Getting to Know: Deirdre 'Little Darling' Franklin
Our first guest is Deirdre 'Little Darling' Franklin who we first learned about on Episode 244 of the Our Hen House podcast. Deirdre is the founder of Pinups for Pitbulls, a non profit whose mission is to educate people about the history, temperament, and plight of the pit bull-type dog. Deirdre and her husband Jeff recently opened a storefront to support their animal advocacy work. The shop is called Darlings and is located at 69-A Biltmore Avenue in Asheville, North Carolina. Let's learn more about Deirdre and Darlings...
Jeff and Deirdre (owners of Darlings and also run Pinups for Pitbulls) with their two dogs, Zoe and Baxter Bean. Image by Celeste Giuliano Photography for Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc.
Let's start with the basic 411, tell us about Darlings. When will you open for business, where are you located, what will you be selling?
Darlings officially opened on Black Friday in downtown Asheville, NC. We are an eclectic boutique that features items from our non profit Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. as well as Pin-Up clothing, guys clothes, baby gear, vegan handbags and wallets, letterpress and screen printed cards from amazing companies like yours, books, jewelry, and handmade items.
Give us a snapshot of a typical day getting Darlings off the ground.
A typical day includes taking care of our pups, then filling our doggie water bowl for dog guests in our store. We like to sweep the leaves out in front of the walkway (which feels very zen), thank the universe for allowing us to seek our dreams, and then we get to work filling Pinups for Pitbulls and Up the Pups orders!
Do you play music in the shop? If so, what are some of your current favorite tunes?
We love music and we both come from a punk and hardcore background. We play anything from Lucero to Morrissey, Neko Case to Nouvelle Vague, and even fun sugar pop like Lily Allen.
If you could have one celebrity, historical figure or other well known person come into your shop, who would it be and why?
Celebrity/Historical Figure: We would love for Anthony Bourdain to come to our store. I am vegan and my husband is working on a vegan cookbook for "meat eaters" (he is still an omnivore). We're convinced that he'd love our work with dogs and would love our dietary theories. We also appreciate his musical background and think he'd have a great platform to get the word out about what we do.
Tell us about any mentors that helped you along the way to becoming a business owner. (Could be a teacher, family member, business savvy canine, imaginary friend, etc.)
Our friend Brook Timm from Rudy's Round Up (Chicago) gave us a lot of great pointers when we were looking for vendors in line with our mission. We are forever grateful to her for her assistance; that's how we found you! Carla Lou is the late four-legged founder of Pinups for Pitbulls and inspired me to start Pinups for Pitbulls a decade ago. Without her, none of this would be happening.
Are you active on social media? If so, where can folks find you?
We are active on social media!
Tell us about any furry, feathery or scaly companions in your life.
Baxter Bean is our pit bull mix. He's approximately 9 years old and was my "foster failure" when he was only 6 months old. He survived a serious chemical burn (or fire) that runs from his neck to the base of his hips and simply stole my heart.
Zoe Z. is our Harrier mix. She's 14 and is one of the sassiest little bear faced dogs on earth.
You just stepped into a time machine, when and where do you go?
I would go back to the late 1800s and nip dog fighting in the bud before it could ever become something of interest.
I might also snag a few great dresses and pieces of furniture afterwards.
I just had a book published that is in stores and on our website. I have begun a book signing tour and would love for people to visit the Pinups for Pitbulls site to see if there are any signings in their region. Click here to check out the book.