We had the good fortune of connecting with Dontaiz Rouse and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dontaiz, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I came up with business through a combination of trail/error and taking personal inventory of what my actual skills are. I’ve always been a creative person, but never though of my skills monetarily until pursuing my day job as an engineer. In my spare time I would paint and alter my clothes. Day after day, my peers told me I should sell my work. I pursued commissions as a sneaker customizer not knowing the creativity I was nurturing would turn into something else the very next year.
After the customizer thing stopped being fun, (the minute something feels like work, stop it) I used my sewing skills I learned in a Jo-Ann’s class to start creating costumes. From there I learned all types of mediums to work with including fabric, foam, silicone, 3D modeling. I took everything I learned from my customizing venture, found an audience that is supportive, and used my knowledge to start creating tutorials with VERY limited commissions.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I feel what sets me apart from my peers is that I’ve always been a spectator playing catch up . What I mean by that is, I’m new to cosplay/designing by my own decisions. I remember attending various events in high school that had costumed performers, being on my university campus seeing students go all out for Halloween, and the first time finding out about Dragoncon in 2017. Even my high school Senior project was on costume design and special effects in movies (created a werewolf costume). So all this makes me different because now I’m having to have accelerated interactions with the community while also learning everything I can at every point in my day, and compiling my research to use later. I may feel like a newcomer somedays, but I can’t be outworked.
I’m here today because I finally realized I let a lot of other factors make decisions for me. Now, my realization is Im done living at the mercy of decisions being made for me. You are the captain of the ship and the master of your soul. To be frank, I do have regrets about what I could’ve accomplished if I hadn’t pursued being an engineer, but I find solace in knowing I wouldn’t be who I am today without the things I learned about planning and designing in the classroom. My day job is now a means to an end funding the art I’m passionate about.
With all that being said, I want people to take away one phrase I use in my design process: make it happen. I’m here to disseminate all the information I learned so the next person can make something greater without all the obstacles I went through. If you have an idea, just make it happen by any means necessary. There’s no rush either, you’re only in competition with yourself. Even when everything is against you reaching a goal, there are no excuses, all you can do is make it happen.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a tricky one. I recently relocated to New York City for the time being. I’m very anti clubbing and big on experiences. I would say lets visit the Brooklyn Art museum for the KAWS exhibit, and the next moment catch a show on Broadway. If we’re drinking we have to start at Dallas BBQ for the frozen drinks, the portions are huge with great prices. Manhattan has a great Irish pub I visit on the weekend. If it’s warm, we’d have to go to Coney Island for the afternoon or way out in Jones Beach for the sights.
Other than that I just kind of throw a metaphorical dart and wherever it lands I’m going to it. I rarely say no to new experiences so we’d be discovering everything together
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give thanks to my Alma Mater, the Illustrious University by the sea, Savannah State University. My experiences there added on to everything I use in my day to day life. My fraternity brothers Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. have also helped me. Big thanks to my Line Brothers DeAnthony, Joshua, Jubal, and David. Lastly thank you to my sisters and mother for keeping me youthful, optimistic, and motivated.
These people have always supported my work, supplied me with tools, and propelled me to success by letting me be myself uninhibited,
Other: Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TAFKARDesign
Hair of The Dragon aka MarksterCon, Peter Slyvester Pics, R.A. Guyton photography