by Jennifer Bisson
Naevi’s Oddities is an established handmade dicemaker who specializes in Geek Chic, not only making fantastic, unique dice inspired by a variety of fandoms, but also jewelry and accessories to go along with them! Join the Dice Maniacs’ Club as we chat with Jaimie Rennie, the owner and creative mind behind these artistic creations, as we find out her journey as a creator, learn more about some of her specialty items, and hear her thoughts on the future of handmade dice.
How did you get started in making dice?
I had already been working with resin for a few years when I first saw molds for making dice. As a general nerd and D&D lover, it was something I knew I had to try! It’s insane to think that due to that initial interest, I found myself falling down a rabbit hole of learning how to make my own molds and became a bit of a pigment hoarder!
What was the inspiration for your business name?
Oh geez- I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this one. In college, I partook in a boffer weapon sport, Dagorhir. The group I practiced and “fought” with actually named me “Navi” because even though I was the only girl- at 5’ tall, I was always the loudest and hardest to ignore. When I started selling my work, I was primarily designing fantasy cameos, and adding resin, polymer clay and who knew what in the future made me aware that I didn’t want to limit my business by using words such as “jewelry” when I’ve always had an array of interests- hence “Naevi’s Oddities” was born!
What is the most challenging part about handmaking dice for you? What is the most rewarding?
Honestly, I have found my own mental barriers to be the most challenging part of being a dice maker. When I started making dice, there were (at most) 4-5 other companies handmaking dice. Now there are hundreds it seems and I have found that I often struggle with wondering if I am good enough. Between my ADD and self doubt/depression, I often hit a wall. It can be hard to stand out in a field of beautiful flowers and I often question if I can pull it off.
On the flipside, I find working one on one with those in the community makes me happiest- specifically in the area of creating dice using the addition of cremation ashes, fur, feathers to make sets for those who have lost a loved one, be it pet or human. I find myself pulled in and get extremely invested in such projects.
You recently got a beautiful new set of master dice to make a mold from. Would you like to talk a little bit about that, for people who aren’t familiar with how dice-making works?
Of course! I worked with the (AMAZING) Blue Mimic on Instagram to create a set of master dice. These dice have a custom font and my logo on the high numbers of the D6 & D20 and are a precision (sharp) edged design. Basically, what this means is I can use this set to make multiple sets of molds that I can turn into matching custom sets for my shop! This is something I’ve been working towards for a long time. I’ve hit several roadblocks (including purchasing a 3D printer I struggled to use and even getting scammed out of the money when procuring my first master set from another provider), so I’m really excited to offer a design completely unique to my shop after working towards it for so long!
How important do you feel it is to have a mold or dice style that stands out from other creators?
I think it has become a very important part of being a successful shop long term with the popping up of dice making shops all over the internet. I think it’s less important than making sure you offer a quality product overall as well as high quality customer service, but it seems to be a defining factor in shops that stand out overall anymore.
You have a personal store site, an Etsy store, and your Facebook page, plus a Patreon. Do you find different avenues are better at managing different parts of your business? How do you keep up with them all?
I find that my facebook page is best for just keeping everyone informed on what I’m doing and find it’s easy for people to find me there and ask questions/do giveaways/etc. It’s my main posting site. Etsy is where I started and because I have so many followers on there, I find it hard to leave despite Etsy being less supportive of artesian work these days. My website is where I would like to think I do the majority of my sales and where everything goes first as they don’t penalize me for listing items. I direct people to my website over etsy because once I list on etsy, I have to increase the price to account for Etsy taking a portion of each sale. More and more these days.
Patreon hasn’t drawn much interest, but I do post unique info and projects I’m working on in there for those who subscribe. There are opportunities to get early access to sales, special custom options and such, but since no one has joined those tiers, it’s just lots of works in progress and updates in the shop I don’t necessarily share elsewhere. It can definitely be challenging to keep up with everything and I prioritize Facebook and website over everything with special updates in Patreon and Etsy last.
You also offered subscription boxes for a while; how was that experience?
I really loved it! Unfortunately the artist who created my sticker art was a close friend and she passed away unexpectedly in January. Since then, I haven’t found anyone to create stickers for me within the budget we worked with. I’d like to do it again in the future, but maybe start advertising once I have the first quarter already ready to ship. My ADD does tend to get in the way of work!
You offer both fully numbered sets as well as dice with an image on one of the sides. This is often a hotly debated topic among dice lovers. Do you personally prefer dice with a symbol/image or pure numbers?
I’ve mentioned my nerdiness before, so I’ll try to keep this short lol I LOVE images since you can really share your interests and make each set stand out with the images. My image D6’s have remained my most popular style (also includes my Critical Role designs!)
You make a lot of new designs. Do you ever find yourself missing older designs you’ve made before or are you always excited to create different things?
I miss designs from time to time, but I also get bored easily, so I’m always looking for the next design that catches my interest. I’m trying to be better about keeping some designs as “stock” designs, but I also like to think I’m making art…which feels a lot less so when I’m making the same thing over and over again. When I find a style that garners a lot of attention, I do try to restock it for those that want it.
You also make other products, from boxes to jewelry. Do you find that creating one item makes you want to make other items in the same theme (like matching dice and boxes)?
Definitely! I love making multiple pieces in differing themes, especially when I find a color combo or character theme I really love- such as anime characters.
Making jewelry out of dice can be a hot topic, and yet many people love being able to wear their dice as well as play with them. Do you feel that using handmade dice to create dice jewelry makes more people happy with the idea of dice jewelry?
I mean, I end up with a lot of dice that aren’t playable pieces and turning those into jewelry or another usable medium just makes sense to me. That being said I DO find it hard to turn a playable piece into a piece of jewelry. It makes me cringe to think after all the work it takes to make a piece playable, someone might decide to drill through it and wear it- but if they want to wear it instead of roll it, who am I to judge?! Lol
There has been a huge boom in handmade dice makers. Do you think this something that will continue to grow, and how will that affect people who are selling the dice they make?
This is a totally loaded question that I’m going to answer to the best of my ability without offending anyone…hopefully. Lol I think it WILL continue to grow. I think we will see people being more and more careful about who they buy from though as not only is the market saturated, but there is a very wide range of quality and skill out there with very different costs. I think over time, we’ll continue to see the shops that maintain high quality with reasonable prices will be the ones that people keep going to and suggesting to others. I think a lot of people open a shop before they are ready and it hurts them in the long run.
When you create custom orders for someone, what is that process like, working with someone else’s inspiration or request?
First, I find it’s making sure I can actually provide the design they’re wanting. It is always daunting, worrying if the idea you have in mind fits with the custom creator’s idea/hopes. I always stress at first once I do throw my thoughts out there. At the same time, I really love the challenge and find some of my best work has begun as a custom order.
You have done custom memorial dice, including fur and ashes. What do you find the most rewarding about being able to do things like this for people?
The most rewarding part is definitely getting to feel like I’m meeting the person/animal I’m working with. Designing something special and unique that will hopefully bring a smile and good memories to the requester. Often the ashes or fur/feathers come with an unexpected letter that both breaks my heart and helps me understand the relationship between the requester and the loved one they lost. The custom orders like these are always best when I also feel a sense of loss. It’s weird and embarrassingly hard to explain, but the closer I am-the more personality I can bring to the work.
You have offered dice with hand-painted sides before. What special challenges does this bring, and what do you like most about painting on dice?
Oh man, errors…so many errors even when I do it now. Some days it’s just repaint after repaint. It can be so much fun though- what’s not to love about a blank canvas?!
What is your favorite part about having a table at cons and festivals, and what advice would you give to someone who is interested in attending such an event but has never been?
Oh! I love dressing up and meeting people! Nothing is more rewarding than meeting the people that have helped you become what you are! Listening to their stories and putting a face to the name you see on the computer- there is NOTHING like it! I would tell anyone interested in going to a con or festival to 100% take the time to do it! The atmosphere is like NOTHING else and if you’re sure to find people who enjoy the same things! I always try to wear a shirt/dress/costume that will draw in people interested in the same type of things as me, so there is always something to start a conversation! I’m a huge introvert until you get me to a Renaissance festival or a comic con and then I’ll discuss aaallll the nerdy things all day without getting remotely tired. It’s such a rewarding experience getting to share your love and work with others in person!
Do you ever create dice with the intent of selling them, but just can’t bear to let them go?
Oh for sure! I have a Sailor Moon set I made myself that I never even photographed as I have no intention of making them in the future. Another set made for a Druid that ended up being made for MY Druid lol it happens more than I’d like to admit!
You have a d20 with a skull inside of it—what unique challenges are involved with making a die with something so large inside?
My skull D20’s were my first successful shop design actually and it has evolved over the past few years lol (or maybe 18 months or so? Lol) Centering and sanding the skull to make sure the entire skull fits into the mold without warping the shape BEFORE the final setting is a struggle every time- which is why the timeline on shipping can be pretty long sometimes. I get tired of making them and have to take a break before starting them again.
What is it like being an artist and creator during these trying times, with the vast changes in not only the world but also our daily lives?
It’s scary most days. I deal with some pretty extreme anxiety and making dice is usually something that I find calming. I have found that taking things day by day helps me stay grounded, but to say I don’t find myself worrying about what I’ll do if things don’t get better over time would be a lie. I can’t stop it, so I try to focus on what I can control as much as possible.
What is your favorite part of the dice collecting community?
I have found everyone to be so laid back and genuinely inviting. I love how much positivity most everyone brings to the table and the creativity of the group is truly inspiring. As far as communities go, the dice community is so accepting of everyone. I know I can be such a mess sometimes and I feel like it’s not held against me when I open up and admit I’m overwhelmed or struggling with one thing or another. I can’t imagine a more amazing community!
Be sure to check out Jaimie’s website, as well as the official Naevi’s Oddities Instagram, for more photos of her beautiful handmade dice and to buy—or even commission—a set for yourself!