Working with family isn't always the easiest thing, otherwise, everyone would do it. And this is coming from someone who works with family every day. I love getting to do so, but it takes a special kind of relationship to be able to work closely with a family member, let alone own a business together. I say all of this so that when you learn that Phoebe and Lauren Pinkstone create magic with their accessory brand, Deer Arrow, you know that they have something special going on.
Deer Arrow specializes in all kinds of jewelry, but what they're known for is their brooches. Seeing them, it's easy to wonder why anyone ever stopped making brooches as much they used to. The ones that Lauren and Phoebe are pure works of art, and while they're perfect for adding an extra bit of flair to an outfit, it also wouldn't be surprising if anyone were to just display these in their home as decoration. Each one has so much detail, it's enough to make any plain dress or sweater become elevated in an instant. Reading the sisters' answers, I was so touched to see how their brand came about, and I'm in awe of the amount of passion they pour into running their business together and connecting with their customers. Enjoy getting to know them!
My pick: it's sold out (rightfully so), but I can't get over Gem the Corgi! My favorite one you can still nab for yourself, though, has to be the Icypole Trio - perfect for spring and summer! Or perfect for pretending like you can go to the pool if we're still under quarantine by the time summer rolls around.
Q: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of starting your business? What made you want to do this and how did you turn your art into a business?
A: Deer Arrow was created from a hugely sad and negative event in our lives. Our Mother was diagnosed with cancer. Although this news was hugely devastating for our family, as many people know and have experienced. We turned this negative into a positive. So we created Deer Arrow, by combining our love of vintage and quirky and it allowed us to work from home and therefore also be there, right by our Mum’s side. Giving all of us a positive life change. And don’t worry, our Mum is in remission, against huge odds and with all her positivity. Also we think her love for Deer Arrow, even had something to do with it. She has always been ours and Deer Arrow’s number 1 fan. And now an integral part of our business. Both her and Dad are!
Q: What was your first product to take off or find enough success that you were encouraged to do more?
A: It would have been our Happily Ever After Snow Globe Brooch, we released these in mid 2015 and at that time they were a completely new concept, that we hadn’t seen be done ever before. The concept was a brooch in the form of a snowglobe.
Q: I love that you’re a family-run business! What are the pros and cons of working with your family?
A: The pros of working with family is that we get to see each other so often. We are a super close family, so we have a lot of fun at work! The cons are probably the same as the pros, we see a lot of each other! So like most families, we can have little family arguments, but it always gets resolved quite quickly. We also have to be mindful of spending quality time together, outside of work.
Q: How long did it take you to transition this into a full-time endeavor?
A: We had both stopped working after we found out Mum was sick, so we went into Deer Arrow full-time right away, we never dreamed it would be as big as it is today.
Q: How do you usually decide which ideas to turn into designs?
A: We all discuss our ideas together and sometimes we will do sketches of them and explain how we want them to look as brooches. We all choose our favourite ideas and then Lauren will digitally design them and make some tweaks along the way. And once we have laser cut and assembled the finished product, we all finalise and still make changes to the design. This can lead to some family feuds, haha, but all in fun!
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about how you use Instagram and influencers to help grow the business?
A: Instagram and influencers have been a massive part of growing our business. We announce all our releases on our Instagram page and it allows us to interact with our customers. Influencers have really helped us to reach new audiences, as we have grown.
Q: If you could change one thing about running a small business if you could, what would it be?
A: We are continually changing and learning new ways of business. We believe this is a very important part of running and having a small business. We are always thinking of ways we can change, to achieve our business goals. For example, we are trying to change as much as we possibly can, to be more environmentally friendly at the moment. By changing all our packaging to recycled or completely compostable. And we have always strived and continue to be ethically sourced and made. As we are and we hope our small family run business, will always be Handmade in Australia.
Q: Favorite item in your shop currently?
A: Phoebe: Billie the Bilby Brooch
Lauren: Patch the Pug Brooch
Q: What goals do you have for your business going forward?
A: We would love to continue to grow and expand our business. By one day, expanding our product range and hopefully having a warehouse. Which would also allow us to hold events/open days for our awesome customers!
Q: Lastly, let’s spread the love. What are a few of your favorite small shops owned by women that you personally shop from?
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