We had the good fortune of connecting with Roxi Gunz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roxi, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind Wrecked Cotton Candy. Let’s see if I can condense this since I tend to overthink and over explain things, I have always loved fashion and music. The 8o’s metal, hair band scene is what I’ve always been drawn to. I love Cotton Candy, anything cotton candy! I was going to wreck t-shirts like all the bands I grew up listening to used to wear. Since I was going to WRECK them, they were made of COTTON, and they were going to be addictive, like CANDY. It made sense to take everything I love and put that together as Wrecked Cotton Candy. I was a paralegal for 12 years. During that time, I wanted to try something new so I decided I was going to start an Etsy shop as a part time thing. My husband is in the Army National Guard and he was getting ready to deploy on his 3rd deployment in a few months, and this would keep me busy on the nights and weekends. I was told that there were already so many shops on Etsy doing the same thing I wanted to do and it probably wouldn’t last long or do well. I went online and I bought a few band shirts and I began to distress them. So this was an easy choice, I was going to do something I love. I always wanted to learn to sew and be more creative with fashion, I have always been a very shy person and get social anxiety a lot. Most people do not believe me when I say that. Someone once told me that I get my tattoos and I’m outgoing to cover up the shyness. I express myself in my appearance to draw people towards me. It kind of made sense. After downsizing at the law firm left me without employment. My husband suggested that I do not go back into the law field and do my business full time. I wanted to create pieces that would help the customer stand out in the crowd, something edgy and this was my chance to dive deeper and build my brand. So when I started thinking. If I can help other people express them self, I’m in!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I speak through my designs. Taking a band shirt, flannel, or denim jacket/vest and creating that on-off piece that gets you noticed. It gives you a one of a kind look that doesn’t let you blend in. When I start distressing a shirt, I let whatever feelings I am having at the time out with the razor, bleach, scissors, etc. I never know what I am going to do until I start doing it. It’s been a tough few years starting up, There are many talented artists out there that do similar. Some of those shops offer multiple sizes and have more than one item. I do not and that hurts me a little, but since I upcycle 90% of my items, I may have a shirt that they do not. So the style and size that I have listed is the only one available. I do offer custom orders, and I will do my best to get the same shirt in a different size, but I will not be able to recreate the same design since all of my items are done by hand and each cut or bleach mixture is different. I have started making other items for the shopI have been very lucky to be able to create entrance gear for some Indy wrestlers. The proudest moment I’ve had is seeing vests that I have created for a repeat wrestling customer, Shawn Donovan, being on AEW Dark, seeing another one for him recreated in a video game, and also being debuted in Alaska. He has a lot of ideas and he trusts me to help them come to life. It’s amazing to see. Even though I do something that makes me happy, and that I love. I have had to start from scratch and build where I am by word of mouth and dedication. I started out only doing nights and weekends off of 1 small table in my basement. Now, I am full time, with an office and a workroom in my home. I have had to learn how to be a model, a photographer, a business owner, and a seamstress. I do all the distressing by hand. Every stud, safety pin, grommet, eyelet, is all done by hand. Each one pressed, one at a time. So yes, it gets stressful running a business by myself, from home, especially since schools have gone to remote learning. There are a lot of obstacles in a day, and as stressful as it is, I still wouldn’t change it. I may rearrange my day, I may put something off until a later day LOL, but I wouldn’t change it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a very hard question to answer. Especially since Covid has put a stop to a lot of things. Also, I spend so much time working and spending time with my family when I am not working, that I do not really get to go out and do things very often. With that being said, I would probably plan a hiking or camping trip at one of the local parks and trails. I would look and see what entertainment The Queen in Wilmington, DE, had scheduled and go see a live show. There is a new adorable diner that just opened up close to me called Goober’s Diner, the food is great and it’s a cute 2 story, 50s style diner. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First off, my husband, Eric (E-Dawg). Without his support the last three years, and pushing me to do this full time, taking on a lot of the financial burdens, and his help with the days leading up to traveling to vendor shows, I probably would lose my mind. He deals with all my stress and tries to keep me as sane as possible. He is also my male model. Whenever I need a guy to wear something, he is my go-to! Next, my brother, Jim for pushing me to do my 1st vendor show. Most people do local shows and flea markets. I was brand new to this, I had never done anything like this before and he had me flying to the KISS Convention in Indianapolis. My brother builds custom guitars and has a few famous clients and he was going to the convention and had a spot for me to set up my display. This was scary. I am a little nobody from Delaware and I was in a booth next to Lita Ford. These people that I grew up listening to were seeing clothing that I created. It was insane to me. All the amazing people at Battlefield Tattoo Expo, Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market, SOMD Tattoo Expo for giving me an amazing opportunity to share my creations with others at their events. Gallery4Twelve in Pittsburg, PA and Spaceboy Clothing in Wilmington, DE have displayed my merchandise in their shops to help get my brand out there and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. My friend, Erica, who has had patience with me teaching me to sew and answering my calls on crazy Etsy questions. I also have a few friends and family that I wouldn’t have been able to get through most of this without. When I needed them, they stood up and helped me get ready for shows last minute, modeled, and donated clothing.
KRP Photography Sadiel Ruiz