As the owner and designer of Austin-based lifestyle brand Daisy Natives, Sarah Eckett is using her fashion sense to empower women.

By Amanda Pinney, Photos by Michele Suits

Sarah Eckett didn’t have a background in fashion or business when she printed her first T-shirt. In fact, the 24-year-old owner of popular Austin-based brand Daisy Natives has a degree in baking and pastry arts and worked as a baker and cake decorator in New Jersey before moving to Austin. Though she enjoyed her work, she wanted more of a creative outlet.

Eckett knew she needed to fuel her inspiration somehow. She turned to a sewing machine she received for Christmas to make headwraps she could sell on Etsy. Eckett created Daisy Natives in January 2015, launching her own website a couple months later. In April 2015, Eckett put out her first T-shirt, emblazoned with “Tacos and Champagne.”

“I don’t know what inspired that. It’s like a weird combination,” Eckett says. “Champagne is fancy, but also, I love tacos.”

When the 10 T-shirts she made sold out within an hour, Eckett knew she had started something big. Later that year, she moved to Austin, where she continued to grow her new business.

Although Daisy Natives had a dedicated customer fan base from the start, one particular T-shirt set everything into motion. Eckett’s “Girls Support Girls” T-shirt gained popularity in January when it became one of the messages worn by women participating in women’s marches throughout the country. The brand’s Instagram account saw major traffic the weekend of the marches, and women wearing the T-shirt tagged Eckett in pictures throughout the day.

“I never meant for that shirt to be political at all. I made it because girls rip each other apart on social media, and I hate that,” Eckett says. “As soon as the election happened, it was kind of like people wore it for solidarity.”

Eckett created the T-shirt in December 2015, but this year’s political unrest turned it into her most popular design yet. Although she now has 17 different T-shirt phrases, “Girls Support Girls” constantly sells out.

The positive response to the T-shirt inspired Eckett to create another. She made “A Woman’s Place is in the Revolution” shortly after the marches.

Although her feminist phrases are popular, Eckett wants to keep a unique mix.

“I want it to be a good blend, and I have a good blend right now,” Eckett says. “So, it’s not going to turn into just feminist T-shirts, but I guess you could take a lot of my T-shirts and put a little feminist twist on them.”

With more than 17,000 followers on Instagram, Daisy Natives has earned its place in the fashion world. In addition to T-shirts, merchandise includes hats, pins, mugs and stickers.

Eckett runs her business out of her apartment, using her spare bedroom for storage. In the future, she aims to acquire her own warehouse space. She also hopes to collaborate with local artists and designers for more inspiration as the brand grows. In the meantime, she continues to design T-shirts with funky, fashion-statement-making phrases.

“I want it to be fun and quirky,” Eckett says. “I love when people say, ‘That is so me. That’s me in a shirt.’ I feel like I’m connecting with them on a personal level through a T-shirt.”

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