A few weeks ago, the lovely Molly from Vivi Dot sent the Mayorettes an amazing package FULL of goodness. So who's Molly? A San Fran local with an obsession with fabric and paper. She's been running Vivi Dot since 07 and I had a quick chat with her to find out more...
What have you been doing lately?
I just returned from a European reunion with 4 of my closest girlfriends from the University of Washington. It was amazing, but also exhausting since we went out really late (thanks to the time difference) and tried to be up to be tourists during the day. Since I returned I've been trying to get back into my normal routine and also take advantage of the recent bit of amazing weather here since it never lasts long. On the Vivi Dot front I've been working on creating my own custom fabrics which I'm really excited about. The tiny bow hair clips and houndstooth print I sent you are examples of this.
How did Vivi Dot get started?
About 4 years ago I was going to a lot of concerts and seeing a lot of 1-inch promo/band buttons. I decided to invest in a button maker of my own and started making things with origami paper, comic books and creating my own images. I quickly started making earrings and had a multiple people inquire about where I bought them. Quite some time later I made myself commit to making a bunch of stuff by signing up for one of the many holiday art/design/craft fairs in the city. It started to take off from there. I only had buttons, magnets and earrings at that first show and later branched out, using fabric and finding new products to make.
Who is Vivi Dot for?
With so many varied prints and products Vivi Dot appeals to just about everyone. I know that sounds contrived, but I’ve really found most people who visit my booth at a show can connect with a fabric and product combination in one way or another. I think the wide variety allows people to find their own style within my line. I’ve sold hair accessories to a three year old and clip on earrings to a woman who was at least 70. I will continue to add more prints to my online store so people shopping there will soon have as much variety to choose from as those who shop offline.
What are we missing out on in San Fran? Favourite spots/hangouts:
Between my full time job and Vivi Dot I don't have a ton of free time so my social life has become quite lame compared to my pre Vivi Dot days. Because of this I'm definitely drawn towards participating in events that involve slanging my Vivi Dots in a fun party atmosphere. Indiemart (http://indie-mart.com/) is a good example of this as it combines music and a bunch of local designers selling their wares in a bar. There’s always a ton of good concerts and festivals to attend as well. Vivi Dot had a booth at the Treasure Island Music Festival last year, which was an amazing weekend of music and selling.
What do you get up to in your time off?
I don't ever feel like I have much time off since I'm trying to get as much Vivi Dot related stuff done when I'm not at my day job. That being said, I still always seem to find time to hangout with my boyfriend, take my dog to the beach that's a 10-minute walk away, and catch up with my girlfriends over alcohol fueled dinners.
Can't leave home without:
A hair tie for when my curly hair inevitably gets unruly, ChapStick (the classic blue variety), my iPhone, and I always try to have something Vivi Dot on me (either wearing an accessory or using a money clip or bookmark).
It's funny to think that this is a secret since it used to really define who I was, but most of the people who know me via Vivi Dot don't know I'm also a dancer. I grew up taking and eventually teaching dance (tap, ballet, jazz and later hip hop). Two of my best friends in San Francisco (see the shout out below) are people I met in the hip hop dance group I joined after moving down here after college. I don't take or teach classes anymore, but definitely plan to do so in the future. I tried to keep the hip hop love alive by dressing as Lil Mama for Halloween. I put a lot of miles on my bedazzler for that costume!
Shout outs to:
Summer, Allie and Duncan! They're the Vivi Dot support staff. Duncan (the boyfriend) is the best Vivi Dot roadie possible. I don't even have to ask him to help me load and unload everything for my shows, press buttons when I'm strapped for time, or act as the shipping manager when I'm out of town. Summer and Allie are always up for a good sweatshop party** which basically combines pressing a ton of Vivi Dots while watching bad reality television and drinking copious amounts of wine.
** Please note that Vivi Dot is wholeheartedly against sweatshops and would never force anyone to work in difficult or dangerous conditions. Everything from Vivi Dot is handmade with love, voluntary sweat, in the company of friends and sometimes fueled by an alcoholic beverage or two (though never enough to compromise our quality control).