49.39 PMWhat has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

One of my proudest moments had to have been the first time someone I didn’t know purchased one of my items.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have the support of friends and family, but there is something about putting your work out into the world and the world returns with a positive response. It definitely gave me a boost of confidence and solidified the fact I want to do this full time. 

Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

I sacrificed time.  When I first started this business, I have to admit, I thought I was going to make some tables and home goods, sell them and clock out… little did I know that it’s virtually a 24 hour a day job.  Yeah, I go to bed thinking about work and wake up thinking about work but I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I’m able to evolve and grow the business constantly. I have a hand in everything; the process, picking out the slabs, communicating with clients and shop owners, web design and social media.  I absolutely love what I do, have no regrets and look forward to the future of Iron & Oak Domestics.

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

I spend my time split between Detroit and Chicago.  The business was established in Detroit, a city founded on creating & innovating.  Detroit is where I source materials and do most fabricating. I recently moved to Chicago, I’ve found the city to be extremely inspiring and supportive of makers. Both cities have so much to offer, I feel super fortunate to be able to call both ‘home’.

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

When I started my business, I dove in headfirst. I had never owned a business before but had an idea in my mind through previous management jobs for independent businesses.  Needless to say there is a learning curve. I went into it full force with drive and a creative background in design, which has been very helpful.

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

The answer is pretty much within the question; I wanted to be my own boss and have creative freedom within a brand.  Previously, my 9-to-5 jobs would end up being 7am-to-8pm jobs although that doesn’t change while owning your own business, but when it’s a passion it doesn’t feel like work.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

I tend to find inspiration in a lot of things.  I love to travel and find different cities and the architecture inspiring all around the world. I pay close attention to angles and curves, it sparks creativity that I then incorporate into new designs.


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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

I think the number one tip would be, if you’re going to do it, then do it with everything you have.  Hard work pays off, even if it isn’t automatic.  Patience is key, push boundaries and trust your gut. Most importantly, love what you do!
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We can’t wait to see these Iron and Oak Domestic goods at our Chicago Fair on September 19+20! In the meantime, find Iron and Oaks Domestic online here: