Discussions with the founder of DaisyCakes Designs
By Janice Carter Levitch
On a chilly Saturday not too long ago, I happened to meet an interesting person while I was supporting Small Business Saturday in the Highlands area of Bardstown Road. Several vendors were set up next to a boutique called Hey Tiger. What caught my eye were the amazing scarves, tops and fashionable leggings that were on display and gently dancing in the soft breeze. As I lingered, surveying all the design options, a voice next to me said, “Try them on!” I turned around to see a tall, young woman, and she said again, “Try them on!” So I did.
Solid black is the usual color choice that I gravitate toward. It just works. Think of Einstein and his wardrobe (If you haven’t heard about his simple decision-making when it came to his own style, he wore the same clothes everyday.) It doesn’t require much time to make a decision. However, the leggings I had my eye on were tie-dyed in sumptuous earth tone shades of moss green and tobacco brown. They’ve been added to my wardrobe, and I couldn’t be happier. The woman who urged me to try them on is the same woman who designed them: Daisy Baker, the creator of DaisyCakes Designs. She and I sat down recently to discuss how she came up with the concept for DaisyCakes Designs.
Baker told me she has always had an interest in fashion, specifically of the DIY nature. She started the business in 2015 as she was wrapping up her senior year of college, and the brand took off quickly.
“I spent a lot of time in thrift stores,” Baker said. “I was trying to think of ways to make extra money and decided to start reselling funky vintage clothes I found.” After she graduated with a bachelor’s of science in business administration, she had free time to collect a sufficient amount of clothes to fill a booth at the Flea Off Market held in Nulu.
Baker recalled, “I loved the idea of finding one-of-a-kind pieces that no one else had. It inspired me to try making some of my own.” After experimenting with different types of denim customization (e.g. cutting, bleaching and painting) and then buying a tie-dye kit, she decided to give it a try.
After dying her first pair of leggings, Baker put them up for sale on Etsy, the e-commerce website focused on handmade and vintage items.
“They sold within a couple of days, and I had a message from that customer asking when I would be making more,” she said. After ordering 10 more pairs of white leggings and dyeing them, crop tops followed, then T-shirts, skirts, scarves, socks and fantastical wall tapestries.
Baker explained, “I will never forget the feeling I had when I opened up my first tie-dyed tapestry; it was absolutely magical.” This encouraged her to continue participating in the Flea Off Market, and she said the support of those customers along with the community of other artists, “have gifted me with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.”
In March 2017, Baker took the business a step further by creating an official DaisyCakes logo and custom tags. The logo is an original drawing of an adorable alien woman, which she said is a self-portrait. Baker smiled as she described traditional tie dye and what is signifies. “When most people think of tie-dye, images of the ’60s come to mind,” she said. “During the Vietnam War, tie-dye was a way to promote peace and encourage freedom of expression. My work is a nod to the psychedelic era – a modern reinvention.” Her latest marketing idea was to include a pair of 3D glasses with every purchase in order to further enhance the visual experience.
Her process involves folding the fabric and tying it into place so that it will create a kaleidoscopic pattern after it’s been processed in the dye. Ice is utilized to allow the dye to disperse randomly through the fabric. The resulting kaleidoscopic patterns are reminiscent of Rorschach inkblot tests. Baker refers to them as “seek-and-finds.” What she really loves about the process is that it is serendipitous – she controls the pattern and color to some extent, but ultimately the ice does what it wants.
As she moves forward with DaisyCakes, it is important to Baker that the brand is relatable to a wide variety of people. “I want them to feel good wearing it, regardless of their size, race, gender, age, etc. Just as each one of my garments are uniquely beautiful, so are the people wearing them.” VT