Designer Profile: Iona Inglesby

Having your DNA embedded into a personalised print might sound like something from another world, but creative talent Iona Inglesby is doing just that. Her company, Dot One, was launched in 2015 through Iona’s love of science and design within the world of genetics. She is one of just a few small businesses proving that science and art are in fact the perfect “mixture” in creating innovative, unique products.

Dot one aims to bring genetics out of the lab and into the hands of the public in a fun and informative way. Not only is DNA used in her prints but Iona has also worked the design into textiles, creating lambswool scarves and tartan, a technique she picked up at university. “I graduated from university with a project where I designed a fabric using my family’s DNA code,” Iona explains, “You are 99.9% genetically identical to every other human, leaving just 0.1% which makes you.. You.” So how does she do it? From a simple cheek swab. From this, Iona can analyse a part of your DNA which can identify you from the other 7.4 billion people on earth. Using a special algorithm she translates the raw data into colour, creating a design personalised to you on a molecular level.

Aside from Dot One, Iona is a Design Consultant at GENEU, a company which uses the world’s first ‘DNA Lab on a microchip’ technology. After university she didn’t realise she could start a business from her work so she took at a job as a designer for a DNA personalised skincare startup in 2014. Whilst there she started to receive commissions for DNA personalised design work from friends, which grew to friends of friends, and before she knew it, there was a market there. Eventually she quit her job and launched Dot One full time.

As with any small business, Iona admits to making the odd hiccup along the way. “I’ve learnt a huge amount in the last 10 months,” she explains when discussing her development, “mainly from making fairly big mistakes and lots of changes!” Her big break came when she sent out a press release and Dot One was picked up by WIRED. Since then she has launched on curated marketplace notonthehighstreet.com and has also partnered with 2 large genomic databases in the US, meaning their customers can buy products with their existing DNA data. On her launch to the small business platform, Iona says “It’s been great being on NOTHS as there’s a lot of exposure and opportunities which arise from being one of their Partners”.

Iona has just sent off a Dot One product for a customer in London – a DNA personalised scarf. “It’s a Christmas present for his wife – very organised in September!”. Of her customers, Iona describes most of them as women especially when it comes to the textiles products, but she has more of a general mix for the prints. Most of them work in the science/data fields, with her most memorable gift coming from students who bought their biology teacher a DNA scarf.

Looking to the future, Iona discusses her new launch of personalised activewear and her recent partnership with The Neuro Foundation – an organisation which supports people with the genetic disorder Neurofibromatosis. Iona’s goal is to eventually set up a system where a certain percentage of Dot One sales will be donated to the foundation in order to raise awareness and help those affected by the condition.

For more information about Iona and Dot One please visit http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/dotone

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James Cole

James Cole is the Group Editor for Sailfin Magazines and oversees our titles and content creation. He's literally the person who dots our 'i's and crosses our 't's across our Home and Garden Magazine section, our Family and Parenting Magazine, our Life & Wellbeing Magazine, Our Travel and Tourism Magazine, and our Business and Work sections.