Dragworld is just four days away, and whilst we gear up for the meet and greets, the panels, and more. Be sure to check out the fantastic vendors who bring the very best drag-themed products to let you shop till you drop. Rebecca Higgins brings the best fine china objects to the kitchen, gorgeous teacups with famous drag saying. Cups sporting ‘Hieeee’ and ‘Not today Satan’ drag up your kitchen and read how these cups are brought to life.
Dragadventures: How did you get started into creating such fabulous items for people to buy? What made you make it into a business?
Rebecca Higgins: Honestly, it happened by accident! I had some porcelain paints I’d been messing around with and found some white china teacups in a vintage shop. I was obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race at the time, and I was listening to a Drag podcast while I was working in the kitchen of a local café.
Daydreaming away (as you do!) I had the idea of painting a Bianca del Rio-inspired design onto a teacup. Looking back, I think I was partly inspired by some Beatrix Potter china mugs I had when I was little, which had pictures of Peter Rabbit on the front, and quotes from the books inside the rim. I knew I wanted Bianca’s eyes on the front of the cup, and the quote ‘Not Today Satan’, but I needed a round-shaped design for the saucer. I settled on the collar of the clown outfit she wore to the Season 6 reunion. By the time my shift finished, I had the whole design in my head. I came home and painted up the design, and put it on my Instagram. Straightaway someone wanted to buy it. When someone else wanted one, I agreed to paint another.
After some encouragement from the world of Instagram, I decided to do another couple of designs and opened an Etsy shop. I was just painting them to order at that stage, but it quickly took off. Over the next year and a half it grew and grew, until I had more orders than I could keep up with (each cup takes a LONG time to paint!) The following summer, a lovely lady in LA ordered a 50-piece handpainted tea set, which was SO much fun to design and make, but took me two solid months! At that point, I was starting to get more ‘proper’ work, and I realised I was going to have to start turning down orders as I didn’t have time to paint while I was working. The orders weren’t stopping though, and I didn’t want to abandon what had become such an enjoyable part of my life, so I decided to find a different way of doing it.
After much research, I found a pottery who could create my designs for me. I now work with them to reproduce my handpainted artwork as ceramic transfers, which they apply to fine china wares. It all happens in Stoke-on-Trent, the home of the UK’s historical potteries, which I love because I feel like I’m helping to sustain a traditional British industry. Creating the pieces this way requires much more investment on my part, so by deciding to go down this route, I knew I had to get serious and start running things like a proper little business. It wouldn’t have happened without those first handpainted cups though!
DA: Had you started making objects before drag race or did Rupauls Drag race inspire you to expand on what you had already been creating?
RH: I’ve ‘made stuff’ all my life – I’m just crafty I guess! My day job is as a prop maker for kids’ TV, and I love making costumes and sewing too. The ‘What’s the Tea?’ cups are very much a collision between my instinct to make things and my Drag Race obsession!
DA: What is the most popular item that is sold the most? Why do you think that is?
RH: The Bianca del Rio mug – hands down! She’s just so unbelievably popular. I’m about to unveil three new designs though, so we’ll see!
DA: A tricky question for most people is… what is your favourite season Rupauls Drag Race and your favourite queen?
RH: Actually, that’s an easy one for me… as long as I can pick two! It’s seasons 5 and 6, Bendelacrème and Jinkx Monsoon.
DA: Last year you had your stand at Dragworld, how was the first year for you as a vendor? What was your favourite part of the weekend?
RH: It was FANTASTIC. I honestly had the best time. It was so great to be able to just hang out with so many fans of the show all weekend and share our excitement. I think my favourite part was seeing everyone’s outfits – there were some amazing cosplays of different queens. And of course I loved sharing my wares with the world – some people knew of my brand and came to find me, others discovered my things on the day. I even signed a tea towel for my two best customers who’ve been following my work since I was hand-painting and have built up quite a collection!
DA: You’ll be making your return with your shop this year, what will be available to customers are there any new debut items for sale?
RH: Yes! I have 3 new teacup/mug designs that will be on sale for the first time at Dragworld. I’ve been unveiling them on my Instagram… so do pop over and have a look! It’s @rebeccajhigginsdesign. I’ll also be bringing a lot more stock with me this time – last year I sold out on the first day!
DA: For people not attending Dragworld where can people buy your wonderful items?
RH: I still have my Etsy shop and ship all over the world. VERY excitingly, I’ll also be attending DragCon in New York in September, so if there are any American fans reading this… come and say hi!
DA: What would be the ultimate dream for you to achieve in the future?
RH: I mean, I’d love to produce some official merchandise for my favourite queens – who wouldn’t? I would also love to create some non-drag designs alongside the Drag Race stuff one day – but right now, I’m just loving what I’m doing and I’m happy to go with the flow and see where it takes me!
Visit Rebecca’s booth at Dragworld this weekend, keep up to date with her latest designs over on her social media below:
Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/UK/shop/RebeccaJHiggins