Rally Made – Caitlin Marr
This is Caitlin Marr’s story. It’s one of an unexpected life change that led to something worth sharing.
Caitlin headed slightly south from Georgetown in 2008 and landed in Austin’s booming tech world. She plopped her passions on the back-burner and spent the next four years nestled securely behind a desk in an energetic office. Like most creative types, Caitlin wrestled with the idea of moving on now and then, but the practical aspects of the situation justified her staying put. Her post college, grown-up life up to that point was defined by that company, those people and that position. But in the summer of 2012, the company let Caitlin go, driving her to rely on her once closeted creativity.
It was time for Caitlin to rally, and rally she did.
With almost no time to waste, Caitlin transformed her one-bedroom, south Austin apartment into a perfectly adequate workspace. Now, fabric overflows from every available drawer and apartment pore. Her spacious dining table seconds as a sewing station, although it was never really used for meals. Speckles of dye in her bathroom and kitchen add a certain charm and proof of her dedication. The rustic, wooden desk in her bedroom doubles as a backdrop for product photos. “Nothing is off limits…except the bed. That’s for sleeping,” she says.
The hoard of materials she’d been collecting over the years was finally put to use. Step one was knocking out a few charming coin purses which she had made for family and friends in the past. “I started with what I knew,” she explained. Caitlin wasn’t a rookie at this, and that was immediately clear. She quickly broadened her inventory with totes, Kindle cases and some other custom pieces.
Rally Made took its first official breath as a business on July 2, 2012. Caitlin debated whether or not to use the name for a while. “It comes from my lost job, and the problem is, the story sticks with you,” she said. “But I accept the story and make it part of what I’m doing.” She opened an Etsy store and attended several fairs to get her name out there. Not surprisingly, people were impressed by Rally Made. Caitlin’s stellar t-rex impression, although impressive as anything, is no longer her defining talent.
Even though that day came unexpectedly, Caitlin approaches her craft with excitement and purpose. For the first time, she has direct interaction with the people for which she’s making products. It’s a new kind of accomplishment. It fosters new-found motivation to work harder and redefine busy.
With so many other creatives in Austin, it’s easy to get lost in the mix of hot-glue artists and hole punchers, but Caitlin holds her products to a higher standard. “When you hear the word ‘crafty,’ a lot of people think about sitting around gluing seashells on stuff,” she says. “There’s a place for kitschy stuff, but I want to make stuff that’s quality, lasting and practical and not just cute on your dresser.” Each of her pieces is one-of-a-kind, made from vintage and found textiles.
Being a true-blue right brain, Caitlin admits that the business side of her new venture is not her second nature. But from the brass grommets on her totes to the composition of the vintage prints on her coin purses, she is on the right track to meet her first business goal: make a quality product that people care about. She’s constantly learning and experimenting with plans of having several product lines in the future. What’s next for Rally Made? Well…Caitlin Marr is “just gonna make and see what happens.”