Getting to Know: Deirdre 'Little Darling' Franklin

We're excited to introduce a new regular feature called "Getting to Know" on the Two Trick Pony blog. We'll be interviewing shop owners, customers, fellow creatives and anyone else we find fascinating!

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...


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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.

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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!

Instagram:
@darlingsasheville
@pinupsforpitbullsinc
@upthepups

Facebook:
Facebook.com/darlingsasheville
Facebook.com/pinupsforpitbulls

Twitter:
@darlingsasheville
@pinups4pitbulls


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.
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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.

Anything else you'd like to share? Now is your chance, don't be shy!
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.






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How to Rock a Trade Show

We were honored to be included in Aeolidia's super helpful round up of tips for selling at trade shows and craft fairs. The advice from seasoned exhibitors like A.Favorite Design, Sycamore Street Press, I Heart Guts and others is great for newbies just getting started and even old pros looking for some new tricks. Head on over to Aeolidia's blog for the full post and tell 'em the Ponies sent you!

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images of A.Favorite Design, Sycamore Street Press and I Heart Guts via Aeolidia


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Thought of the Day | 11.18.14

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The Privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. — Joseph Campbell

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Mmmondays! Nutty Oatmeal Cookies

Mmmondays is back! After a long hiatus, we thought we’d open up the doors to the Pony kitchen and share a recent favorite recipe. This one is especially awesome because of how versatile it is. Don’t like raisins? Use cranberries or any other dried fruit instead, or better yet double up on the chocolate chips! Don’t like bananas? That’s just crazy, who doesn’t like bananas? You can use applesauce instead if you must. (Actually Mr. Pony prefers them that way.)

Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Nutty Oatmeal Cookies
1 1/2 cups rolled oats - we use the regular kind rather than quick oats
3/4 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup of flour or almond meal - we use whatever is one hand, usually whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts - we like walnuts and pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, flour, nuts, coconut and cinnamon. Add raisins and stir, making sure they don’t clump together.

In a medium bowl (or high speed blender), combine canola oil, mashed banana and vanilla extract. Add mixture to dry ingredients and stir.

Form into balls and flatten with a fork on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Try not to eat them all at once!

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Thought of the Day | 11.13.14

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Thought of the Day | 11.12.14

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Top Shop: The Artisan Center

Since 1977, The Artisan Center in Denver has been offering its customers funky and unique gifts from home decor to baby clothes to fabulous American-made jewelry. Whether you are looking for sweet things for the little ones (creative animal mittens!) or the perfect pillow, this eclectic Top Shop is just what the Ponies ordered! Check ‘em out on Facebook where they seem to always be celebrating a special occasion!

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Thought of the Day | 11.11.14

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Thought of the Day | 11.10.14

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Thought of the Day | 11.9.14

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Thought of the Day | 11.8.14

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Thought of the Day | 11.7.14

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New Beginnings

This blog post has been a long time coming, it's been on my to-do list since May. It's a hard one to write, bittersweet. You see, when Two Trick Pony began there were two Ponies. And while Carrie will always be a Pony deep down, she has moved on to become a full-time mother to an amazing little girl named Hilma. So, now I am on my own and while excited about this new challenge, also adjusting to life as a solo Pony.

The past eight years building this business together has been incredible. I have learned so much and done things I never would have dared to do on my own, like exhibiting at the National Stationery Show in our first real year of business! It. Was. Crazy. NSS is the biggest tradeshow in our industry and creating an 80 square foot booth from scratch and on a budget was no small feat. But Carrie's can-do-anything attitude and my tendency to overpack you-never-know-we-might-need-this supplies made it work. We had everything but the kitchen sink that year and we made fast friends with neighboring booths who had forgotten a screwdriver or ran out of packing tape. Even more than the tools and supplies though, it was Carrie's warmth and friendliness that drew other exhibitors to the pony booth. If you've ever met Carrie, you know exactly what I mean.

When I look back at all those years, the one thing I miss the most is not Carrie's fantastic design skills or ability to pretty much make anything out of anything (MacGyver's got nothin' on her!), but her presence. Next to having a spouse or a child, having a business partner can be one of the most intense but rewarding relationships. You have to trust, respect and listen to one another and always know that you are in it together. I couldn't have asked for a better partner... or friend.

xo, Laurie Pony

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Throw Back Thursday! NSS 2007

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Wow, it was 2007 when we first exhibited at the National Stationery Show in NYC! What an amazing, fun, crazy seven years it's been. We can't thank those first buyers enough for giving us the confidence to keep going. Writing those orders and knowing our designs would be in so many fabulous shops was (and still is) so exciting. We can't wait to see what the next seven years brings!



















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