We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristina Palmer and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Palmer, what role has risk played in your life or career?
By nature, I have always been a planner and typically the type of person who “plays it safe” and definitely not a risk taker. However when it comes to having your own business there IS such a thing as being “too safe.” What I means by this is that in order for your business to grow there is an inherent need to take some risks which can be either big or small depending on what you are willing or able to risk losing. For several years, as I was building my vintage business, I was treating it like a hobby (because, that’s really what it was), however, I would constantly find myself staying things like “I wish I could do this full time.” Though deep down I knew I would never feel comfortable or confident leaving the security of my corporate job with a steady paycheck and benefits. One of the the most impactful things that ever happened to me was losing my job due to COVID. It downright forced me to take a closer look at how I was living my life and viewing my job/career. It took me literally having nothing to lose to realize that I was fully capable of running my own business, and I learned a valuable lesson in taking risks. For years I had toyed with the idea of having my own space to sell my products but had every excuse under the sun as why that could not happen. When I lost my job, it forced me to reevaluate everything, I was able to clearly look at the risk vs. reward of taking that leap and ultimately decided to take a risk and opened my first shop inside of an antique mall. After I finally did it I found myself thinking “why didn’t I do this sooner,” and from there it really changed my whole perspective on risk taking and evaluating which risks to take. Now I am on the cusp of opening a second location with a bigger space and taking a bigger risk. I also just launched my home styling website last month and though it is still scary at times I have learned that sometimes you need to take a calculated risk in order to continue to grow your business.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The Salt Air Collective was born from a love of finding all things vintage. Starting as a hobby, The Salt Air Collective was an organic progression stemming from a lifetime of hunting for the next amazing vintage find. Salt Air Styled (saltairstyled.com) was a natural next step, taking my love for interior styling and bringing it to people’s homes and businesses. I’ve loved vintage items as long as I can remember. I love the hunt, I love their story and let’s be honest, they just don’t make things like they used to. One of the things I strive for in my shop is to curate items that I love, but also to have a little something for every budget. I aim to provide a range of price points so that there are options for as many people as possible. I have structured my styling business the same way, offering options that start with just visual advise to get you on the right track with you space at a much lower cost that having an interior designer come into your home to design it for you. I have also recently started offering geometric wall murals for your home or business. Something that has always been extremely important to me in having a community around what I do for a living. I love meeting new customers and other business owners and helping to support each other and build each other up. I like to say that in my life I have had many careers, and this is true. I managed to grow careers in retail operations, sales, and corporate retail sales and marketing thought my 20’s and early 30’s. I started The Salt Air Collective as a hobby because I really needed a creative outlet and wanted to do something I loved, even if it wasn’t what was paying the bills. The notion of a steady paycheck, benefits and a retirement plan are what kept me from starting my own business and doing what I really love for many years. It took me losing my job due to COVID to realize that there isn’t just one way to live your life or to be successful. Success is in the eye of the beholder, meaning that you should measure your success based on what is important to you in your life.

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?
Oh wow, this is a hard one because it feels like forever since we have been able to have visitors or take anyone anywhere but if for example my sister visited (we are very alike) we would definitely be hitting Long Beach to visit our favorite vintage shops. We would of course have to see my space at Gum’s Mall of Antiques & Collectibles (technically in Hawaiian Gardens but super close to LB), and Goods on Orange, a new collective of vintage and locally made goods, which I am super excited to be opening a space at in April. If we have timed their trip right we will be attending the Long Beach Antique Market or the Rose Bowl Flea Market for some more vintage shopping. It’s been so long since I have eaten at a restaurant but I’ve always been a fan of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, The Attic and The Potholder Cafe which are all in Long Beach.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many people throughout my life that have helped me to get to where I am today. Starting with my childhood best friend, Kerry, who sparked my love for thrifting and estate sales, and my amazing parents and sisters who have always encouraged me to be a strong woman. However, this year, when I took my hobby and made it a business, I really owe it to two amazing people. First, my amazing and supportive boyfriend, who is my constant hype man and always willing to help in any way he can. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to run this business without his continuous support and encouragement. Second, my best friend Niki, who has always been my biggest cheerleader and is the person who gave me the confidence to start the styling portion of my business (she basically kicked this baby bird out of the nest and said “you can do this).” I consider myself very lucky to have so many people in my life that constantly build me up and tell me I can be successful.

Website: saltairstyled.com

Instagram: thesaltaircollective

Other: TikTok: thesaltaircollective

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