We had the good fortune of connecting with Caia Diepenbrock and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
SpiralEyez Designs has been a slow and steady build since I first started printing designs on t-shirts by hand in a college printmaking class. At the time, I already loved restyling vintage graphic tees, so when my love for printmaking found its way to clothing, I felt like I had discovered something unique and exciting. I began selling these tees to my friends and at the college craft fair, and at first it was just a fun thing to do. Being a full-time student and going on to work full-time jobs, it became my mini side business that got as much attention as I could give it, which varied. But as I kept making sales & feeling more encouraged, I continued growing. When I moved to LA, I participated in a bunch of vendor markets & art events that helped me gain more of an audience, and I just kept making new designs and posting on instagram without any real marketing or advertising expertise. I knew people liked my technique & my style, but I wasn’t sure how to get it really seen. So this past year I’ve decided to really take it to the next level and perfect my online shop, hire a marketing consultant, and start investing in ads- the whole nine. Now that I’m at this point of really honing in on my business, I’m focusing on what my message really is, and what SpiralEyez Designs has to offer on a larger scale than just clothing. From the beginning, the idea behind the phrase “SpiralEyez” has been about opening your mind to new perspectives and seeing the world in a new way. It’s about adapting to the shape of the spiral, which is present in all of nature ; it’s the perfect shape. It represents growth, fluidity, change, and expansion. To “SpiralEyez Your Mind” is to tap into that mindset, to learn & be conscious of the world around you, and to use the power of your mind to find happiness. It’s about being your truest self and respecting nature by wearing clothes that are genuinely one of a kind & sustainable. By sourcing high quality vintage items, we divert it from going to the landfill and we give it another life! Embellishing these pieces with the SpiralEyez handprinted technique is what takes it to the next level – each item has its entirely unique character, just waiting for the right person to wear it & feel totally themselves.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I grew up in an artistic household in Rhode Island, raised by two professional, full-time artists. Making art has always been an integral part of who I am, but I didn’t always think I’d pursue a career in solely that – I felt like I needed to have a more “practical” career, having seen the ups and downs of the freelance lifestyle through my parents. Through college however, I quickly realized how important making art is to me. Now, several years later, I’ve been successful in finding different professional paths that incorporate my passion for art & design while maintaining a steady income. Working as a Production Designer in the film industry has been especially fun because there’s always a different project that requires both hands-on creativity and the practical skills of time management, resourcefulness, and problem solving. It keeps me on my toes! But since that entire industry was pulled right out from under us when Covid hit, I’ve had the time to finally focus on my own fine art and building SpiralEyez Designs. It’s become way too fun working on my own projects & actually being my own boss to go back to creating other people’s visions, as much as I enjoy the challenge at times! It’s been a joy to incorporate my studio practices as a fine artist into my own brand of embellished clothing & accessories. Making truly one of a kind pieces that give friends & customers a unique way to express themselves is what keeps me going!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m an east side gal. I always say if Silver Lake had access to the beach, it’d be the best town in LA hands down. I always send my tourist friends to that part of Sunset blvd to places like Café Stella for a bougie drink to start off the night and later to 4100 for a little more space and slightly rowdier crowd. My perfect LA day would be a beach day at El Matador or another cove in Malibu , ice cream or lunch at Malibu Farm on the pier, and that dinner-drinks combo just mentioned. On another night, I’d recommend the Hollywood Bowl. There’s nothing like being amongst the hills of Hollywood with those arching lights pointing out Griffith Observatory in the distance while The Parliament Funkadelic rages to the heavens. The BYOB and BYOSnacks picnic style seating is also a huge bonus. Who knows when that’ll be a reality again… it’s a shame because LA’s music scene is hard to beat. I also love all the random art and culture events that usually happen throughout the city – if you follow even a handful of local businesses or organizations’ email newsletters, you’ll find some awesome & unexpected events. I used to go to Best Fish Taco in Los Feliz on Tuesday nights for standup comedy where some actual celebrities would sometimes show up. Of course there’s also the Comedy Store – always worth a visit. You never know when Bill Burr or Joe Rogan might be practicing for their next special. I’d also recommend a rooftop / pool hang sesh at either the Ace Hotel or the Figeuroa, and a hike at Griffith Park (the observatory is an obligatory tourist visit). The key to having a good time in LA is to know someone who knows the city – these things are hard to discover on your own! You can’t just drop yourself in the city and wander about like you can in NYC.. but part of that makes LA feel a little more special once you do know the good spots. Plus, endless epic day trips to anywhere within a 50-100 mile radius (and then there’s the rest of California- phew!)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A lot of my encouragement to continue building SpiralEyez Designs came out of shows I did with RAW: Natural Born Talents here in LA. Their events are always a blast with a huge turnout and amazing musicians & dancers performing while other artists like myself sell their work at booths set up throughout dope venues like Exchange LA and Boulevard 3. I’ve met some incredible people at these events that spurred other opportunities and helped me grow my network in LA, and I was even able to show at a RAW event in Melbourne, Australia. I also gotta shout out my partner Joey, who is always there with feedback and support whenever needed, and my assistant Monie Vitalia and her husband Jason for all the help they would put in at every single show- between unloading my car, engaging with guests & customers, and their overall excitement about SpiralEyez was not only helpful but super encouraging. Monie also recommended me for my first Voyage LA interview. I’ve luckily got a team of friends and family supporting me along the way!
portrait photo: by Darren Kho photo of Tatiana & Darren together at beach: Joseph Barbalaco photo of me working: Joseph Barbalaco. everything else taken by me .