Updated: Aug 19, 2022
Besides the hand-dyed apparel and accessories, graphic tees, tote bags, dog bandanas, stickers, window clings and watercolor greeting cards at Carly Rae’s booth, you’ll notice something else that’s colorful and creative there: the name of her business.
How did she decide to call it A Rae of Design? “Multiple people have called me a ray of light or sunshine throughout my life, so my business name plays off my middle name, ‘Ray of Sunshine’ or ‘Rae of Design,’” Carly explains. “I also offer many types of art so it’s also playing off ‘array’ with ‘A Rae’”.
Carly spent four years taking custom orders and building her business before getting her license one and a half years ago. The seeds of A Rae of Design, however, were planted years ago. “I’ve been an artist ever since I was a little kid and had a dream to sell my art and actually be profitable. After pursuing fine arts in high school through classes and clubs, I attended The Art Institute of Seattle. I went for fashion marketing and merchandising, covering everything it takes to build a brand and a retail store, including the business side of things. I minored in graphic design. After college, I got a job as a graphic designer and production artist at a sign shop, while also getting contracts for brand building and store creation,” Carly says.
Rather than offering wall hangings, Carly found a way to make her art more accessible, and therefore more profitable, by creating hand-dyed wearable art, custom decals and greeting cards for people to share with others. “I also want to build a multimedia studio one day and specialize in many areas of craft and creation, and you have to start somewhere. I was in a place in my life where I had more time to build a collection and a website, whereas before I worked full time and hardly got anything done on my days off.”
Carly creates her designs close to home. “My backyard is where I do my dyeing and my home studio is where I do the rest of my artwork. I like being home and not having to leave to work on anything, but I’ve always dreamed of having a studio and it’d be nice to not have piles of product in the corners of my home,” she says.
In addition to the farmers’ market, Carly sells her dyed shirts and dog bandanas at Naturally 4 Paws in Silverdale. Doing business in Kitsap County is both challenging and rewarding. Carly says, “There are lots of tourists and visitors so I don’t get many custom-order sales, plus cities are spread out so many people stay in their hometown. It’s still a somewhat small community and I’ve gotten sales from word of mouth.” She adds, “I’ve gotten ‘so you’re the tie dye girl!’ a few times. Catching someone wearing my clothes out in public is really gratifying.”
If you’re thinking of starting a new small business in Kitsap County, Carly offers these words of well-earned wisdom: “Know your community and what sells, as well as know what price points to use. Don’t underestimate yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.” And perhaps a lesson for all of us: “Life’s got to move on somehow, might as well try something new in the process!”
Visit her website at http://www.raeofdesign.com/
Thank you Stephanie Ray with Precision Sharpening for volunteering to write up our vendor spotlights!