Meet The Maker – Dumpy Design

Meet Dana McAleese – a creative Mum who’s turned a talent for sewing into a thriving business.

Dumpy Designs have been brightening up String Bean Alley since June 2013 with fresh, colourful prints and quality handmade clothes for kids. We caught up with Dana to find out about starting a business as a mum to two gorgeous girls.


QVM – Hi Dana, we love your bright and sparky children’s clothing, tell us how Dumpy Design started?

Dumpy Design was established in 2009. I was a stay home mum with 2 girls and wanted to start a hobby at home. I bought a sewing machine from a garage sale and with the lessons I was given from my mother as a child started creating clothing for both my girls. I am quirky and crazy within my own personality so it was reflected in the clothing I made for my girls.  Other mums started asking me to make the same clothing for their kids – and Dumpy Design was born.

QVM – What inspires your handmade quality clothing and unique style?

My inspiration comes from colour and from where I live. I live in Mt Dandenong ranges – surrounded by nature and wild animals – although I’m not too inspired by possums anymore – they are currently living in my roof and I can’t get them out!

QVM – Are there any unique challenges as a woman in business?

Some people see me as a mum trying to make a few dresses – like it’s a hobby. They don’t see me getting up at 4am to sew before taking the kids to school – attending school events and then coming home to sew before picking the kids up at school – cooking dinner – helping with homework… Then by 8pm going back to the studio to finish off work to have stock ready for the QVM on Friday.

Mums are often the hardest working people on this planet – we juggle so many things at once and often put ourselves last.  So if you ever see me at QVM with my hair not brushed and my make up running off my face – you now know why!

QVM – What are some highlights and memorable moments of being a trader at QVM?

Being situated in String Bean Alley – you are surrounded by likeminded people. I laugh everyday I’m there as I don’t feel like I am working at all! Being creative often goes hand in hand with being a little crazy, quirky and a different personality. I don’t see things as everyone else sees them – which makes me successful in my business. You can’t be creative and inspirational in your clothing designs without seeing the world from a totally different angle than most people. So being surrounded by people who are the same makes you feel like you fit into a niche in life.

Pop down to String Bean Alley and visit Dumpy Design between 9am – 3pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.