Thursday, July 26, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Spotlights

Alysse Dalessandro of Ready to Stare--

I had the great pleasure of meeting Alysse by chance while getting my nails done by Spifster--as any true Chicago fashionista would do.  We sat and chatted, and found out we both have a special love for fashion and fashion in Chicago.

Alysse wearing Green Dino Earrings 
Photo is by Kelley Mullarkey for Majestic Disorder 

I was able to sit down with Alysse again--this time over tasty doughnuts--to chat about her Etsy store and all things fashion.  Here's what she told me:

Alysse came to Chicago from the Cleveland area for college to study journalism.  She planned to write about fashion and even covered the business side of the industry for AOL.  After taking a metalworking class, Alysse knew she'd be able to do something great with her passion for design.  "It was my most influential class in college".  

After finding friends with similar interests, they paired creative talents with business, launching "The Sometimes Store".  Their store was set up in one of their homes, only open sometimes, and had a variety of vintage pieces.  This opened the door for Alysse's ability to shine as a designer.  She gained more exposure to the business side of fashion and was well on her way to creating Ready to Stare
Harness-available by email. Model is Brittany Julious. Photo taken by John Cousert at the Raw Artists Showcase 
Although she loves the Chicago fashion industry, Alysse has also had national exposure through her work for AOL and The Mall, her online shop with everything from Clueless-themed candles to custom accessories.  But, when asked about the Chicago fashion industry, she donned it as "...really nice.  It's not cutthroat, and everyone is willing to work together.  You get the sense of the Midwest love people have and everyone knows we can do this together."    She expressed the importance of the industry "getting somewhere by meeting people and helping each other.  It's all about helping."  Our sentiments here, exactly!
Oversized Circle Ring, available here.  Nails by Spifster

Alysse continued to tell me about linking her artistic talents with business and how she managed to figured out legal particulars.  "The creating piece is second nature, but the business side takes a bit more thinking."  She credits someone she met at The One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart with teaching her about Etsy and keys to marketing her products online.  

Just as she was sure to credit her Etsy mentor, Rebecca George of Purple and Lime, Alysse told me credit was her main challenge with protecting her brand in the market.  "I make sure everything is credited and the credit is mine.  Things show up online everywhere, and if there's no credit noted, people don't know where they can get the products."  She noted being vigilant online is important in keeping her brand safe from copiers and driving customers in the right direction.  

Customers should be coming in her direction, because as you can tell from these pictures, her work is amazing.  She not only has talent, but a unique eye for what she can create.  I asked her how she's making her mark on the Chicago fashion scene, and she confirmed what I already noticed.  "What I'm doing is different.  I try to think outside the box, using traditional metalworks with non-traditional materials and ideas.  I'm always putting things together that don't belong."  

As Alysse continues to make her mark on the industry, nationally and locally, she pointed out the disconnect between local consumers and their hometown designers.  "Local designers are great about working together, but there's a disconnect between consumers and their awareness to buy local."  The unity among designers is comforting to hear, but the gap between them and consumers must be filled.  Chicago has a great fashion industry; it just takes a collective effort to keep pushing it. Surely Ready to Stare is a leader in this effort. 

Camo & Gold Earlace
Model is Rebecca Langley

I felt it was a bit cliche, but I had to ask Alysse what was next for her and Ready to Stare.  She said she wants to "continue to grow organically...grow in boutiques and grow my brand in Chicago.  I'd like to do a fashion show, and eventually have a store."  

We can't wait.

Thanks again to Alysse for her time and contribution.  It was great talking to her, and we're excited about showing more of her creations to you all.
You can follow her on Twitter, and definitely check out her stores:
Ready to Stare - Events, styling, etc.
Ready to Stare Etsy Store 
The Mall

We also appreciate her sparking the idea for our B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Shops Local page....coming soon!!
*If you're interested in being listed, contact us here!

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