Published on August 14th, 2013 | by Dedee W1
For The Best Dressed Fans and Geeks Everywhere
Planet Rawr – ‘the land of rawrsome jewellery and accessories’ is run by designer Danielle Yuen, and has been going since October 2010. In a late night email, Danielle somehow worked this out to be “almost five years”. To me, this shows she’s been working at double speed the whole time to get her creations out there.
I’ve been a fan of Danielle’s jewellery for ages, since I first discovered her stall at Grey Lynn’s Kraftbomb markets, and wanted to buy everything. I settled for a kick-ass pair of Pacman earrings – a yellow pacman paired with a blue ghost, and an orange ghost phone charm.
She’d already hit the big time last year, when David Farrier interviewed her for 3 News after her ‘belieber’ necklaces made it on the telly at the premiere of the Justin Bieber film Never Say Never. Unfortunately her interview didn’t make the cut, but a few shots of fans wearing her necklaces added to her fifteen minutes of fame.
Country-pop starlet Taylor Swift also loved Planet Rawr’s ‘Wonderstruck’necklace. A fan wore it when she got to meet her through winning a competition. There was an even an article in Cleo magazine that showed the purple acrylic pendant. (Wonderstruck is the name of a Taylor Swift song, for those of you who aren’t hardcore fans)
Before all this fortune and fame, Danielle had already started making jewellery at an early age.
“I have always just loved creating and crafting, I started collecting a lot of beads and fabrics and other supplies at a young age, and sold my first necklace for two dollars when I was eleven just so I could buy more beads! I had fun making it, my friend had fun wearing it and I got to buy more pretty things- seemed like a pretty good trade! And though my style has evolved, I’ve kind of never stopped since.”
My favourite earrings are both Planet Rawr creations – the pacman earrings, and the little wooden cupcakes (made from laser cut bamboo, and sometimes mistaken for knuckledusters). Any time I wear them I always get comments, “Hey, cool earrings! Where did you get them?”, so I always give her a plug.
“It’s Planet Rawr, spelt R-A-W-R” I tell them.
Coming up with the name was a bit of a challenge for Danielle.
“It was super hard! I crossed so many off in the process. But when I was making jewellery in my room at home my little sister would say I was working on my Planet upstairs – and we would have to yell at each other to communicate from upstairs to downstairs. I guess you could say RAWRing! And now I have a Planet for my creations to call home.”
She graduated with a Business degree in Marketing in 2012, which has helped her promote Planet Rawr, (check out her cute website) but she doesn’t want it to grow too big just yet. She prefers doing custom orders and doesn’t want to go too far towards mass marketing.
So what’s the coolest or most original custom order she’s had?
“Oh that’s hard. When you open the doors to any and all ideas, people can come up with the coolest things. A very cool one was for an X-Factor contestant in Australia, they have to wear pretty big ugly stickers with their contestant number on them. I think the number is used for voting, so to be memorable he requested it be recreated as a massive bling necklace.
Another cool one was a whole chess set of stud earrings. Oh and this one double finger ring, gangster style, which said ‘STUDY’. It just cracks me up. “
Danielle has all her jewellery and accessories laser cut by Ponoko in Wellington, a company she found in Idealog magazine when she was still at school. She taught herself how to do the designs on Illustrator and has used them ever since.
She’s just had her busiest time of year, travelling to all the Armageddon festivals, in Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch, with the Auckland Armageddon still to come in October. Festivals like Armageddon are not only great fun, but Danielle gets the majority of her sales there, with a captive market of excited geeks.
“My target market is geeky-orientated jewellery.”
There are many examples of this in her range, in the theme of Pacman, Dr Who, Tetris, Harry Potter, Transformers, Batman, and ninjas just to name a few.
“The belieber necklaces got on TV, but the Directioner necklaces actually sold better,” she admits.
Yes it’s all about the superfans, these are her biggest customers. The bigger the fan you are, the more merchandise you want right? So you can live it, breathe it, and best of all – wear it.
This is where the Black Milk fans, known as ‘Sharkies’ come into play. The Sharkies are some of her biggest fans in Australia. Black Milk is an Australian clothing label run by designer ‘JL’ (James Lillis) who makes amazing colourful leggings, and cute colourful dresses along with a full range of clothing. A bunch of Sharkies had ordered custom made Black Milk logo necklaces from Planet Rawr, and when JL came to Auckland, Dani gave one to him. Once he had one, they all wanted one!!
At the time of this interview Danielle’s busy preparing for her first trip to Melbourne Comic-con.
I ask her about all the stuff she has to pack to fit in one big suitcase.
“Do you have stickers?”
“I do actually, but Melbourne Comic-con has a no sticker rule!”
Wow, I guess they have a few more rules over there, it is held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, so I guess they don’t want any risk of people sticking stickers everywhere.
“No balloons either” she adds.
Really? These people are total killjoys. Well luckily with the creatures of Planet Rawr around it’s easy to inject a little fun into your day. Just ask anyone who owns a special pair of Pacman earrings with tiny moustaches painted on for ‘Movember’. That’s right, she can customise anything. Start dreaming up your wishlist people, you can have whatever laser cut treasure your heart desires.