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Feminist Designer Of The Future: How One Woman Is Making Her Name

Angela Henderson  |  September 20, 2022

Maddie Herbert, CEO of Dame LLC, is making it happen with inspirational gear + accessorizing TikTok stars.

One only needs to Google Columbus, Ohio trends to see the city is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. According to Realtor.com, Columbus was forecast to be the 5th Top Housing Market for 2022 and with a bustling arts and social scene, it’s not hard to see why.

It’s no surprise that such a city would be home to thousands of creative entrepreneurs who are continuously setting nationwide trends. One of these artists is Maddie Herbert, a sex-positive, feminist designer and owner of Dame LLC, whose creations evoke feelings of both 90s girl nostalgia, á la Lisa Frank and RL Stine book covers, while touting modern-day mantras like “You deserve to take up space.”


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A post shared by Maddie Herbert | Dame (@dame.studio)

When Herbert talks to you, she’s truly listening. Her personality seems to offer everyone inclusivity and acceptance, which translates into her work which often deals with themes of body positivity, bodily autonomy, sex positivity, and anything pertaining to accepting oneself and others, especially for women. (It’s not hard to envision her designs as the cover art for a Dua Lipa album.) In fact, she designed a billboard with Tia Mowry for placement in California; her art is a perfect fit to decorate Sunset Blvd.



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A post shared by Maddie Herbert | Dame (@dame.studio)


But for Columbus-based Herbert, whose merch is a favorite of popular feminist TikTokers like @drewafualo who donned Herbert’s “That Bitch” beanie while addressing her millions of followers on TikTok, the design and creativity always flowed easily – it was transitioning to her own freelance business fulltime that really pushed her, as she made the leap during the height of the pandemic.


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A post shared by Maddie Herbert | Dame (@dame.studio)


“Although I initially had a game plan to save up 6(ish) months of bills before going freelance full-time, life and COVID happened, and I ended up taking the leap before I had much of a buffer,” Herbert says. “For the first 3-4 months I was constantly hustling for clients and also working at a restaurant to supplement. It was the busiest I’ve ever been, but also the most fulfilled and creatively motivated I’ve ever been.”

Herbert’s work, which she describes as “cute art for bad bitches,” is sold on a variety of canvasses: bucket hat, beanies, baseball hat, bandana, tote bags, stickers, T-shirts, crewnecks/hoodies, beanies, baseball hats, and mugs. She wants to eventually lean into her sex-positive messaging by collaborating with sex toy brands and her bright, colorful style by working with make-up brands or work with a sneaker company. 

For Herbert and her customers, it’s the dichotomy of her brash feminist messaging set against her “sweet” imagery that really makes her stand out. “Dame is unique because a lot of times if your work is feminine, it’s assumed that it’s cutesy or soft. In my work, I’m drawing bubble letters that remind you to ‘Be Repulsive’, and I created an entire series to encourage sex positivity and consent. It makes me happy to be myself in my art and connect with people when I do, as well as to feel like every new client I work with is a best friend I hadn’t met yet.”


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