Hey y’all! We come to you with another indie brand owner interview! Since these are completely do-able remotely, we really want to try to get some up for you to read and get to know the brand owners more. If you have any specific brand owner you would like to see us interview, please feel free to let us know!
This time around, we interviewed Daniel, the owner of Dandy Lions Co. He makes such beautiful, intricately decorated palettes, they are just stunning. Plus, he offers a huge range of single eyeshadow shades, like seriously every color under the rainbow. So, without further ado, here is the interview!
Note: Images used with permission, and this post is not sponsored. If you like our content and would like to see more, please consider supporting us on Patreon!
IM: What led you to starting Dandy Lions Co. and how did you decide on your name and branding?
Daniel: I guess you could say it began when I got my first eyeshadow palette! I didn’t really start experimenting with makeup until I was around 18. I always loved doing artsy things, but painting and drawing were definitely not in my strong suit. Something about being able to express my creativity through an eyeshadow look just clicked for me! Even when things don’t go as planned, you can always wash it off and try again. 😊
Eventually my curious mind stumbled upon indie brands, and the idea of being able to make my own makeup was mind blowing! I started out just making highlighters for myself and a few friends. They eventually encouraged me to try and sell my products, and I am so grateful that they did. Lots of research and trial and error later, Dandy Lions was born! The name was actually thought of by one of my really good friends during a beach day meetup. My friends were jokingly thinking of a way to have ‘Dan’ in the name, and eventually after many corny jokes later Dandy Lions was spurted out (Thanks Lakayla!), and I have been in love with the name ever since!
IM: You sell on Etsy, which we have heard many negative things about regarding brand owners and their experiences with the platform. Can you speak about your own experience with Etsy and what some pros and cons are about it? Do you plan on moving off of it?
Daniel: I think Etsy is a great place for starting a business. It gave me a platform when I didn’t know where to begin, which I found to be the hardest part! Website fees can be very intimidating, especially when you have no consistent income and put most of your profits back into your product. Etsy also has its own marketplace of an audience that I think is very important for growing your clientele in early stages. But it’s also important to make sure to reach out to others on your own through social media such as Instagram, Facebook, etc.
That being said, I definitely believe Etsy has some downfalls. One that most people are aware of are the relentless fees. These are going to start increasing, too, as Etsy rolls out Offsite Ads, which many sellers are unable to opt out of. While advertising is very nice, I think it’s important to give shop owners the choice of the matter. There are quite a few restrictions when it comes to designing your shop page as well. I believe we should have more artistic expression on how our shopfront looks to help ourselves stand out! I will always appreciate Etsy for helping me grow my business, but I am finally reaching a point where I am ready to open my own website and have that freedom of sharing my true image for Dandy Lions. 😊
IM: What is your process for creating palettes? Are you going to be releasing palettes for each new season?
Daniel: When I start envisioning a palette, first comes a theme! I have TONS of ideas that I want to make into palettes, but to start I had to narrow it down to be more relevant to all and not just my nerdy self. After the theme comes lots and lots of color planning. This includes tons of arm swatches, comparisons, and, of course, opinions from others ALWAYS help when I can’t decide between colors. After the color story is just right, then comes the palette decorating which is my favorite part. 😊 It’s always a nice break from pressing eyeshadows! As for the rest of the seasons, I have not fully decided whether to make more palettes or to take a little break and work on something new. I would love to explore more packing options and product formulas along the way, but I will have some more palettes coming out this year for sure!
IM: Can you describe your process for decorating your palettes? They are always so stunning! Why do you find it important to match the packaging to your theme (which I love!)?
Daniel: After creating the theme comes gathering the materials, which proved to be MUCH harder for my Spring palette then my Winter palette. Finding all of the same flowers was quite a challenge, not to mention all the different flowers to choose from to begin with! I actually went into each palette with a set vision on how I wanted them to look which made things easier; it was more of a matter of if I could make my vision a reality. I want my palettes to stand out so I think it’s so important for the theme to match the packaging. Starting out as an indie brand, our options are very limited for packaging due to our budget. I love being able to put my own personal touch on my palettes as it means they are a bit unique and made with lots of love! 😊
IM: You have so many different eyeshadow shades! (105, right? And omg, so many stunning ones. Tangy has my heart!) How did you develop your range and what is the process of creating a color for you?
Daniel: About 116 including multichromes! 😀 One of the things I’ve learned is that a lot of people come to indies for specific singles so I felt it was very important to focus on expanding my shade range as much as possible. I am very happy with my base formulas so there is not much tweaking between shades, more so just mixing the right color. I am always experimenting and trying new color blends and only have plans to expand my collection more and more!
IM: You used to have liquid lipsticks! Are you planning on bringing those back? Why or why not? (I, for one, would love a nice red orange…)
Daniel: This is also something I have been on the fence about! While I enjoyed making lipsticks at the time, I do not think I had as much passion with them as I do with my eyeshadows and highlighters. They tended to be a little bit more stressful when making, and soooo much messier. I still have lipstick stains on my walls LOL. I do believe I would bring them back in the future, but possibly after some experimentation with new formulas, and maybe with some glosses as well!
IM: What is the product you are most proud of creating? Why? What is your favorite product?
Daniel: The product I am most proud of so far is my Spring Palette! That palette was quite a challenge for me overall so I give myself a little pat on the back. 😊 Thankfully I was able to overcome all the obstacles so to see the finished piece and others using it is just so fulfilling!
However, my favorite product would probably be my newest batch of interference multichromes (Naga, Amphitrite, Aine, Wyvern). I am an absolute sucker for highlighters, so the minute I made color-shifting ones it was a no brainer for me. If you are glow obsessed like me, I highly recommend trying them!
IM: How has social media factored into the growth of Dandy Lions Co.? How do you differentiate your brand from other indies out there? What have you found leads to the most sales for Dandy LionsCo. (ie reviews on Etsy, word of mouth, etc)?
Daniel: Social media has played such a big part in the growth my business, especially Instagram! While it was a slow start, Instagram is such a great way to connect with customers and promote your own business without paying for advertising. I have found that nowadays most of my traffic is coming from Instagram, too, which I never would have expected when I first started, but I am so grateful! While Facebook is a good place to find an audience, too, I have personally found that Instagram has worked the best in my favor.
IM: Where do you see Dandy Lions Co. going in the future? What are your plans for growth?
Daniel: I absolutely love what I do and I hope to be able to run my brand for a long, long time! I see so many big indie brands out there doing amazing and it’s such an inspiration to me to keep going and eventually I can be on the same playing field. I have so many products I want to make and palettes I want to design. 😊 My next steps are to open up my own website and extend into some PR which I think will be so exciting! I am so grateful to have such supportive customers and friends that I’ve made along the way and I look forward to what the future holds! ^_^
There you have it! We are so glad we could interview Daniel, his brand has grown so much and we can’t wait to see what future palettes he creates; his color stories are always so well though-out.
Who would you like to see us interview next? Let us know in the comments! We hope you are all staying safe during this time.