Today’s introduction is long overdue, as Dottie M. Designs has a very special place in my heart due to the owner / creative entrepreneur behind it all, Rachel Steele. She was the first retail professional (who didn’t know me personally) that supported and encouraged this passion project of mine that you are reading right now. Rachel also became one of my first clients, but has since turned into a friend. One who I very much admire and will forever root for due to her heart and talent.
The thing about Rachel is this – she has no idea how awesome she is (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). Dottie M. Designs is technically a destination for all things embroidery - but the quality, turn around time, and customization that Rachel offers is significantly stronger than most of her competition. Which I know sounds a bit bold, but I mean it to. Her attention to detail across every product category is significant - from robes and aprons to buckets and towels. Making your wedding, home, or holiday a bit more personal is what Rachel's journey is all about, and I am fortunate to have seen the quality and love she puts into her designs first hand.
My hope is that this blog post provides a glimpse of Rachel’s creative passion that’s a bit unique and definitely inspiring. She is incredibly kind, hardworking, and accommodating as a business owner (which isn’t always easy to come by). But in the end, her work speaks for itself and I want nothing more than to see her be ridiculously successful.
Please check out a quick Q&A below to learn more about her story and process as an entrepreneur, along with imagery of her work. For a direct link to her website, please click here. You can also find her on Pinterest, IG, and FB.
Lastly, a huge thank you to Rachel for letting me write this article and for the initial support she provided seven months ago. I am forever grateful and wish you nothing but the best my friend. I couldn’t be happier our paths have crossed…
When did you launch your DMD shop / embroidery business?
DMD started five years ago- 2012.
What sparked that initial creativity in you?
Realizing I could digitize letters into embroidery designs was my creative renaissance. I’ve always loved lettering and when I realized I could letter with needle and thread I was read to live in that creative space.
What makes DMD unique in today's marketplace?
We take personalization to the next level by giving our customers a hands on approach in the design process. We have a font collection of over 500 alphabets to choose from and 1,000 different thread colors which have pantone capabilities to match and coordinate to any color palette.
What’s the best part of your job?
I love the design process; no two designs are ever the same. Watching our customers light up when we have captured their exact design vision is also priceless.
As an entrepreneur, what has been your biggest challenge?
Showing the skill and art that goes into designing and stitching something is a challenge. DMD isn’t the regular monogrammer that stitches boiler plate logos. We pay great attention to scale, balance, texture, color and form with our design process, and that’s before we start stitching.
Any advice for fellow creatives looking to launch their own shop?
Trust your vision, but listen to feedback. Your friends and family may not understand your mission, but find those that do.
Which category or product line are you most passionate about?
I’m a foodie and an apron collector. I couldn’t wait to start monogramming and personalizing aprons with a variety of designs and fonts. We take our personalization beyond what you can find in a store with our designs. I really look forward to the holiday orders- which tend to all be custom designed. Last year we made 15 different apron designs and shipped to four different countries.
When you look back on your DMD journey, what makes you most proud?
Early on I perfected my stitch quality and am now asked to stitch in-house for retailers and small fashion designers. It is the ultimate vote of trust to get the call to provide classic embroidery for a seasonal event or an accent piece for a designer gown.
Where can I find you when you are not monogramming?
It’s a toss-up between the kitchen or the airport. I’m combing both loves this year and taking a culinary tour to Toronto in a few weeks and really looking forward to it. I get inspiration out of others peoples place settings and china so I’m scouting restaurants and cafes for amazing venues in my spare time.