Sarah Eckett of Daisy Natives Talks Feminism, Commerce
Even if you're not familiar with Austin-based brand "Daisy Natives," a line of simple, but adorable, quip-heavy shirts, you'd probably recognize some of its designs from across your Instagram feed — specifically the "Girls Support Girls" tee likely sported by your favorite girls. Available in a wide array of colors, the shirt could be seen across women's marches in January, worn as a sign of solidarity for all women.
Sarah Eckett, the brand's owner, says the tee was never meant to be political, but became so in the wake of the marches and the current political climate.
"It became a statement that says: I’ll march with you, I’ll cry with you, I’ll protest with you, I’ll get angry with you, I’ll help you fight the patriarchy."
Likewise, politicizing brands has become en vogue, with more girls supporting girl-owned businesses and opting out of purchases from businesses they don't believe in.
Below, Eckett discusses merging commerce with her beliefs, plus tells us where she finds the inspiration for all of shirts' delightful sayings.
The Daisy Natives brand seems fun and playful, but it also has a commitment to creating products for “the ones who have too many revolutionary ideas keeping them up at night.” How do you feel that’s incorporated into the brand? Has it always been a part of the brand or is it a recent addition?
“Dreamers Never Sleep” was actually my first tee shirt idea and I think that has sculpted the mindset I have in everything I do. “What’s my next bestseller?”, “How about this color scheme?”, “I wonder if she’d be down to collaborate?” are questions that constantly keep me up at night. I’m always trying to better myself and my brand and the future of this world because why not?
How do you approach the intersection of commerce (obviously, Daisy Natives is a business) and your belief set (from your blog, it seems like you also want Daisy Natives to stand for freak flag-flying and something more than just retail)?
It’s always been incredibly important to me to be my unapologetic, colorful, silly, weird self. I think that’s helped grow my brand organically. People find comfort in weirdness and imperfectness.
In the past few years, and especially since the election, it seems that people are more cognizant about where they spend their dollars (people boycotting Uber following the travel ban, businesses dropping Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, etc. ). As a business owner, how do you feel about this shift and do you feel a responsibility to let your viewpoint/your brand’s viewpoint be known?
I absolutely agree. Thankfully it’s becoming more normalized for brands to be so open about political standpoints (Teen Vogue is killin’ it) and I think that’s really important. It’s a breath of fresh air to know that there are actual people with beliefs behind these brands and businesses.
How do you choose which phrases to use on your tees? What’s the process like?
I find inspiration everywhere (late night phone dates with long distance friends, weird things my husband says, boutiques around Austin, of course Instagram and Pinterest, and yes, even food). There’s an ongoing list of ideas in my phone, but don’t get me wrong, there are A LOT that I look at today and think “What the hell?!”. Designing is definitely my favorite part, though.
We saw a lot of your shirts across women’s marches in January. Why do you think your particular brand became so popular?
That weekend was the craziest thing. I think it just comes down to solidarity. After the women’s march, “Girls Support Girls” evolved into something more. It became a statement that says: I’ll march with you, I’ll cry with you, I’ll protest with you, I’ll get angry with you, I’ll help you fight the patriarchy. Although I never intended this shirt to be political, I am thankful that it has found its voice.
One common critique of the current feminist movement is that it prioritizes a kind of aesthetic over real action. (In some ways, I think this has changed since the election). What are your thoughts on that critique? Do you think it’s valid/invalid?
Feminism has always been about action over aesthetic, but due to recent political events it has turned into a necessity. Seeing so many women take action through protesting and donating and vocalizing their beliefs through social media just goes to show you that feminism is not just “cool”, it’s a movement that is here to stay.