Interview: iHotto's Devon Dorfer

Cupcake-swillin’ “inventor” schools us on sugar and spice and everything nice — plus making out!



Behind the Scenes With…
iHotto creator, Devon Dorfer

by kelly lee

The Vitals

Occupation: Inventor, iHotto.com

Birthdate/Sign: February 2, 1977/Aquarius

Current Digs: Chelsea, New York City

The 411:
Self-described “inventor,” Devon Dorfer, and her partner in crime, and boyfriend, Peter Finn, ditched their 9-5 lives on the West Coast to pursue a life more fun in New York City — one filled with pink cupcakes and dripping ice cream cones and where the mistress of the universe is Hello Kitty. Well, we think that’s just super duper sweet, so we decided to poke, prod and ask this yumtastic designer what inspires her sugary, sometimes sarcastic, designs. Grab a cupcake and read on.

All Up In Your Business

We love how your sweet designs are both nostalgic and irreverent. What inspires you when you’re creating? Is it safe to assume you’re a child of the ’80s?

Yeah, I’m a child of the late ’80s/early ’90s. Yo MTV Raps, and all that. I’ve also always been super obsessed with Hello Kitty. What other girl do you know that never grows up. That’s what inspires me most.

We think it’s pretty snazzy that you and your partner in crime, Peter, decided to up and leave your West Coast 9-to-5 lives for a life more fun. What prompted that decision and would you recommend that others follow your lead?

The whole 9-5 thing was cool for a bit, but we wanted a little adventure. I might be a little poorer now, but I’m definitely having a lot more fun. It’s all about checking out life.

Give us the lowdown on your background: where you grew up, where you went to school, your heart’s deepest desires.

I grew up in Palm Springs, California. The desert was a great place to grow up, being so close to LA there were lots of creative folks around, especially in my family. But my real California home is San Francisco, where I went to the school of hard knocks. Just kidding, there were no hard knocks, just lots of fun.

You’re making your dreams come true in big, bad, beautiful NYC. How do you like it so far, and what city’s next on your conquering-of-the-world agenda?

New York City is crazy intense and super competitive. Everyone I know is doing something creative or making something cool. It’s great cuz you’re constantly challenged and pushed to remember who you are and what you’re all about. As for what’s next, we’re thinking London, Paris, and on a more for real tip, Laguna Beach. Sun and sand sounds pretty good every time chilly December rolls around.

Do you have an art or design background or are you self-taught?

Well, I don’t really consider myself a designer so much as I think of myself as an inventor. I have been inventing since I can remember. My first fashion shoot was at age eight. I played the stylist/photographer for Ayers. Did I mention, Ayers is my fave dog of all time? The best model I ever worked with!

Like you, I’m all for prolonging adulthood. How long do you think we can all keep up the charade?

Actually, charades is my favorite game. Forever!

Can you give us a hint of what’s next in IHottoland?

I don’t know yet, I haven’t got the memo. Actually, I just want to keep having fun and making people laugh, or think twice about what they just saw. And while I’m at it, make enough money so I can eat as many pink cupcakes as I want, and one day have a farm with mini horses, and tons of dogs, and a room that is a candy store. Pink of course.

We see that you sell some of your fab wares at fredflare.com, and we’re huge fans of the fred guys! Can you tell us how that all came about and what it’s been like working with such a cool team?

We love the boys at FF. I don’t know, I think they saw us in a magazine or something. We have been going on double dates ever since. They’re geniuses.

I love your “Almost Doesn’t Count Tee.” It reminds me of my own saying: “Tried is just another word for failed.” Muhahahahahhaa. But seriously, where do these ideas and images come from, the undeniable mix of bitter and sweet?

Everywhere. From something a nun at Catholic school used to say 20 years ago (“almost doesn’t count”)to my favorite eats, like cupcakes and ice cream. I’m really obsessed with Hello Kitty and cute stuff from Japan. My childhood, and of course my crazy family, are always an inspiration. We like to think of ourselves as creating our own little world. The world of iHotto is fun, sassy, over the top, and sometimes crazy with a lot of sweet.

What’s mom think about your “1 Nite Stan” pack that includes a breath mint, a condom, candy cigs, Aleve, and an ‘I’ll Call You” button?

Don’t know if Mom gets everything we do, but that’s probably a good thing. Right? She’s known I’m nuts for years. I guess it’s expected. All I can say is she is super, super supportive. We call her “Mama iHotto.”

What’s been your biggest struggle so far in running iHotto?

Not sure what the biggest struggle is, but I certainly know my favorite part of running iHotto. It’s hiring cute boys (like my boyfriend) and bossing him around.

Biggest success to date?

Our biggest success is just having fun with what we’re doing. Sounds cheesy, but it’s for reals. It’s also cool paying the rent while we’re at it.

How do you and Peter enjoy working together?

We leave each other for three hours at a time, and come back apologizing. Rally though, it’s super awesome. We make a good team. GO TEAM.

Where can we buy your yummy iHotto goods?

iHotto was just born at the end of last year, so for now we sell directly from our site, through the geniuses at fredflare.com (we love those guys!), and through about 15 boutiques throughout the states. And, oh yeah, we sell the goods out of the airports in Atlanta, San Francisco, and LA. How funny is that?

Where would you like to be in 10 years and 4 months?

As long as I’m still playing charades, I’ll be all right.

Stylin’ and Profilin’

Describe your personal style.

Tacky meets classy. Out of control meets conformed. Rules without a rule.

What people in the fashion/design industry do you look up to?

Well, actually, my only fashion idol is Hello Kitty. She’s cute, she’s happy, and she never grows up. That’s what iHotto is all about.

Playing Favorites

Favorite NYC haunts?

Snacky’s for noodles and sake, Bar & Books where bad habits are still legal, and of course my corner store where I can get it all.


Fave shops, online and off?

Mini Mini Market, fredflare.com, Paper Boy, Tiffany’s, & Target.


Favorite way to procrastinate?

One Life to Live and Starting Over.

Favorite magazine?

Giant Robot and a little US Weekly can make a girl smile.

Fave city?

Tokyo for sure, but Hong Kong ain’t bad.

Fave food?

Sushi, curly fries, and my Mom’s cupcakes.

Fave word?

Duh!

Fave color?

Pink, of course.

Fave flick?

King of Bluegrass.

In the spirit of Inside the Actors Studio, your favorite curse word?

Why, I Aattaaa….

More importantly, Seth or Ryan?

No Clue. I guess Ryan because my cousin’s name is Rosie. I love her and so I love the letter R.

Anything else we should know?

Pink is best, and lavender is the new pink. People just don’t know it yet.

Please turn the tables and ask us a question!

Here at iHotto, we’re super into making-out. Besides lip-gloss, Big Red gum, a heart-shaped mirror, and a “Kiss Me” button, our Make-Out Session pack includes a “Kissing Tips” card. You got any pointers on what makes a good smooch? Or even better, any funny stories about a really bad make-out session? If that’s too up-close-and-personal for ya, we also would love to know if you think unicorns are for real? Oh yeah, and another thing, do you think Santa buys his own toys or does he still have the elves do all the work?


Well, Big Red and lip gloss are faboo of course, but all I need is a cupcake and an appletini and I’m ready to roll. Just kidding, Ma! Unicorns are absolutely real and anyone who begs to differ just has to talk to my herd of 12 or so, and then they’ll be believers, too. Don’t be hatin’ the magical flying horse! Regarding the jolly ol’ guy in the sky, I hate to say it, but he’s working those darlin’ lil elves to the bone. Not to worry though, there’s chatter that the elves are unionizing (shhhhh!), so be prepared for a strike come Christmas time (sorry kiddies, a.k.a. chumps!). Which is when it really will come in handy that you’re an inventor — can’t rely on Santa or those rascally elves, you gotta rely on yourself. Ho, ho, ho!


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