Bold, retro, fun – Hey, Dollface! promises to brighten up any outfit with their adorable jewelry and accessories. Pearls, hearts and flowers give Hey, Dollface! pieces their signature classic meets modern look. Creator of Hey, Dollface!, Jen Macaluso, is a New York City native, artist and DIY dame.
To learn more about Jen and her whimsical work, read our interview below.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Jen Macaluso and I’m the doll behind Hey, Dollface! Jewelry & Accessories. I’m a native New Yorker from Staten Island with a serious love for kitsch, retro fashion. Hey, Dollface! offers new retro style pieces made from new, rare and vintage deadstock materials. I dabble in everything DIY from sewing, to furniture upcycling, metalworking and fiber arts. I’m a 9-5er with a hefty commute so most can find me reading or knitting on a bus, boat or train around the city. I’m also an animal lover, avid reader and huge fan of ballet.
How did you get started?
It seems all roads led to Hey, Dollface! really. My Mom surprised me with a sewing kit and scrap fabric when I was four since child me loved the scene in Disney’s Cinderella with the seamstress mice. I would stitch clothes for my dolls all day and then host ‘fashion shows.’ I was obsessed with accessories as a child and used to string my own necklaces to match my outfits in Elementary school.
I really wanted to work in fashion after college and I found an entry level receptionist job at an apparel company in Midtown. I had been waiting tables for six and half years before that and my departure from restaurants was bittersweet. My first day was terrible, I hated it. There were several other fashion offices on the floor and this guy from down the hall wandered in to chat with me throughout the day. He was trying to be encouraging and told me to keep my chin up – I was half mad by the late afternoon when he stopped in the last time. He said, “You know what it is is that you don’t belong here. Fashion isn’t fun anymore, the industry has changed. You can do better than this, kid, trust me. You want to be creative and inventive in this field? Do it yourself. Trust me.” I quit before I left that day and went back to waiting tables.
I started the Hey, Dollface! brand a year later, in 2008. I named the company as a nod to my waiting tables days and creative childhood. After giving me the sewing kit, my Mom would hover over my work and ask, “Whatcha making, Dollface?”
What’s inspiring you right now?
Springtime in New York! This Winter seemed endless, so happy to see nature’s jewel tones popping up all over again. I use lots of vintage stack flowers on my pieces and they’re finally in season! Also, my home studio that I built over a span of eight months last year. The retro pink and green color scheme keeps me inspired when I’m working down there, as do the many baubles and art prints I’ve covered the walls with.
Any advice for those starting out in the handmade industry?
Don’t do it for the money and be you, don’t try to be anyone else. Make sure you’re ready to learn every aspect of the trade, from keeping the books to web design and basic diplomacy. Be accountable for everything you put out, you are the sum total of your work and people are counting on you to know what you’re doing. Give Aesop Rock’s “How to be a Carpenter” a listen, it’s my go to when I get stuck. Lastly, “If you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. If it never does roar out of you, do something else.” (Bukowski).
What are you most looking forward to at BUST Craftacular’s Primped?
I’m looking forward to getting a fun portrait in the Primped Photo Booth. As a jewelry person, I can’t wait for the free hand massages, too!
Can’t wait to get your hands on some Hey, Dollface dazzle? Get yourself to BUST Craftacular’s Primped, a brand-new fashion and beauty fair featuring Jen and over 85 other vintage and handmade vendors.
It’s happening THIS SUNDAY, May 4th, from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
In addition to the crazy shopping, don’t miss out on complimentary salon treatments and makeup applications, a bangin’ braid bar, DIY nail art, free make-and-take crafts, and much, much more. Admission is only $3. Click here for more info!