Carol 'Dusty' Seddon's first desert experience was in and around the Mojave near Apple Valley in the mid-90’s accompanying a group of friends from an Orange County college, who were coming out to perform archeological digs. Dusty immediately fell in love with the feel of the desert – the dry air, the quiet and so much different than what she’d know in the suburbs. On these digs they mostly found tools, stones used in cooking, and maybe bits of pottery.
In October of 2005, returning from a Mitchell Caverns trip, Dusty was looking for a more adventurous route back home to Orange County. She pulled out a map and found a route that would bring her through Amboy, to a place she’d heard of called, Joshua Tree.
As dark fell, Dusty found a camping spot at Indian Cove and on exiting her tent the next morning, looking around at the colors, boulders, textures, says, “It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced”. In this episode, Dusty tells about a gift from the Park Ranger who showed up to her site in the morning.
Dusty made it a point to return to Joshua Tree within a year. Those trips continued, becoming every six months, then more frequent – sometimes camping, other times staying at the Joshua Tree Inn. Just seeing the landscape along the highway seemed enough - three years after her steady trips out, she finally went into Joshua Tree National Park and was pleasantly surprised by what she discovered.
As much as she loved coming to and recharging in this special getaway place, Dusty felt she could never live here with the extreme summer and winter temperatures and then, there was how figuring out how she would make a living.
After ten years of visiting, Dusty met and began dating someone who lived in Joshua Tree. He pointed out how stressful her life in Orange County, CA was and suggested she give a move to the desert some serious consideration. Dusty admits she did not possess the ‘blind faith’ others seemingly had when making their journeys here. Sitting in her car in public parking lot one day on a lunch break, Dusty saw a moving truck and took that as a sign to make the move - and continued to ponder what she would do when she got here.
With a love of clothing since her early teens, Dusty shopped often in local vintage, resale and thrift stores. Her sense of the owners of these shops was, 'they had the life'. While still working full-time, she often wondered how she might make a go of selling clothing on the side, but with most of her energy going to her full time work, she just could never see it happening. Having brought all the clothing with her to the desert, as Dusty was unpacking it, she began to realize what an exceptional collection she had and thought she needed to begin selling them.
A chance encounter at the local Punk Rock Sewing Circle accelerated Dusty's dream and soon after, she was opening 'Dusty Deserette' in the Sun Alley Shops in downtown Joshua Tree. Dusty celebrated four years in business on February 13, 2020.
Though Dusty didn’t set out to have a vintage clothing shop, she has found that much of what she has sourced for the shop is vintage and she continues to learn more about the various facets of that fashion genre. She calls her shop 'a fashion shack of eclectic clothing for guys and gals'.
Dusty says she's found life in the desert to be more fulfilling and authentic and is currently is renovating a camper she'll stock with clothing to travel to flea markets and do pop-ups on the road.
FB: Dusty Deserette