We had the good fortune of connecting with Dani Pelkola and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dani, how do you think about risk?
I would say every small business owner becomes familiar with risk. You learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve taken so many risks with this business since day one! But sometimes the riskiest moves come with the biggest payoff. I think the biggest risk I took was rebranding during a pandemic, but I feel that it paid off in the end. On a personal note, the biggest risk I’ve taken is having a baby with my boyfriend even though we hadn’t been together very long. I wouldn’t recommend that to everyone, but luckily I found my soul mate in him.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
LOCAL – Fresh Vintage is a brand that is a curation of relaxed, easy-to-wear vintage. I think there’s still a large portion of consumers who see vintage as old Gunny sack dresses or corsets. I want to show people that you can easily incorporate vintage into your everyday wardrobe. Plus, buying vintage or secondhand is supporting small business and so much better for the environment! I actually think this is the most difficult time I’ve had in this business! For awhile this was just my side hustle while I was getting my Bachelor’s Degree. But once I graduated, I committed to this brand full time, and with that came a LOT of pressure. I would say that one way to overcome any of that is to put out work that you are excited about. I find that if I’m excited about a product, my customers usually are too. They can sense that authenticity.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are SO many great small businesses in Ventura that I could go on and on and ON about! Best bars would include The Saloon, Ventiki, and the Star Lounge. Best restaurants would be Rum Fish, Immigrant Son, and Fluid State. Best place to grab a coffee (or my personal fave, an iced oatmilk latte) is a tie between Prospect Coffee Roasters and Palm and Boy. Best breweries are Made West and Topa Topa (visit Chelsea on Sundays for a yoga class and pint of beer at Topa!). If you’re looking for amazing gifts, I would stop by Findings Market for artisan-crafted goods and some custom candles from Dusk. Then I’d grab some beautiful plants from Fiddle and Fern. On Friday afternoons I would take a pottery class from Sara at Parlor Room Goods (she’s amazing!) and then grab a michelada from Taqueria Tepatitlan. On Saturday mornings I would definitely grab some authentic hummus from Moms Products at the downtown Farmers Market and then stop for a bloody mary at Cajun Kitchen. I could seriously write a book on all the amazing things to do in Ventura.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First, I would love to shoutout my family, specifically my son’s father Josiah and my mom. They supported my business through the ups and downs of me getting my Bachelor’s Degree, having a baby, and navigating a pandemic. Second, I would like to shoutout Women’s Economic Ventures, or WEV of Ventura County. They are committed to helping female small business owners and their support and encouragement has been invaluable.
Dani Pelkola Candace Fox Film Nicole Wise Photography