When Dawn decided to leave her day job to pursue Alison-Wunderland, it wasn’t that big of a leap as she admits she always had a thing for the side hustle life. Now it’s almost a decade later and that once upon a time dream is her everyday reality as she runs a successful online business based around all of our favorite fandoms and she does it with her mom right by her side. So we talked about what it’s like to work with your parent every day, girl power, and what’s to come from the world of Alison-Wunderland.
Kendra: When it comes to fandoms, Alison-Wunderland has you covered! Is it safe to assume that perhaps a certain Lewis Carroll story was your first fandom? If not, what was?
Dawn: Alice in Wonderland was one of my all-time favs. When my daughter was little, I played it for her on repeat a few times a night before bedtime. I also felt connected to the character in an odd unexplainable way.
Kendra: You’ve been on Etsy for a handful of years now. Was that when you started Alison-Wunderland, back in 2014?
Dawn: I opened up my online shop in 2014 on Etsy, but have been selling online for many years before that, selling a mixture of oddities, from jewelry and accessories to clothing and supplies for the DIYers. Now I try to focus more on fandom based items that I relate to and/or love.
Kendra: What were you doing before this family business took off?
Dawn: Before Alison-Wunderland, I was in the corporate world as a strategic account coordinator. But I always had a side hustle. Being a single mom it was necessary to have a supplementary income. In 2010, I took the leap and left my 9-5 to pursue online sales full-time. This enabled me to focus on what I loved most, being there for my daughter and pursuing my passion…and I haven’t looked back
Kendra: Me and my mom get along but I don’t think we could ever partner up like you two have. Are there ever moments when the dynamic shifts from partners to mom and daughter?
Dawn: LOL, all the time! Sometimes I feel like the mom, haha. My mom is my best friend, Literally! Working together is nothing new. Before Alison-Wunderland, we also worked in the same corporate job (our cubicles were next to each other) AND quit on the same day. Yes I know, crazy!
Fast forward to almost a decade later, we are hanging on. It’s a little tougher now with all the overnight pop up shops and big retailers, but we try to stay in the game by offering one of a kind designs and products.
Kendra: Nevertheless, it’s a whole girl power movement and I love it. It’s a lot like the products you have. A lot of Golden Girls and Hocus Pocus. Two very female-heavy fandoms. Do you feel like the power of those two fandoms showcases more of a love and appreciation for female bonds, a love of nostalgia, or a little bit of both?
Dawn: I think it is a combination of the two. I love all the old shows and movies and like I’ve mentioned, my bond with my mom is unbreakable, and I’ve been lucky enough to share the same bond with my daughter (who is now 24). We are a trio of strong, independent women. So I think without even realizing it, those are the designs I tend to lean more towards.
Kendra: What are some future fandoms you have ideas for that we may see sooner than later on Alison Wunderland?
Dawn: I’d like to focus on adding more ‘80s and ‘90s themed products. I love the ‘80s aesthetic, so thinking more ‘80s patterns, colors, TV and song references, etc. But I’m always open to new suggestions too!