Dani sits cross legged on several different of her wallpaper designs laid out on the floor. She is also holding rolls of several of her wallpaper designs in her hands. She is wearing a bright geometric jumpsuit and looking up at the camera and smiling.
Dani with some of the wallpaper designs in her Spoonflower shop.

Career trajectories these days can include a lot of twists and turns. So how do you know when to move on to the next thing? As an artist who has pivoted her career multiple times, Dani Dazey shares how she knew it was the right time to make a change, about getting the HGTV gig designing the Trixie Motel, her process for designing her first wallpaper collection and what’s helped grow her career the most. Looking to pivot in your own career? She also gives her top tips for anyone else wanting to do the same!

Dani lays on the floor on top of some of her graphic tee shirts. She is looking up at the camera and smiling.
Dani with some of the apparel she designed for her apparel line Dazey LA.

From Working For Others to Working For Herself 

Choosing a Major and Working Corporate Jobs 

Dani: I loved interior design and loved fashion design but thought I had to pick one. I ended up going to school for fashion design and got an internship with a t-shirt company. I always loved artwork but didn’t think being an artist was a viable career, and ended up really enjoying the medium of creating apparel graphics. You’re doing art but it also goes on clothes—I figured it was a way that I could have two things I really love in one career. 

I started getting into print and apparel graphic design. I worked a ton of corporate jobs where I was designing clothes for Urban Outfitters and Macy’s and also worked for Hot Topic and Torrid.

An iPad lays on a pink surface next to a pink pillow. On the iPad screen is the beginning of a Forbes article about Dani, with a photo of her wearing a shirt that says “Do the Damn Dream.” The headline of the article is “Why Thousands of Customers Pay $52 for These T-shirts.”
In May 2019, Forbes wrote an article about the success of Dazey LA.

Finding the Courage to Launch a Clothing Line

I ended up getting a job with a start-up denim brand. That was the first time I had a non-corporate job where I was really able to do more than just my one task all day. I did the social media, photography, got to design the actual denim as well as the t-shirts, prints and stuff like that. It was a very cool way for me to learn all these other skills that I had and really build my confidence and see what it is like to launch a clothing line. It finally gave me the courage to launch my own clothing line, which had always been a dream but seemed more like a pipe dream than a real possible thing.  

I was going through the motions on someone else’s dime and realized, ‘Hey, I can do this, why am I doing this for someone else when I can do it for myself?’ Something I always ran into working for other people was really having a vision that not everyone could see or understand and feeling like my creativity was stifled. I had this idea where I wanted to make this bold, happy, vintage-inspired art-driven clothing line. So I launched Dazey LA out of my studio apartment with just my savings and started sharing it on social media. I found influencers in Los Angeles who were down to do photoshoots with me and would tag each other and started to build the brand from that, super grassroots. 

Growing Dazey LA and Community on Social Media

Then I started to share my design process on social media. When Instagram Stories launched I shared my behind the scenes of running the business. With a background in graphic design, I was able to make the company look way more legit than a 20-something girl with her brand. So people who were following the brand already thought it was a bigger thing than it was. When I started to share my behind the scenes on Stories a lot less curated, people were like that’s so cool.

I loved the design process and was very open with my audience and built a relationship with them. I got them excited about bold design and designing products and things people feel connected to and really love and care about. It started to get more successful and I was able to buy my first home in Palm Springs. 

Dani holds an iPad featuring a mock up of a bedroom with her designs on the bedspread, pillows and wallpaper. Several wallpaper designs, one on a swatch with a dark purple repeating floral and one on a roll with a thick yellow and brown design, are underneath the iPad. The mocked-up room features both those designs in a yellow and dark purple room.
A mock up of a bedroom featuring two of Dani’s designs, Diamond Bouquet – Purple and Gold and Bold Stripe – Gold and Purple.

Making a Home in the Crossover of Fashion and Interior Design 

I still always loved interior design. There’s so much crossover between the fashion and home interiors world … When I was first able to design my own space, I made it feel very bold, colorful and print driven, similar to my clothing line—with color and pattern being the through line between everything that I do. People really responded to it and started reaching out to me, asking if I was taking on interior design clients. And I was like, ‘Why not?’ 

“I realized it made more sense for me to do these partnerships where I had brands and people to support the production and creation and I got to be the creative person, instead of in charge of all the behind-the-scenes stuff as well … And luckily print design is perfect for clothing and interiors.”

Building a clothing line out of nothing empowered me to realize you can do things that you think you can’t do. So I was like, ‘Sure, I take on clients!’ I started doing other projects and posting them, and people were loving how it was a different fresh take on interiors. With my knowledge of color and pattern in an area like fashion, I was able to bring that into home interiors. 

I feel like I had a different approach in the way I look at designing a space where it’s like putting together an outfit or designing a collection. I take it a lot less seriously than I feel some people do, as I’m so playful with it … It started to pull me more and more in that direction.  

A bright colorful living room filled with Dani’s designs. Two chairs are covered in a scalloped design, and a large yellow couch with green pillows sits in front of two large windows. A large painting by Dani of two people is between the windows.
Dani’s living room featuring wallpaper in Deco Peacock – Multi Moody and chairs upholstered in Deco Peacock – Coral, Pink & Green. The painting on the wall is also by Dani.

Pivoting from Fashion Design to Interior Design 

Following the Opportunity

I was balancing it all for a while, for a good few years. That was fun. But then the interior and content creation stuff started to take over with a lot of licensing opportunities, like with Spoonflower. I realized it made more sense for me to do these partnerships where I had brands and people to support the production and creation and I got to be the creative person, instead of in charge of all the behind-the-scenes stuff as well … And luckily print design is perfect for clothing and interiors. 

So I still get to do that, which I care about so much. And the opportunity to design wallpaper and all this fun stuff with Spoonflower, it’s already in my world and in my wheelhouse. It ended up becoming a pretty smooth transition. I’m still doing licensing stuff in a clothing capacity but it’s just the production and the day to day, I couldn’t do all of the things, as hard as I tried.  

Ceasing Production with Dazey LA 

I found as much as I loved the clothing line, eventually it wasn’t as fruitful financially as it once was. My interior design and social media careers were starting to become extremely fruitful, so I had to make a decision about where I was going to put my energy. I love both equally. But this new direction is now the breadwinner of my life. I’m kind of excited to have a fresh new career. I love change, and to be an entrepreneur is to be open to change. 

Sometimes you’re being pulled in a different direction. I held on to the clothing line and did it as long as I could, but it stopped making as much sense. I feel like I gave myself enough time. I kept it going maybe even a little longer than I should have because I was so emotionally attached to it. It was so much a part of my identity… I made peace with it. I love making designs that become tangible things that I get to unpackage and see, and I’m getting a lot of that product design love through these really cool collaborations I’m able to do. It’s satisfying that part of me, for sure.  

Dani and Trixie are peeking out of a door of the Trixie Motel. Dani wears a pink hard hat and tool belt and a colorful jumpsuit. Trixie Mattel is wearing a pink dress.
Dani with Trixie Mattel on the set of the renovation show “Trixie Motel.”

Designing the Trixie Motel

I was contacted by a casting producer for the show “Trixie Motel.” At first I didn’t have any details on the project, except that it was a motel renovation in Palm Springs, which sounded so cool … HGTV did a kind of virtual screen test because I got cast in the middle of COVID and you couldn’t go in in person. We basically did a Zoom meeting where they asked a bunch of questions; it was recorded and sent to the higher ups. And I asked one of the casting directors, ‘How did you guys find me? Like, how can I keep doing this?’ He said I had been on the HGTV radar for a few years unbeknownst to me, and they had brought me up for potentially being a designer on a few projects. 

I was apparently too colorful, you know? Then when this project came around, they were like, ‘Hit up the colorful girl.’ I think they found me through my sharing on social media. 

Designing Dylan Mulvaney’s Home

I met Dylan Mulvaney the day before she started [her series] Days of Girlhood. We were both signed with the same talent agency. We met at a holiday party and she was so lovely … I followed her after we met that night and the very next day she did Day One of Days of Girlhood, which I thought was so cool. We’ve been texting, following each other, seeing each other at mutual events for this management company we were with. When she got her own spot, there was no question that she wanted me to design it, because we already had that rapport and our styles are so similar. It’s kind of funny how that one came about. I feel like I got really lucky to have met her before she became like, so, so, so famous for sure. 

In Dylan’s home we used Spoonflower’s Peel and Stick wallpaper because the quality of y’all’s stuff is always so good and we needed a renter-friendly option! 

Dani is laying on top of several unrolled rolls of wallpaper and throw pillows, all featuring her designs, laid out on the floor. She is wearing a bright geometric jumpsuit and smiling and has her eyes closed.

Why She Chose to Open a Spoonflower Shop 

Playing the Long Game 

Being in the design world, I’m sourcing stuff online constantly. I find things through social media and Google searches and I’d known about Spoonflower for years. We talked to lots of potential wallpaper collaborators because my management team knew wallpaper could be a really big category for me as people are asking me about it all the time.  

We were really patient, talked to a lot of people and played the long game, looking for the right people to work with… I just knew Spoonflower was the right brand. I feel like Spoonflower carries weight to it. People respect it, know that it’s a quality product and they really are all about highlighting the artists. That’s huge for me as somebody who’s been an artist for so many years and had my stuff knocked off by corporate companies.

 I’ve been very much treated like a cog in the wheel designing for larger companies. Big, well-known companies that care so much about the artists and really give credit to artists are hard to come by. That felt like a perfect match for me to work with Spoonflower. We talked to a lot of people, a lot of different wallpaper companies and people who were interested in working with us. Spoonflower just felt like the right fit—we pulled the trigger and people were so excited. 

Dani kneels on the floor next to wallpaper that has been rolled on to the floor. She is holding a triangle ruler in her left hand and looking up at the camera. The wallpaper features a design with mauve flowers inside large squiggly diamonds on a purple background.
Dani preparing to install wallpaper featuring her Diamond Bouquet – Purple & Gold design.

How Dani Created Her Wallpaper Collection 

Using Designs She Already Had On Hand 

I have years and years of designing prints for my clothing line and some all-time best sellers I knew people would want. So I was like, ‘I think I need to turn these designs into wallpaper.’ On “Trixie Motel,” I got to design custom wallpaper for every room theme and people really loved particular prints. I took that into consideration because people were trying to get those designs and I also wanted to do some new prints and new recoloring. 

Trying New Things

With the new prints, I’ve been super into the idea of traditional with a twist. I love the vintage styles that are coming back, there’s almost this new maximalist, almost Gilded Age feel. I feel like people are really sick of plain minimalist interiors, farmhouse and all of that. 

“I feel like Spoonflower carries weight to it. People respect it, know that it’s a quality product and they really are all about highlighting the artists. That’s huge for me as somebody who’s been an artist for so many years and had my stuff knocked off by corporate companies.”

So there’s this sort of maximalist resurgence and a lot of cool, Art Deco arts and crafts—gaudy is not the right word—but highly decorative and highly intricate. I wanted to take some inspiration from these eras where design was super ornate, but also make it feel fresh and new. A lot of the prints I did just for this collaboration were this traditional-with-a-twist thing where I did something like took a traditional scalloped print and put my funky abstract twist on it. 

I love abstract art. My grandmother was an abstract artist so I’ve always been into that. I also love having designs that feel really hand drawn, more personal and less manufactured. So my Spoonflower wallpaper designs are very loose and hand drawn but still traditional; I love the juxtaposition of those two things. 

Dani stands in front of a wall featuring her wallpaper that has a scallop design in peach, green and white. She is wearing a dress sewn from fabric with the same design and is smiling.
Dani wearing a dress sewn with fabric printed in her Deco Peacock – Coral, Pink & Green design in front of a wall featuring the same design on wallpaper.

How Dani Creates Her Designs 

Since I have like a background in graphic design, for the longest time I was like you got to use the Adobe® suite or you’re not a real designer. I would do a lot of stuff by hand, then vectorize the design and mess around in Adobe® Illustrator® and Adobe® Photoshop®. But I’ve really embraced Procreate and tablets and have been doing a lot of stuff in there. After working in Procreate, I always bring designs into Photoshop or Illustrator, then tweak and finalize them in those programs.

But there’s something very natural and intuitive about having a pen on a surface that you can see. I’ve been using a lot of Procreate, which is so fun. It’s very cool and cheaper than the Adobe suite … I like that it’s a much lower barrier to entry and people are able to explore their creativity and become more creative, better artists.  

Several wallpaper rolls have been unrolled and laid out on the floor. Pillows and unrolled wallpaper rolls are also lying on the rolled-out wallpaper rolls. The designs on both the wallpaper and pillows are bright and cheery, most with pink tones. The photograph has been taken from the top of a ladder, the legs of which are visible on the left-hand side of the photo.
A look behind the scenes at Dani’s wallpaper photoshoot.

What She’s Done to Grow Her Career the Most 

Not being afraid to put my work out there, even when I’m a beginner at something. Like when I was first doing interiors and sharing the dirty, nitty gritty process, the hard behind-the-scenes moments, the trust-the-process moments where it’s not looking so good. I think that made a deep connection with my audience, being really real and really open. It also let me fail along the way and become better and put myself out there at the same time.

“Imagine if I would have been so steadfast on being @graphicteegirl forever. That was how I was branding myself at the time and trying to get freelance jobs. I could do a lot of things, but I was like, ‘This is my niche.’ I feel like if I would have stayed that hellbent on it I would have missed out on all these amazing opportunities and pivots.” 

The Scariest Thing About All These Pivots 

The scariest part for me has been my identity as a designer. For so long, I was the t-shirt designer. In the beginning, my Instagram handle was @graphicteegirl. I took that on as a whole persona. Then I started to explore print design and I was like, ‘Oh, I can do that.’ Then it was, ‘Wait, I really love this!’ Then my persona and identity turned to being a fashion and print designer with my own clothing line. And now I’m shedding that identity.  

Not attaching too much of your self worth to these things that you do will help you have the freedom to pivot when you need to and not be crushed or sad about it. Even though I gave myself some time to mourn not producing my own clothes anymore, I feel like I have a healthy relationship now with change and it not having to be my whole personality and who I am … Imagine if I would have been so steadfast on being @graphicteegirl forever. That was how I was branding myself at the time and trying to get freelance jobs. I could do a lot of things, but I was like, ‘This is my niche.’ I feel like if I would have stayed that hellbent on it I would have missed out on all these amazing opportunities and pivots.  

Dani sits on a small table in front of a painting of hers featuring three people in blue, mauve and pink. The painting is hung on a wall in the middle of a large painted pink circle. Dani is holding a paintbrush parallel to her chin and looking at the camera.
Throughout her career, Dani has expanded her creative skillset and followed where it takes her.

Dani’s 3 Tips for Pivoting Your Own Career 

1. Stay open minded.

Constantly remain open minded. A good example is when I thought Procreate was not a program legit enough to use as a serious designer. And then after hearing friends of mine who are designers say, ‘Dani, you need to try it, I think you’d really like it,’ I started messing around with it and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I love this! Why was I so closed off to it?’  
And you learn over the years that you need to always stay open to new experiences and not get stuck in your ways. Like with posting on TikTok. I waited so long to do that and then when I did, I ended up loving it and it’s ended up being an amazing platform for me. And you learn, okay, I need to always be open minded and see how I can use these new tools and things to help my career. And also to be open minded to what’s working and what’s not working and try not to be too stubborn and follow where you’re being pulled.

2. Don’t limit yourself.

Another thing I’ve learned being an entrepreneur is to not limit yourself. So many of the things you think you can’t do are just these self-imposed limits we arbitrarily decided that, ‘Oh, you can’t be a fashion designer and an interior designer.’ I learned that you can be many things, you know? And starting my own business, I had to wear many hats. That kind of gave me the freedom and understanding that you can do multiple things. it’s okay to give yourself permission to explore other things. You don’t have to have the same career forever and so much of that has to do with your mindset. 

3. Don’t forget to explore.

Give yourself permission to explore.

Swatches of Dani’s wallpaper designs have been laid down on a green floor. The swatches are 2’ x 1’ in size and feature a range of brightly colored florals, abstracts, scallops and more.
Swatches from Dani’s wallpaper collection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find Dani’s Spoonflower shop?  
You can find Dani’s Spoonflower shop here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/dani_dazey.
Where can I find Dani elsewhere online?
See more of Dani’s work on Instagram @danidazey. For additional links, please see this Linktr.ee page: https://linktr.ee/danidazey.
How can I open my own Spoonflower shop?
Find out how to sell your own work on Spoonflower at the following link: https://support.spoonflower.com/hc/en-us/articles/204444520-Selling-Your-Designs-at-Spoonflower.

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