Becca Mueller paired her love of fashion with a keen sense of order and detail to launch her now flourishing small business, Copper & Oak Designs
Nothing is left for chance when Bradford resident Becca Mueller designs and creates her customized shirts and sweaters.
“I definitely measure everything,” Mueller said. “Measure six times, press once.”
Mueller is the owner of Copper & Oak Designs, a business she created in March 2021 during the heart of the pandemic when the weeks felt long because the social bubbles were small.
While she worked in sales Monday to Friday, she couldn’t go anywhere or see anyone Saturdays or Sundays. She decided to create the company to pair her love of fashion with her keen sense of order and detail and her inability to leave the house due to the pandemic into something creative.
Her primary focus is shirts and sweaters, although she has designed robes for wedding parties, drinkware and key chains. While she does create some unisex clothing, it is primarily a female line and most of her shoppers are women — although she often does have men calling for birthdays and holidays asking for gift suggestions for the women in their lives.
All of the clothing Mueller uses comes from North America: The t-shirts come from a manufacturer in the United States and the rest from Canada. The clothing is privately labeled and then Mueller personalizes them either with his own designs created “late at night when I am trying to sleep,” or those he creates with his clients.
“All the design work is done on the computer and the physical design is cut with a vinyl machine and then pressed manually into the item at very high heat and pressure.”
Mueller works with a few local Bradford companies, including Flickering Lantern & Co., Thunder’s Run, Summerlyn Pet Hospital, and Sweet B’s, all who ordered their uniforms from Copper & Oak Designs.
“Owner Bonnie and I personally curate and design an exclusive collection that is available for purchase only at Sweet B’s.”
Mueller has also created shirts for members of the South Simcoe Police Service to wear for a fundraising event and last month created 241 jerseys for the Pink Turf Soccer League in Toronto.
“It’s really an exciting time,” Mueller said. The work is time consuming as Mueller manually cuts out the unnecessary parts of the design before laying it down on the item and pressing it.
“I’ve heard horrible stories of other businesses who eyeball something and then time goes on and someone orders the same thing for a gift or in another color and it’s a completely different placement. That would horrify me, so I measure and record everything. It’s my name and face associated with the brand, so I do everything in my power to deliver consistent and accurate work every time.”
She also doesn’t guess what kind of designs people would like. When she creates the designs and sayings, Mueller runs them by friends and family to make sure they ring true.
“I don’t want to come across as an unauthentic person.”
Mueller, who is married and is the dog mom to Winston, a pug, and Bruce, a standard golden doodle, says she loves all her designs, but what she is currently loving most is turning children’s handwriting and drawings into graphics printed on clothing .
“I think they’re adorable and I love that their drawings get to come to life. They are so special.”
While Copper & Oak Designs is getting busier, Mueller said he tries to support small and local as much as possible, although he does offer world-wide shipping has had limited orders as far away as England. She, herself, doesn’t have the desire to go big.
“I don’t want to be a big conglomerate,” Mueller said. “I like the smallness of it, the small community feel of it. When you work with local companies and you are a small company, you get this feeling we are in this together.”