26 March 2024

Dapto teen’s passion for all things western spurs unique online store success

| Kellie O'Brien
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Dixie Creek Western

Jayda Barnes has started her own business selling fishing shirts and trucker caps. Photos: Supplied.

A love for horses and all things western inspired 15-year-old student Jayda Barnes from Dapto to launch Dixie Creek Western, an online store selling everything from fishing shirts to trucker caps and genuine cowhide earrings.

After first creating her designs, Jayda released them on social media in September, before launching a website in the summer holidays.

“My horse Dixie is my main inspiration because I’ve always loved the country and the western and all that type of thing,” she said.

It’s her beloved Dixie, who she’s had since 2019 when Dixie was just nine months old, who also inspired the brand name.

“I was trying to figure out names that were different that had meaning behind it,” she said.

“Since she’s inspired me and she’s taught me so much from when I was younger, because she was my first proper horse that we broke in, she’s become a big inspiration for the name.”

While Jayda doesn’t live on a farm, she has Dixie and her sister’s horse agisted on a nearby property.

“My sister has also been a big encouragement, helping me with the business,” she said.

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Her family has been a strong guide, with her sister already owning an eyelashes business and her brother previously selling shirts.

A fishing shirt is one of the main items Jayda sells.

“I liked the look of them and wanted to bring the ideas that were in my head to life,” she said.

“I have done some fishing, but I’m not a big fisher. I’ve been camping since I was a couple of months old.

“My dad and I used to fish and my brother’s a big fisher too, so I’d always stand by and watch him and I’d help them.”

Jayda also sells trucker caps and copper bands and rings.

She said she chose the copper jewellery, which had the health benefits of improving circulation, relieving arthritis and easing pain in sore and stiff joints, because she liked the look of them.

“I like the colour of them too and it goes with my horse because she’s a chestnut,” she said.

Other accessories in the range include handmade genuine cowhide keyrings, claw clips and earrings she makes herself, admitting she’s always been creative.

“When I was first starting out, I’d sit at my desk for hours making them and I’d only turn up with a few,” she said, laughing.

The shirts are no different, spending hours finding the right images depicting cattle and rodeos.

“If I had to check my screen time, it would be shocking,” she said, laughing.

“And all the storage from doing all the designs, putting them all together, changing them up, it takes a lot of time.

“I’ve always loved the brown. I loved the look because I love cows and I’ve grown up watching the series on Netflix, Heartland.

“I decided that I wanted to do some western stuff because I hadn’t seen much of it around here.”

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In doing so, she’s carved out a niche for herself, receiving positive feedback on her social media accounts and recording continually rising sales.

“I see on the western pages for girls it’s all pink, but for me I’m more a fan of neutral so I’m trying to focus more towards the unisex so it’s better for the girls that don’t just like pink in the girls section,” she said.

She is now hoping to do rugby shorts, hoodies, jerseys, singlets and more accessories.

“With school and my horses and I’ve got dogs too, trying to juggle everything’s a bit challenging but I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world,” she said.

“That’s the big thing about starting the business is that it’s a big risk to put all the money towards design and all the time and not knowing if it’ll come back in the end.

“But it has so far and that’s really good.”

You can learn about Jayda’s business at Dixie Creek Western.

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