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An Interview with Aubree of Fatally Feminine Designs

Ever since I was a child, I naturally gravitated towards an aesthetic that is deemed traditionally feminine, and while I do recognize that gender roles are often unfairly imposed on children and many girls grow up stifling their "boyish" interests, as I aged, I was faced with criticism for my excessively girly aesthetic. As a teenager, in the eyes of my peers, I had outgrown Hello Kitty and the color pink. Although I am very fortunate to have met many friends through my eccentric style, even to this day, I often feel that people don't take me seriously because of the way I dress, because I don't conform to the standards of what society sees as professional and appropriate for certain occasions.

As I was coming to terms with the backlash to my fashion sense, I discovered the Etsy shop Fatally Feminine Designs. I was immediately entranced by the coterie of confections that flooded my computer screen, but once the initial awe of the artistry put into these kawaii charms subsided, I discovered an even more valuable source of inspiration: the owner, Aubree. It wasn't just that she was an absurdly skilled jewelry maker and an exceptional entrepreneur. . It wasn't just that she had an incredible sense of style and so elegantly broke the conventions I was told a "professional adult's" wardrobe had to follow.

 It was that she was both of these things. Observing over the internet someone who fully embraced femininity, someone like me who was also powerful and strong and able to achieve her goals instilled in me a confidence that I am forever grateful to Aubree for. After years of appreciating her from afar, it was a pleasure to be able to communicate with her.

What work are you most proud of?

I would probably have to say the first statement necklace I ever created: The Pink Candy Shop Statement Necklace. It's still available in my shop 5 years later because I love it so much. It was the craziest, most outrageous thing I'd ever made and a completely unique concept. I didn't really expect for it to be very popular because there was nothing like it on the market at the time. But when I posted a bad photo of it on Instagram, everyone went and it was basically what launched my business into a full time job. It was even featured in Cosmopolitan and on an episode of Fuller House. So insane, right!?

Where do you get ideas for your designs?

I've always been inspired by things from my childhood. Growing up in the early 90s, I loved Barbie, pink, Sailor Moon, My Little Pony, Powerpuff Girls, Polly Pocket, Sanrio characters like Kerroppi, Little Twin Stars, Hello Kitty, and Dottie. Since I started my business, inspiration also comes from the Japanese kawaii aesthetic and lifestyle, as well as customers, and of course, food!

Have you ever had a mishap well creating jewelry?

Oh, I've had tons! Creating things can be hazardous. I've burnt myself more times than I can count making polymer clay charms, cut myself with exacto knives, and even had enough talent to spray aerosol adhesive in my eyes once.

If your Etsy shop were a fictional character, who would it be?

Gosh, I have no idea but if I could combine some, I'd say a mix of Alice in Wonderland, Sailor Moon, Hello Kitty, and Gwen Stefani. Or at least that's who I'd be haha ;)

What inspired you to start your own business?

I always wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was young. My grandfather started his own business when he was young, and some of my family still runs it today. I went to business school in college with a focus on entrepreneurship and got to help a lot of local business owners start or grow their companies. It was really inspiring to me but I had no intentions of launching a business when I graduated. I'm super risk adverse by nature so I went into the corporate marketing field for a large jewelry brand. Long story short, it was the worst experience of my life and ended up causing me to spiral into depression. I quit my job, and after searching for months for another one, finally decided to make my art a full time business. No one believed in me except me, but 5 months later my art was earning a full time income.

What has been the best moment since creating your shop?

There has been so many great moments but I'd have to say all of the amazing people and artists I've been able to collaborate with over the years and the friends I've made through sharing my work on social media.

Which food is your favorite to sculpt and why?

Hands down, cakes. I love miniature cakes; they're so adorable! They're a pain in the butt to make, but I just love how they look!

Do you think that your personal style and/or your brand will change at all in the future?

Most definitely. We are always evolving as humans and I never feel like I have it all figured out. I hope there is tons of room for change and growth.

What's the prettiest dessert you've eaten?

Probably my wedding cake or macarons from Paris.

Have you ever themed an outfit around a candy or a dessert?

I usually just wear a lot of food themed things! I have a shirt that has tons of junk food on it that I like wearing with a donut choker I made and a huge gumball machine necklace I made and a Betsey Johnson popcorn purse.

How do you combat the associations people make between femininity and weakness?

I think just by showing people that young women today can wear pink and feminine clothes, maybe even things deemed "too young" and also be an independent business owner, someone who forges their own path and stands on their own two feet, someone who can achieve their goals regardless of how difficult life can get and how much young women and women in general are underestimated. Some of the most feminine women I know are some of the strongest humans I've ever met.

You can check out Fatally Feminine Designs here.


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