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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Designer Q&A: Dani Ausen

Meet Dani Ausen, the designer behind daniAWESOME. She is exciting to talk to, fun, and creative. You can find her accessories at the Vitae Design Collective shop. Read on to find out Dani’s favorite trends, her top style essentials and what she will be up to next!

Introduce yourself
I’m Dani. I’ve always been a person who enjoys making things and being busy. That is what I do. I am always busy and always making something.

How did you get started?
I started making accessories four years ago, and I have been selling at Vitae for three years. I was in an Urban Outfitters 4 years ago and first saw feather accessories. I was really disappointed how expensive they were for the quality. I thought I could do better. I made hair clips for my friend’s wedding and people kept asking where they came from and that’s how I got started.

What are you up to now?

When I started I was mainly making hair clips, and then I started making earrings, pendants, and broaches. I have been trying to stay much more current with the trends. I started with Peacock feathers and I have been using different feathers and darker metals. I am trying to evolve with the trends rather than staying the same. I recognize that feathers are a trendy item, so in order to keep moving with it I need to stay current.

What statement is a person making when wearing your pieces?
People who like to wear my pieces are not afraid to make a statement. I love statement pieces. Wearing a statement piece will make your outfit. People say to me that they don’t have anywhere to wear some of my pieces and I say, “Wear it with jeans and a t-shirt.”
How do you define style? What is your personal fashion/style philosophy? 
I personally wear what I like whether it’s trendy or not. I try to keep up with what is current, but I think peacock feathers is something that is classic. People have been wearing peacock earrings for ages. So while I do try to keep up with current trends, I also try to create pieces that can be worn for years.

Your top style essentials are…?

  • Any piece of statement jewelry, for me that’s feathers and rhinestones. Anything that will make a statement.
  • A great fitting pair of jeans. Especially for Iowa winters! That will carry you through a lot.
  • A great jacket. I have one leather jacket and one pea coat. They work when I’m dressed down and when I’m dressed up!   

What’s in and what’s out?
I like some of the bolder colors this fall. My favorite is black and I like to mix it with pops of color. So I’m seeing a lot of saturated colors and Marigold yellow! I like all of the dark metals and antique silver and the brass. There’s a lot of geometric jewelry going on as well.
Out is less about what is trendy and being put together. I hate seeing Ugg boots and leggings as pants! That kills me! I’m just about looking put together. Looking sloppy is OUT!

Where do you see your line in 5 years?
I have been moving more and more towards bridal and event. I would love to be doing more of that. It’s fun being a part of someone’s major life event. I would really like to keep making my classic pieces while still staying with the trends/seasons.

Favorite Current Trend?
With me and fall, it’s always about great boots. They can really make an outfit. I am always cold so I have several pairs! I always go towards military style. There is a lot of that going on. They are really nice structured pieces and they never look out of place.

Trend that you are sick of/could do without/overexposed?
Jumpsuits and Rompers. I never got that. It looks great on some people, but to me, onesies are for children.

Your collection/brand in 3 words?
Classic. Creative. Statement.

Vitae is…

My first ever store I sold at. In terms of me selling, it’s kind of home. I have been working with them for so long.

Des Moines is…
Growing. I grew up here and it was not what it is today. It is really evolving and having its own scene. It’s so much fun watching.

What’s next for you?
I would love to continue growing my online presence. For the first couple of years I was just learning to keep inventory going, keeping enough stock, and distributing. I had never done shows before or keeping records and taxes and wholesale accounts. There was so much to learn. I want to continue learning. I love the aspect of small business and learning how to run my own company.

How can readers contact you?
Etsy website:
Email: I check it constantly! I am very quick at responding.
Twitter: @daniawesome

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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