As we close the year it's time to look back and reflect on some of the most memorable moments of twenty nineteen here at Dushi HQ.
2019 has seen many changes...
• I rebranded Dushi Designs and switched up the logo... This may seem minor to some people but for me it was monumental!
I wanted to freshen things up for such a long time but was so nervous because I wasn't sure how you guys would react.
Thankfully the rebrand was a success and you all loved it! Phew!
Your kind comments and words of encouragement really pushed me to work harder and grow. So thank you for being the driving force behind my little beach brand, it's because of you that we got to this place and it's because of YOU that 2020 is going to be even more epic!
• I launched my BEST collection EVER! Or should I say, the one I am most proud of. The Dushi Signature Collection sums up the dushi vibe in one design. It truly represents everything I love, everything that inspires me, and it showcases all of my favourite things... Dreamy postcard-worthy beach scenes, bold summery graphics, pops of colour to brighten up even the darkest days, and fun cute quotes that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. My dream for the coming year is to see you rocking the Dushi Signature print t-shirt, tote bag, beach dress, phone case (and more) all over the world!
Fingers crossed my 2020 dream will come true!
• My first ever Travel Blog Series "MY ISLAND" was published. Featuring a collection of stories from my Dushi Family, sharing their own island experiences, travel tips and hidden gems on islands like the Bahamas and Zakynthos and everywhere in between!
Check out the blog series here.
If you would like to share your island experience please get in touch and we may feature you in the next blog.
• I. CAME. HOME!
Yes, I returned back to my beloved DUSHI ARUBA!
Most of you reading this don't know who I am personally, and I am sure many of you will have assumed that the whole time you have been following me along on this journey of building my island-inspired apparel brand that I have been living my best life on One Happy Island.... But the truth is, I left my little island paradise two years ago and was splitting my time between both Aruba and Canada.
Now this may sound exciting, and you might be thinking, "WOW! You are so lucky!" but in all honesty, the last two years have been the most miserable of my entire life!
And, trust me, I am not being dramatic when I say that.
Despite Canada being a beautiful country... It just wasn't for me.
I am truly thankful for the opportunity to experience another country and cross off some destinations on my bucket list but....
I am an island girl at heart!
I have salt water running through my veins, sandy toes and sunshine in my soul.
Snow, freezing cold temperatures and being house-bound in the winters is NOT for me in any way shape of form! Give me trade winds, white sand, sunny rays and no bad days. Island life is the life for me.
There was two things that kept me going during this period... Dushi Designs and my Aruban Cunucu dogs. Without them I think I would of had a complete meltdown.
Being away from home and the place where I belong affected me in a way I could never of imagined. I was lonely, feeling uninspired and had almost zero motivation. I lost myself. So I made the decision to pack up and fly back to my happy place... One Happy Island.
BEST. DECISION. EVER.
Now you know a little bit about what has been happening behind the scenes it's time to delve in to the TOP SHOTS OF 2019!!!!
I selected some of my personal favourite photos taken this year and then asked you to vote on Instagram for which one YOU loved the best and tell me why.
It was a tough decision because I believe that every snapshot captures my brand ethos perfectly, so here they are, in no particular order...
TOP SHOTS OF 2019:
This photograph made it in to my TOP SHOTS because when I looked at Crystal's facial expression my instant reaction was, "WOW! SHE DID IT!"
That may sound like a weird reaction but let me explain...
Crystal aka @thewanderlustjetsetter decided to pack up her life in the USA and relocate to Aruba. If anyone has ever moved to a foreign country then you will know how daunting this leap can be. And Aruba's immigration process isn't exactly the most straightforward... But guess what, she did it! Crystal is now living the life of her dreams on One Happy Island. She put in the hard work, remained dedicated and didn't give up.
So when I first saw this photo of her, that is what prompted my reaction. It's like she is saying, "Look at me, I did it. I. LIVE. HERE!"
"Today I got news I have been waiting over 7 months for. I am officially a resident of Aruba. Whoever said Disney is the happiest place on earth had it wrong, it’s here, on the happy island. I already find myself taking it for granted some days but I can easily be reminded with a stroll down palm beach, the bluest waters in sight and an echo of tourists saying how beautiful the island is or that this is the best vacation they’ve ever had. In 2014 I vacationed here for the first time and always dreamed of living here, a small piece of me actually knew I would end up in Aruba but it wasn’t until this year that the timing was right. My friend reminded me the other day “you did this all on your own, you should be so proud of yourself.” Others reminded me how hard it is to actually obtain residency, but I did it! Every finger print, doctors visit, piece of paperwork and waiting in lines upon lines was worth the tears, aggravation and the wait. If there is one thing I know about myself, it’s when I want something, I can make it happen, and I’ve proven that time and time again. Life is nothing without risks and I’ll forever take risks if it means making my life better or happier in anyway. For those of you who have messaged me over the months and especially today saying how happy they are for me, thank you. For those of you still hating, I’m sorry you don’t get to live on a Caribbean island but you should probably go do something with your life and make that (or whatever dreams you do have) happen instead of wasted energy hating. 2019 has taught me that you never know where life will take you, but for right now Aruba is home." ~ Crystal aka The Wanderlust Jetsetter
This is the photo that made you all swoon! It's the quintessential "island girl" shot, the one that everyone wants to recreate on vacation. This is the photo was taken by Quinty from Moments By Quinty. A dutch female photographer living on our happy island. This was the first shoot for Dushi Designs with an all female team and I happened to be there in person for this one so was able to see how Jenzully and Quinty worked together. All I can say is that it was a match made in heaven! They exceeded my expectations and delivered well beyond my wildest dreams. Every single shot from this photoshoot ticked all my boxes. You can check out more from this shoot by clicking here.
Another personal favourite from the same shoot is the shot of Jenzully framed by Aruba's most iconic tree. As Quinty said, "This one is really characteristic for the island and I love the vibe on the picture, there is movement in it, happiness and I love the sand going through her fingers."
I totally agree, this is Aruba in one beautiful snapshot.
Sadly Quinty has left the island now and returned to her homeland of the Netherlands, luckily we managed to squeeze in one more photoshoot before she hopped on her flight so stay tuned as these will be dropping in the new year....
This photo of Maureen stood out to me because it was such a different kind of shot to my usual "dushi" style.
Edrick was in charge and together with the girls he came up with the concept for this photoshoot. Shot on location in Downtown Oranjestad, it showcased a completely different side to the island we all know and love.
Maureen styled the outfit herself and I was blown away with the results. These shots got such a great reaction when I posted them on the 'gram, it's made me push the boundaries for new ideas for future shoots around the island. I would love to know which locations you would like to see next? More city? Less beach?.... WHAT?! Who am I kiddin'?.... Dushi Designs will ALWAYS feature a beach! Ha! But it's good to mix it up now and then and keep it fresh right?...
After this photo shoot in Oranjestad with Maureen and Crystal, Edrick created our own "Dushi Preset" during the editing process. I love how the colours really pop and it shows off the tones of the t-shirt too.
More awesome snapshots from Edrick are coming soon so be pending...
This photo means so much to me. The story behind it had a real impact on me, both professionally and personally.
In frame is Caro, the brains and girl boss behind the Sunset Shack.
I can still remember the first time I met Caro. I was soooooo nervous that I thought I was going to throw up!
It was my one shot to convince a store owner that they HAD to take a chance on me and stock Dushi Designs!!! No pressure eh?!
Fast forward almost 3 years and me and Caro decided to meet up and hang out together.... And somehow I persuaded her to be my "model" for the day.
I don't like to be in front of the camera, I am much more comfortable staying behind the scenes, and Caro also told me the same thing... But she is so damn gorgeous I just kept begging her to be my muse until she said yes!
Now I am by no stretch of the imagination a professional photographer... In fact I wouldn't even call myself an amateur. But I do know what I like and I certainly know what I don't like.
I had been feeling frustrated about the whole "photographer/photoshoot thing" for quite some time. I kept on feeling like I was been taking advantage of by certain people/photographers and it was really upsetting me.
Some photoshoots I do as a collaboration where no money is exchanged but we do it for the cross promotion, or I provide "free" merchandise etc.
But then there are other times when I have to pay the photographer, the models and of course I have to spend my own coin purchasing my own merchandise and products to be photographed at the shoot. This can become really expensive for a small brand so of course I want to make the most of the photoshoot and get as much quality content as possible.
After forking out almost $1000 for my last shoot and receiving barely any useable material (which I had to wait months for might I add), I was feeling mad and sad and deflated to be honest. That's when I decided I was going to have a go at taking some shots myself to see if I could create the content I had been previously hoping for.
And this was the result:
Two female entrepreneurs trying to figure out what settings to use on a camera that none of us knew how to work, my "model" Caro stripping off and changing costume on the side of the road, looking at poses on Pinterest to try to replicate them in some "I'm-Not-Really-Posing" kinda way, me trying to become a contortionist to get those angles and a whole lot of belly laughs along the way!
This photo, taken by myself and edited by Caro, represents the start of a beautiful friendship, realising we have way more in common than we first thought, and that we can do ANYTHING if we work together as a team and put our minds to it.
And now for my ABSOLUTE PERSONAL FAVE.... The photo that sums up everything Dushi Designs stands for and screams, "DUSHI VIBES"....
It has everything I would want in a shot:
Sea in the background ✔️
Tropical palm tree ✔️
Candid moment ✔️
Happy girl laughing ✔️
Blue sky ✔️
Shadow on the sand ✔️
No one in the background ✔️
T-shirt worn natural ✔️
Features a pineapple ✔️
Tells a story ✔️
This scene is perfect to me. It has all the elements to make you stop and think,
"This. Is. Island. Life."
So there you have it, Dushi Designs TOP SHOTS OF 2019!
It's been a rollercoaster of a year, in fact the last decade has been a whirlwind to be honest... But I wouldn't change a thing!
Cheers to twenty twenty and happy new year Dushi family!
Warm wishes & salty kisses from One Happy Island with love,