Meet the Maker: Liz Miller and Alex Dorsey of Vulture Gear
To conclude our Earth Month celebration, we’re excited to introduce Liz Miller and Alex Dorsey, the duo behind Vulture Gear, a brand that offers apparel and accessories made from eco-friendly materials.
Prompted by an assignment in college to “photograph something beautiful that’s not normally considered beautiful,” Liz settled on a lamb skull.
Ever since, Liz’s love and appreciation for animals and their natural beauty has grown. She found a community on Tumblr called Vulture Culture, a group of animal lovers who are committed to creating art from scavenged animal parts and recalls how skulls kept showing up in her work, no matter the assignment.
After relocating from Baltimore to Asheville, North Carolina, both Liz and Alex found jobs at other local businesses. Inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit around them, they decided to officially launch Vulture Gear in October 2017.
Liz and Alex are both incredibly passionate about animals, and as Vulture Gear has grown, they continually ask themselves how they can build the business in a way that benefits them. Fortunately, they’ve found a couple of answers. They donate 10% of their profits to local wildlife organizations like the WNC Nature Center and Carolina Raptor Center. And, inspired by one of their suppliers, they have sought out eco-friendly materials and processes, ultimately aiming to use 100% recycled and recyclable packaging materials.
In the six months since they’ve launched, Liz and Alex have both felt the exciting highs that come with owning their own business. They’ve experienced key moments of validation as well—being selected to participate at a popular local craft fair and having a great day of sales—but most importantly connecting with the customers who visited their booth.
While the creative aspects of the business come easy to Liz and Alex, they admit that they were initially overwhelmed by the prospect of actually starting a small business. But they were quickly reassured by the amount of resources they found and encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to take a lot of small steps in the beginning if it feels like too much. Alex also mentions that he knows how “painstakingly scary it is to put your artwork out there – you can’t make products for everyone. But it’s rewarding to jump that hurdle and taking the risk is so worth it.”
Finally, they also encourage connecting with fellow entrepreneurs to build a stronger network. They’ve teamed up with other Asheville-based businesses to create a group that meets monthly to discuss challenges, brainstorm ideas, and act as a resource for one another.
If you happen to be in Asheville between May 10 – 20, you can also check out their work at the Spring Show & Tell Pop Up.
Be sure you’re following our Instagram for an exciting announcement celebrating our Earth Month makers tomorrow!