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.
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: