We had the good fortune of connecting with Dynelly del Valle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dynelly, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I’m originally from Florida. My family is from Puerto Rico and I’m the first person in my family not to be born on the island, I grew up as an only child with a single mom who came from a very large family that still lived on the island. Being away from family, I grew up surrounded by lots of close friends. I learned a lot about community and creating family with those around me. I understand that creating community is an integral part of living and it really does take a village. I strive to make connections every day with the people I meet .
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
PIPPI + LOLA is a love letter to our local 4th Street neighborhood and the entire Long Beach community. Our space allows us to unite our community through the innate serenity and happiness that plants breathe into an environment. It’s not just a plant store, it’s a conversation space where we highlight traditionally marginalized makers and artists across Queer and Latinx diasporas. The physical building itself is an art piece that beautifies our Long Beach landscapes and gets people excited about walking down the street.
It all may seem like it just fell together, but truth be told, it’s been a long road of self discovery, sweat equity, and many a mistake to get here. I always knew that my passion was in all things nature, and that I wanted to create something that was meaningful and left a legacy, but I never really understood what it would take to get here. I took a leap from the traditional workplace with only a few thousand dollars in my pocket and no other safety net, but my heart was calling me to evolve into the next chapter in my herstory.
The biggest lesson I have learned over the last year and a half since opening my business, is patience. No one succeeds overnight and with success comes great sacrifices at times – whether that be financial, time with your family, or even just the psychological safety that comes with a 9-5 paycheck. It’s scary, you worry a lot about sales and are you meeting all local guidelines and marketing and what should you be buying and a plethora of other things, but at the end of the day, I feel it really comes down to doing things with intention and passion. I have come to really trust in that ethos. If I put positive energy and love into my craft, then good things will come. People over profits – whether those people be our clients or our staff or myself. We all just have to be kind to ourselves and each other.
That’s really all I ever want someone to take away from our interactions, whether they purchase something or just come in to bask in the jungly vibes. People make plants happy just as much as plants make people happy. Everything in this life is about just caring for each other.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would definitely do a fun day on the water renting a Duffy Boat from London boats and grabbing snacks and prossecco to enjoy the day with and later head over to the Bungalow for dinner. Another day we could do brunch at Claire’s and then head over to the Long Beach Museum of Art; continue the cultural experience by exploring all the unique shops on Retro Row on 4th Street and finish the day off with dinner at Lola’s. We would take a day and visit the historic grounds at the Rancho Los Alamitos Gardens. A day at the Aquarium of Long Beach and Shoreline Village is a must. Dinner at Nic’s on Second is one of our favorites as well as all the little shops along 2nd Street. Of course no week with me wouldn’t include a plant hop! We would have to visit all of my favorite plant stores in the city: All Time, Foliage LB, Vida Plant Shop, Golden Gardens at the Hangout, and of course PIPPI + LOLA.
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?
Oh man! Where do I start?! Obviously I absolutely must give a shout out to my family! My mother who always encouraged me to be brave, live life, and have fun. I also want to shout out to my partner Melbie who is the unsung hero in my story. She’s always in the background cheering for me and making sure all the wheels are turning. My kid Jackz who teaches me that it’s ok to just be yourself every day. And finally to all the artists and makers out there who allow me to showcase their work in my studio. You all INSPIRE me!
images by Hanna Bixel, Danielle Armstrong, Emily from Dig Magazine