Ani Tucker, former IUS student and co-owner of The Dandy Lion boutique, works on designing a custom prom dress. She owns the store along with her twin sister, Ali Tucker.
Every college student puts a lot of thought into what they will major in and how they will use that degree later in life. For former IUS students and identical twin sisters, Ani and Ali Tucker, the majors they pursued have helped them create The Dandy Lion.
The Dandy Lion is their own, local boutique that incorporates all their interests, ranging from fashion design and art to philosophy.
Located in downtown New Albany, the boutique features vintage and handmade items, as well as acting as a platform for the twins’ beliefs and interests.
“We support independent small business, art, design, music and community — promoting all positive causes for the earth and humanity,” Ani said. “We strive in the anti-mass-production movement and strive to tread lightly.”
Ali graduated from IU Southeast last May with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Ani originally pursued journalism at IU Southeast but ultimately decided to attend art school in both Savannah, Ga., and New York City, where she majored in fashion design.
Returning home, however, was always in the back of her mind.
“My fellow classmates, who were all determined to move to New York and pursue their design careers, would warn me not to move home for fear that I would sit on my degree and not do anything with it,” Ani said. “I like to think I just chose the road less traveled.”
Their creation opened recently in August 2010 — the day before their 26th birthday — and it continues to grow.
With the help of social networking websites like Facebook and their own blog — http://thedandylionshop.blogspot.com — the sisters have been able to reach out to many people, customers and artists alike.
“We currently have over 120 artists and crafters at the shop — local, in the U.S., Australia, Europe and Canada,” Ani said.
The sisters also have an account on Etsy.com, an online store that allows them to sell products online. These can be found under the username TheDandyLionShop.
Both these products and the products in store were described by Ani as vintage-inspired and classic with the right mix of trendy.
“We are very picky about what we include in the store,” Ani said.
She said the store is about 40 percent vintage and 60 percent handmade.
“Our storefront works as a showcase for independent artists of all types and for selective vintage pieces,” Ani said.
The store acts as a showcase for the twins’ artistic talents, as well.
The entire shop was up-cycled out of found objects and recycled barn wood.
“I pride myself in the fact that half of our shelves were built from palettes we pulled from alleys on Bardstown Road,” Ani said. “A family friend even let us scavenge their old barn for rusty tin, old saw blades and wagon wheels, which I have since painted and incorporated visually in the shop.”
Ani makes clothes and accessories for the shop, as well as custom orders. She is currently designing custom prom dresses for two Floyd Central High School seniors.
Ali said she also uses her degree in philosophy to help promote the store’s social, political and economical causes.