When I was in hot pursuit of a keychain, I shopped, shopped and then shopped some more but to no avail. Somewhat miffed, I hopped on Etsy, the mothership of awesome, and there it was. Leather, check. Killer color selection, check. Glitter (?!), check. Customizable, check. To put it simply, Perri Dotson rocks my socks. Without her ingenuity, I would be lacking one seriously stellar keychain. And that, my friends, would be an utter travesty. Just last year, Perri launched her quasi eponymous brand, MadeByPerri, filled with beautiful iterations of her trademark keychain. She built her brand thoughtfully, purposefully and with a whole lot of love.
Tell me a bit about your company. What inspired you to start your own business? MadeByPerri is my brand of personalized leather keychains. The idea came to me when I was searching for a keychain for myself but couldn’t find exactly what I had envisioned. I love bright, bold pops of color and have been a huge fan of the color block/ombre trend, so I wanted a keychain that offered that look and could also be personalized with my name. After lots of research, I decided to give it a try myself and absolutely loved the results. I especially fell in love with stamping and the ability it gave me to make each keychain special. Soon I was making them for family and friends and with their feedback and encouragement, I decided to open my shop!
Your keychains are incredibly well-made (as a proud owner of two, I know!). What goes into their design & construction? Thanks so much! Before launching, I tested several different types of leather, paints, dyes, and hardware to determine the best quality and the look I was going for. For keychains that have been painted or stained, I take extra care to seal them with a color protectant as well as a conditioner so that they’re completely weather-proof. I want to ensure that I’m producing the best, longest lasting products I possibly can.
With your collection of handmade & personalized goods, every day must bring something new. What does a day in the life of Perri Dotson look like? That’s one of the greatest things about my job! I’m a mom of two, so a lot of what I do during the week is pretty routine. My work provides the perfect balance and gives me the ability to fulfill my creative side.
What has been the highlight of Made By Perri to date? There have been so many! One that really comes to mind is when I received my first wholesale order. My business was still really new at the time and I just remember how incredible it felt and how much confidence it gave me. Many of the orders I receive are gifts that I personalize with a sentimental message, so just being able to create products that are special to other people makes me so happy.
How did you get the word out about your company when you first launched? Friends and family really helped get the word out for me in the beginning. Recently, I’ve started using Instagram as a platform to display more of my work and meet other artists & that has been amazing. I’ve met so many wonderful people and received tons of great feedback about my products – it’s been great.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since launching your company & developing your brand? The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to always have confidence in myself. I knew I had worked really hard and had created something I was really proud of, so I made sure to project that. I think when you believe in yourself, it really shines through and gets other people interested and excited, as well.
Let’s travel back in time a couple years. What advice would you give yourself on the topic of entrepreneurship? Don’t let hurdles and setbacks discourage you. They’re bound to occur and are just part of the continuous cycle of learning and growing as a person and business owner. Have patience, continue to work really hard, and good things will come!
And now fast-forward five years. Where do you see Made By Perri? In five years, I hope I’m still doing exactly what I’m doing now – making custom pieces that people love. Eventually I’d like to branch out a little more and start offering more personalized leather accessories, so we’ll see how that goes! I’m very excited for the future.
Guilty pleasure? Chocolate! Spending way too much time on Netflix, cheesy romance novels, and copious amounts of coffee.
Favorite animated movie? Toy Story! It’ll always have a special place in my heart. Frozen is on heavy rotate around these parts lately and takes a close second.
Cake or pie? Pie! I’m pretty sure I don’t need to remind anyone that it’s almost pumpkin season! I can’t wait.
Favorite corner of the world? Asia. I absolutely love the diverse culture and beauty. Turkey and India are at the top of my list of must see places.
Go-to recipe? I don’t know if this counts but my favorite thing to eat right now is toast with goat cheese, strawberries, and balsamic. It might sound a little weird but it’s delicious and makes the perfect lunch or snack. So good!