Dixon Rand has partnered with Wanderlust Skulls in developing a very special piece of the range for your home. Every unique skull is hand selected and finished in the Midwestern U.S. In a rare moment, we caught up with Cassie (she's a wife and mom of 2 small kids helping her husband operate a farm in Wisconsin) to learn more about her journey.
DR: Why did you start your business?
Cassie: In 2016, I quit my job to stay home with my young kids. As a stay at home mom, I experienced that feeling that I could do more. Two years prior to 'retail retirement', I had purchased a steer skull from a thrift store and decorated it for our home. The amount of compliments I received from friends and family encouraged me to explore making a few more. Three more creations and two quick sales later, I knew I was on to something.
DR: What was the Inspiration?
Cassie: I looked to Pinterest for original inspiration but nothing popped out at me. So like most with a creative mind, I just started with what made sense. In developing what would be my style and technique, I took inspiration from my childhood. Classic Western movies (John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Ben Johnson...), Outlaw Country Music (one could say I'm the president of the Waylon Jennings fan club), my travels, and a love for the beauty in the West all played a part in how the skulls came to life.
DR: Describe some of the specific artisan techniques used in your business that contribute to the end result of your products?
Cassie: I've worked with a few suppliers to aquire the skulls I then transform into special home accents. Some come from Custer National Park and some from private farmers and ranchers; these are aged or diseased animals that are given 'new life' after death. I've done my fair share of cleaning skulls from start to finish (a messy and fairly time consuming process that can take from hours to days depending on the size and condition of the skull). Creating a unique patina with turquoise and rust is my specialty. I also like to work with gold and copper leafing to add another dimension to the final pieces.
DR: Tell us about yourself? What does a typical day look like?
Cassie: I grew up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin. One could say livestock skulls are a part of my heritage. I married a cowboy who is forever addicted to horse training buying, and selling. As a work-at-home mom, I have to use my pockets of time wisely. We're involved in the family farm and stay pretty darned busy like any family chasing the American dream. No two days are the same; some are for prepping and cleaning, other are for base coats and primer, others for creation and the finishing touches. I love that I can be flexible and also the ability to inolve my children in the process whenever possible.
DR: What's next? Any new ideas you are working on?
Cassie: I've got a few new ideas swirling around in my head and any time that happens, I get ridiculously excited. Working with Dixon Rand developing exclusives is going to be different than anything I have done before...super ecstatic about that. As far as new products go, I'm never opposed to a new canvas. I like to think that bone is pretty classic...