Welcome to 2021 with Goddess Directory! After a short holiday break, we're back, ready to tackle the new year, and more invigorated to share new small shops + connect with the creators behind them than ever. If there's anything you're looking to see, feel free to send over your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know on Instagram at @goddessdirectory.
One thing that was really important to me in starting this directory was make sure it was inclusive and showcased as many clothing options in extended sizes as possible. Through my searches to find more, I came across Honey's Blowtorch, and I loved that not only was it a brand that catered to all sizes and all genders, but it did so in a way that was incredibly fun and unique. Dresses, tops, bags, and more are mostly sewn from bandanas, and the new collection that's about to drop promises the most dreamy star fabrics you've ever seen.
The creator of the brand, Emoree Heiselt, was kind of enough to talk to me, and I found her story fascinating. Honey's Blowtorch is a fairly new brand, and Emoree's commitment to growing it and keeping her core values front and center is truly impressive. I loved hearing about how the success of one of her items on TikTok motivated her to start her brand and her thoughts on what brands could be doing to be more inclusive. Enjoy!
My pick: I can't get enough of the colorful bandana dresses, and am incredibly excited to see her new Valentine's collection.
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 idea into a reality?
A: Alright I’ll lay it all out for you right here. I’ve been sewing since I was 12. My dad taught me everything I know. I had been on a hot streak making clothes for myself and one clothing item in particular got people interested; my bandana dress. I posted a TikTok one night in August and within two hours it received 67K views which was WAY out of the ordinary for my page. And then the demands came in. People wanted to know where I sold it, where to buy it, when was I opening. I had literally no intention of doing anything other than selling one to my friend Kalar. But my roommate and I sat down and discussed what doing something like this would mean to how we were currently living and she gave me the final push. So that night I didn’t sleep at all. I stayed up the entire time developing my name, my logo, my ethos, and the main garments I was going to make. I made the Instagram, I took product photos of what I had on hand, and then I started the shop. This all happened, quite literally, overnight.
Q: Was there a moment when you felt like this was something that was going to take off and become a success for you?
A: I grew up for a big chunk of my life in Mississippi where the main fashion pieces were North Face jackets and uggs, so my style was foreign to my classmates. When I first posted and set up shop I found people like me who liked what I liked, and when the first review came in with such positive remarks I knew this was for me.
Q: What were your friends and family’s reactions to you starting this as a career or a business? Were you nervous to share it?
A: My family has always known I liked fashion but never thought I had the guts to try something like this. When I told them it was happening they immediately rushed into support mode. The only thing I think they’re concerned about still to this day is the longevity.
Q: Is this your full-time job? If so, how long did it take you to transition into full-time?
A: Actually, this is my ¾-time job now. I just switched to part-time at my current job to focus on Honey’s. I waited about six months because I wanted to make sure I had a cushion saved in the case something happened.
Q: What do you wish you had known when you first started your brand?
A: I wish I had known how much like a relationship running a business was like. You have to constantly be on and awake. Think of it like raising a newborn. This is your child, what are you willing to sacrifice for it?
Q: Obviously, we’re in strange times right now so I have to ask everyone I talk to - how has COVID-19 affected your business and what are you doing to keep everything going during this time? What can people do to support you and others during all of this?
A: I started Honey’s in the middle of COVID-19. I really don’t know what is in store once this is over with. It will be a new normal. All I ask from friends and new friends that if you can’t afford anything just share and repost and save. The more people I can get in touch with the better.
Q: What’s your advice for someone who wants to make their brand more size or gender inclusive?
A: Remember: no body is the same. Someone who is a size XL may have broad shoulders of a 3X. Someone who is a 4X is may not be blessed in the chest at all. LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS. Ask for measurements. Stalk (don’t actually stalk) their socials if you can so you can make sure a petite person isn’t going to be drowned in your garment and that a tall person is actually going to have a maxi-skirt that hits their ankles.
Q: Favorite item in your shop currently?
A: I love everything I make, honestly. I’d say the original dress will always be my favorite because I’ve made it so that it can be customized in over 240 ways i.e. with a different sleeve, neckline, length, or colorway.
Q: What goals do you have for your business going forward?
A: I need help. I can’t do this alone. I want to expand into a 3-4 person operation so I can restock faster and have time to prototype new creations before sending them out into the world versus live adjustments.
Q: Lastly, let’s spread the love. What are a few of your favorite small shops that you personally shop from?
A: I fully understand that I am not proficient in jewelry making so I like to rely on my small business peers for access to original and unique pieces. My friend Michele Dara of Undoubtedly Mad makes the most nostalgic earrings and pins. Her craftsmanship is flawless compared to competitors and she genuinely cares about lifting others up in the small business community.
Another small shop on the rise is Snake Eyes Motel. I reached out to her in November with an idea of collaborating on something and within a few weeks, we found a happy medium that ended up being in this most restock. Her aesthetic is dreamy and delightful. I find myself in the best situations when I wear her work.
Finally, I adore Sew Wasted from the UK. Elysha devotes her time generously to her ‘smocks and frocks’ and is a powerhouse of ideas. She has stood tall through other small businesses plagiarizing her work constantly and has more dignity in her pinky than most people.
Follow along with Emoree:
Shop Honey's Blowtorch
Follow Honey's Blowtorch on Instagram
Follow Honey's Blowtorch on TikTok