A Melbourne TikTok star has turned her “lockdown hobby” into a successful business, thanks to the support of over a million followers and a unique edge in the design market.
From brand logos, to cattle irons, to necklaces and tattoos, Dani Regan’s designs are hidden in plain sight and feature messages only the owners will ever know the meaning of.
The 29-year-old designer was working in a regular 9-5 job until a unique hobby eventually resulted in her opening her own business, supported by 1.4 million fans on TikTok and more than 185,000 Instagram followers.
During one of many lockdowns two years ago, Dani decided to open a TikTok account to cure her isolation boredom.
When she did, she came across a video with audio instructing her on how to overlap letters to create a monogram design of a person’s name.
From there, Dani tried it, shared it and her first video was seen over 8,000 times with plenty of comments requesting her to try the trend on other names.
“It was just getting comment after comment; mostly people wanting me to do their names overlapped,” she said.
“Once I started to get literally thousands of requests, that was the first realisation where I thought, ‘Hey, I might have something here.’
“I had a friend tell me to put it onto Etsy, and the first day I did, I got my first order for the name ‘Charlotte’.”
She then “graduated” to open her shopify page and is now running her business full-time.
“It’s blown up and become my full-time job.”
“It’s really driven off what I put into it,” she said.
After graduating with an undergrad in psychology, Dani went on to study a Masters in commerce.
Her initial career path saw her in the operations field in a corporate 9-5 job, but she says she always had strengths in communication.
“I always had ambitions to grow in the corporate ladder, and maybe become a director or something like that,” she said.
“But then this took over.”
She was then able to go on and complete a cert. III and IIII in graphic design through her work, where she learned the basics on how to work as a graphic designer.
Her advice for anyone wanting to start out in their own business is to find something you’re passionate about which is also going to be something people want.
“You have to find that product, but really get used to social media and platforms,” she said.
“You could have the best product in the world, but if you don’t know the basics of social media, you’ll have no one to sell to.
“Once you have a following and know what your niche is, you can grow into something. “Then the rest will come.”
She believes platforms like TikTok give people their own power, as they don’t have to rely on other representation or scouts to get started.
“I think the opportunities of today are very new,” she said.
“I think social media’s changed a lot since TikTok has been implemented.
“It’s very strange in the beginning, taking social media seriously, but there’s so much opportunity. There’s room for anything and everything.
“It’s given people back their own power; there’s less dependency on having to go and be found when you can push yourself out there.”
In her time designing, she’s been able to work on pieces for all sorts of people, for all sorts of uses.
“It wasn’t developed for tattoos; I was actually shocked when it went that way,” she said.
“People want to get something special for them – that not everyone can understand.”
“I do the same thing every day, but I can’t sit here and say even one day I’ve been sick of it.”
“Once you’re doing what you really want to be doing, you’ll make it work.”