Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Giving Thanks and Rowdy Roots (and I'm not talking about my hair!)

I'm not sure if it's Thanksgiving approaching or the upcoming 5th anniversary of Rowdy Maui, but lately I've been in a very thankful and countin' my blessings kinda mood. If you had told me 6 years ago, this is where I'd be....we probably would have laughed you out of town.
We're not originally from Rockport, and I'm okay with that. I grew up in the same north Texas town my parents and grandparents grew up in. 
Born freeeeeee
The coast was not new to me, we had been visiting here since I was little. We moved here my senior year of high school, and I finished school online through Texas Tech so we could focus on the store.
We had a bit of a rough start, and although I won't go into details, let's just say we learned an awful lot awful quickly. I'm not asking for any sympathy or pity me's, in fact that's been our premise all along- hellbent on making it on our own.
Anyways, back to the beginning....
We weren't always Rowdy Maui. At first, we were My Fair Mermaid.
I had full hopes and dreams of supporting OTHER independent clothing companies, but after being shot down by numerous ones due to our inexperience and lack of other "labels" in our shop, we were scrambling for ideas. Now, Mom's always been an artist. As long as I can remember, she's always been painting or crafting something. In fact, she used to do tons of craft shows to make extra money to make our Christmas mornings extra special. If she had to stay up all night to make sure we got all the things in the Toys R US catalog we circled, by golly she did and she did it damn well. (Not to say Daddy didn't do his part, both kicked their asses to make sure we had a good life) 
Don't let the sweet smiles fool you...

So mom picked up her paint brush again and started making a few things for the shop, and she basically suggested I do the same. It was sink or swim, and with our limited expenses and still completely new to this whole retail world, I began my own jewelry line called Junky Couture. Yes, I realize now how completely boring and lame that name is, but at the time it was so cool. I used vintage cracker jack charms, old jewelry, fishing lures, and other random junk, anything I could find and strung them all together and it was well received. 



Throughout that time I switched names two more times--From Junky Couture to Better Blonde to Local Honey....still nothing just stuck. In the meantime, Mom and I were collaborating on painted items. We did signs, crosses, mini guitars, etc etc. I still wanted to carry clothing, but couldn't find a line that just really stood out to me. And of course, RowdyMama and her genius said "if you can't find what you want, then you make it." So, I did. 
It started with handpainted tshirts with matching handmade and handpainted tags under the name Rowdy Maui. 

The name derives from our Texas roots (Rowdy) and our love for all things tropical (Maui). A collaboration of our southern pride mixed with our newly saltwater souls. I started out with just a couple of designs, and had the name plastered huge on the back. Each piece of wearable art was just $42 each on American Apparel tees. I started doing jeans, LOTS of jeans. I had one lady bring in over 30 pairs to be custom done to resale elsewhere. Then after being given a pair of cowboy boots free at a garage sale, I started jazzing them up. First, it was just for myself because I couldn't afford one of the fancier brands. (Again--RowdyMama's logic "make it yourself!") Our shop was still My Fair Mermaid but the Rowdy Maui label had taken off on it's own.
It wasn't until a good year later that we moved to a bigger location next door and just totally became Rowdy Maui. At this time, the tees were still individually hand painted, the jeans were flying off the shelves, and we still didn't carry any big name labels. 
Soon the demand for the tees was too much, I couldn't get them done in time or have enough to set up in the shop, so we made them more accessible both for us and for our customers and started them on regular tees, then tank tops, and finally settling on our classic burnout tees. 
And now.....we are available in over 30 boutiques nation wide and the RM family is growing every month.
Dusty Diamonds Boutique in Huntsville TX banner with models featuring several of our tees

Our designs are still by us. Every Rowdy tee is still a piece of art made by the same artist who sat behind a faux tiki booth and painted your tshirts for you while you shopped. In fact, many of our designs are still composed from my original paintings and drawings, and if anyone ever wants to argue I'd be glad to hand over my sketchbooks. 

"The Outlaw" transformation. Pencil drawing to tee design, straight from the sketchbook.

Now, I've never claimed to be the first girl to make tshirts, let's make that clear right now. But I do pour my heart and soul into my work, and strive hard to make things that I am proud to stand by and call my work. I'm stubborn as a mule and set in my ways, and couldn't lie if I tried, so you better believe that I wouldn't dare claim something that isn't mine.  
I'm proud of where we are today, but way more damn proud of WHAT we are.

We're a family based, small town, close-knit, southern fried, best friend and mama-daughter team with one hell of a support system and even though we're still hellbent to make it on our own, we'd be nowhere without the love and support of our family, friends, and fans. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for your kind words of encouragement, your purchases, and continued support of this crazy kid's dreams! I am so blessed and thankful beyond words for everything and for what's yet to come....and let me tell you, there is some BIG stuff brewin' here these days! As always, thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings! Lots of love from Rowdyville! XOXO

7 comments:

  1. GREAT post my sweet friend! You should be PROUD!! Keep on keepin' on with your AWESOME selves!! Much RoWdY love sent yalls way!!

    -Heather
    Http://buckupbaby.blogspot.com

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  2. Great story. I think I need to make a special trip to Rockport!

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  3. Congrats on all of your success! All of your hard work has paid off & will continue to pay off! I love my Rowdy Maui t & hope to add more things in my future, (especially a painted pair of boots)!!!

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  4. Congrats! I've seen your facebook page and I really want to make a road trip just to see the place/shop. Such a motivation your post because I just opened my own store and things are NOT easy. Once again Congrats!!

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  5. I love your boots & tee's! So cute!! I also love that yall are close-knit southern family! Congratulations on all your success!

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  6. Thanx for sharing your story! I love it! And I love your creativity! Keep working hard at your dreams! You are already a success! The rest is the icing on the cupcake! :)

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  7. Hi Kacie,
    Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog, I really appreciate it!
    I just checked your blog and figured out that you are the one who makes these awesome boots i've seen a long time ago and fell in love with! They are the coolest boots ever!
    Will be following for more interesting posts =)
    Happiest new year x

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