Happy Feature Friday!
This week we are featuring Berna Buen of design company, DOTTEDends. Berna creates awesome cement jewelry and housewares. Yes you read that correctly, she creates her pieces using cement! We love how she works with such an industrial material and makes it into something usable, wearable and stylish. To learn more about Berna’s entrepreneurial and creative journey, read on!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: I grew up in a small city off the gulf coast in Texas, Growing up I was a beach child I lived to be in the water, One of my fondest memories is how me and my brothers would swim so far out in the ocean we would land on small islands, you couldn’t see them from shore but the water became shallow again and you could stand or sit on a piece of earth. I eventually moved away to start on my grown up life I went to California, then moved to Austin TX where I got married and started a family before finally settling down in Dallas, TX. I am the proud mother of 2 very strong willed girls, they are a challenge but I cant blame them I know where they got it from.
: How did you start your cement design business, DOTTEDends?
: I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, being exposed to a self taught seem-stress (my grandmother) growing up I saw how she worked hard and for herself and was able to buy a house, a farm, and helped raised me. I knew that when the time and ideas were right that I could have my own business. After years of searching and trying different things, I had finally found something I was passionate about, something that was different and I haven’t turned back.
: How does working with cement differ from other media you’ve worked with?
: Unlike clay that can be molded, Once cement sets it sets and it is hard to mold once dried, This liquid hard formula can be very tricky to work with and I have had so many failures and a pile of finished cement pieces that I will never use, manipulating cement and using different techniques just to get the end result I want, is the biggest challenge.
: We love how you make such an industrial material pretty and fashionable. Are people often surprised you can create these looks with cement?
: Yes very! When I tell people what I design their reaction to it at first from my experience is confusion… why cement? and I say why not? After their initial shock, they can start to see how different and fashion forward cement jewelry really is.
: You also make household items such as playing card holders, coasters and toothbrush holders. What are some of the challenges of making items that serve a more functional purpose?
: I had to learn the hard way that the same cement and technique will not work for every design, Unlike jewelry that will be put away, household items are used almost every single day, and since I wanted to design pieces for everyday use. Each one of my items is made with a certain type of cement or cement mixture that is tailored to that specific piece. I don’t want to tell all my little secrets, but its more than just adding water.
: What inspires you to create your designs?
: My Every day life and things around me and going into a craft store just blows my mind, I get so many ideas from just taking a stroll thru a Michaels!
: What are some jewelry trends that you personally love this season?
: The earring cuffs, ear lobe earrings and the small dainty minimalist jewelry #love
: You run your own Etsy shop! What are some of your highs and lows of being a business owner?
: The main low for me was that self doubt that tried to creep in, Are my ideas good enough? is the pricing right? I mean come on ETSY has the most creative artist and makers in the world and how would I fit into all of that But after that initial jump I stopped fearing the worst and just embraced my Aesthetic. The biggest high of course is when someone buys from your shop, they could have went anywhere but picked your items because they liked how you made it!
: What keeps you creating and making?
: Passion, I am currently in love with what I do, I have so many ideas that I am working on I have to keep a notepad and pen handy and when I see something in my head I write it down.
: Any advice?
: Don’t give up, push yourself everyday and keep looking up because that is where it all is…