This week we have Mardi of The Howling Boutique (shop linked). You'll read a lot about her and her shop below, but I must say, I am totally in love with the few items I have, and will definitely be making another purchase.
Now let's get to know Mardi!
You started off making jewelry, want to tell us how that happened?
I started making jewelry when I was still in high school – so early 2000’s. I’ve always been big on accessories and as the years went on, it became increasingly frustrating for me to find jewelry that I liked, had decent quality, and wasn’t ridiculously expensive. The items I made were mostly for myself or as gifts to friends and family. When I became unable to work in 2011 due to health issues I’d had since my early teens, I suddenly had a LOT of free time on my hands and needed something to do. In addition to painting and writing, I started making jewelry just for the sake of creating something and found it to be extremely therapeutic.
It didn’t take long for me to start running out of two very important things – space and money. I wasn’t doing anything with the jewelry I was making, so it began to really take up room along with all the supplies I’d buy, which also ate away at what little money I had each month after bills were paid. My parents suggested I try to sell the stuff I made, which is what led to me discovering Etsy. While researching new types of jewelry I was interesting in learning to make, I was also looking up how to make my own makeup – something else I loved and wanted to create myself. These two research topics collided and I soon discovered nail polish jewelry. The rest is history!
Since you're new to the nail polish making business, what are your first thoughts?
Back when I was making it just for my jewelry, I thought it was pretty easy. I didn’t mind having to shake the bottles to redistribute glitter that had sunk or remix pigments that had separated. Only when I started reformulating my nail polishes to actually be worn did I realize that it’s SO much more complicated than tossing a bunch of stuff together in a glass bottle.
What were the first indie shops you bought from?
Oh man! Well I must confess that I don’t really wear nail polish. I KNOW. My manicures either chipped right away because of all the stuff I did with my hands or I had jobs that simply didn’t allow you to wear nail polish because of health concerns (like restaurants). Even now I really only wear it when I’m testing prototypes!
However! I DID buy my very first indie nail polish earlier this year from Anchor & Heart’s first collection because I consider the maker, Taryn, a close friend and wanted to support her debut. Then I snagged a mystery neon from Darlene of Sweet & Sour Lacquer, who actually helped test some prototypes for me before my launch. There are a few other shops I’d like to purchase from, mostly just to support other makers I know and care about. Mariah from Great Lakes Lacquer, another maker that I’ve grown close to and who helped test for me, ended up sending me a few of her polishes as a sort of swap. I know I technically didn’t buy them but they’re still part of my (very small) collection – plus, I actually wore one of them!
If you were to collab with 3 indie brands, who would they be?
For sure Anchor & Heart Lacquer. Taryn’s amazing. Her polishes are amazing. So us combining forces would obviously be AMAZING. I’d also love to work with Stefanie of Supernatural Lacquer. I mean, with our brand names and themes, it wouldn’t make sense for us NOT to work on something together! And then probably Darlene from Sweet & Sour Lacquer. She’s really good at finishes that I haven’t really tried yet – crèmes, glitter crellies, jellies – so I think doing a collab together would work well.
What has been your favorite item that you have created?
Oh, don’t make me pick! Hmm. Well, jewelry wise I’d say any of the custom pieces I’ve done. I LOVE doing special requests – it really means a lot to me when someone chooses me to bring their idea to life. I’ve created pieces for people just because, for someone’s birthday, anniversaries, weddings.. I had one guy buy a rose necklace I had in my shop and then request some matching earrings. He was very precise with what he wanted – it was for his wife’s birthday and super sweet. I also made matching glass pendants and earrings for a bride, her maid of honor, and bridesmaid for her wedding. She sent photos of them all wearing the jewelry, too. I love stuff like that!
In terms of nail polish, so far it has to be a toss up between Mystic Mountain and Stellar Stream from my Ready to Launch Collection. Mystic Mountain was sort’ve an accident that turned out to be uber amazing and Stellar Stream was a color that I tweaked repeatedly and didn’t give up until it turned out the way I wanted it to.
What is your favorite season and why?
Definitely late fall or winter! I love wearing jackets/coats and am a big fan of the tights-under-shorts-with-knee-high-boots look. Snow is also something I adore – and greatly miss ever since I moved to Texas from Missouri. I am NOT a fan of the heat and summers here suuuuuuuuck.
What has been your favorite piece of clothing, show or accessory you have ever owned?
Another tough one! I have a Rihanna t-shirt that I got when I saw her in concert during her LOUD tour that I wear all the time. So probably that. I also have a Rainbow Dash Hoodie that I constantly wear in the fall and winter.
Growing up, what did you watch and read?
I watched a lot of cartoons – Darkwing Duck, Duck Tales, Gargoyles, Chip ‘n Dale, Tiny Toons, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. I also have watched The Lion King so much that I can repeat the entire movie line by line. In terms of reading, not much has changed – I pretty much had every Fear Street and Goosebumps book there was and as I got older, I traded R.L. Stine for Stephen King.
What is your favorite book of all time and do you think everyone should read it?
Hands down it’s The Long Walk by Stephen King. It’s not necessarily a horror book, but more like psychological suspense. I’ve gone through at least four paperback copies of it because I’ll read it so much that it starts to fall apart! And yeah, I think it’s REALLY good and since it’s not straight up horror like most of King’s other works, people should definitely give it a chance.
If you could only listen to one song on repeat for the rest of your life, what would that song be?
Oh geez. Probably ‘Where Have You Been’ by Rihanna. I can pretty much listen to that song at anytime, anywhere. It’s not my favorite song of all time (that would be ‘Emotion Sickness’ by Silverchair) but I do listen to it A LOT. Plus it’s Rihanna. I mean. Duh.
If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself?
Don’t settle – you can do better.
Tea or coffee? And give us your go to!
Ew, neither! Tea takes like weakly flavored water and I only drink it if I’m sick – hot green tea with lots of honey. And coffee, to me, is just gross. I’ll take a Dr. Pepper instead.
You are at the supermarket, what are you getting?
Probably cereal and milk. I eat a big bowl of cereal every morning. Usually it’s Fruity Pebbles (I buy those BIG bags of it) but sometimes I’ll get a box of Alpha-Bits instead.
Tell me what you're dream vacation would be....
Disney Land! Or Disney World. Disney something. But without the crowds.
Lastly, tell us anything you'd like...the world is your oyster.
Always trust people who like big butts – they cannot lie.
Mardi has her first collection and her July duo out July 20th. The first collection is beautiful, and you can see a bunch of swatches on her Instagram and FB group (both linked). I highly recommend picking up Mystic Mountain, which is the one shown above. It's a must have in everyone's collection. The duo is actually featuring another creator that has been featured on Meet The Maker, Taryn of Anchor & Heart Lacquer!