Meet Danielle Ferrari of Valhalla Resale!
Hey, babes! Meet Danielle Ferrari of Valhalla Resale. I met Danielle at our launch party in June at Hazel + Dot. She’s kind, a fabulous listener, & she’s created something awesome. We’ve all had those “I have nothing to wear moments”, and Danielle has worked hard to create a ‘collective closet’ where we can feel comfortable in our own skin while we shop for unique clothing that we can borrow or purchase. Something many of us might not be aware of is that the fashion industry is the second largest cause of pollution in the world. When Danielle learned this, it led her down a path towards sustainability in all areas of her life. This passion has culminated in Ferrari having a tankless water heater, solar panels, and to drive a Prius, to name a few. But it’s also leading to a growing business based on sustainable fashion with the ability to do what she loves. I’m so excited to introduce you to Danielle. Enjoy her words. -G
Tell us about yourself and what you do!
The day I arrived in Tampa 10 years ago, I absolutely fell in love with Seminole Heights. The historic homes and friendly neighbors; I instantly knew this was “home” so I decided to settle down and purchase a house here. At the time, I had no clue I’d eventually become a part of the small business community.
Today, I am the owner of Valhalla, a unique clothing boutique that helps women fulfill the ultimate fantasy of having everything to wear. Valhalla offers a clothing membership where members can rent everyday clothing - members gain full and unlimited access to our collective closet while maintaining three items out at a time. We also sell and purchase used clothing and accessories.
How did your business begin?
I used to work in civil construction as an office manager. I loved wrangling huge projects into success. After ten years with no hope of promotion, I decided to leave and forge my own path instead of relying on others to see my potential. I knew I wanted to start a business, but wasn’t exactly sure what kind of business. I didn’t have any “big ideas”, so I thought I would do something I had a passion for-- clothing. As I was doing research for a business plan, I came across an eye-opening statistic from a study conducted by Threadflip: most women only wear their clothing in the first month of the purchase and then usage per item drops drastically, almost to zero.
I was floored, even though I knew I did the same thing. I imagined the world’s closets bursting at the seams, going unused, wasted. I knew there was a better way. Valhalla was born from my concern for sustainability and the desire to shop. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to own a boutique and the thought of providing women a place to shop guilt-free was really exciting to me.
What’s 1 challenge you’ve faced and 1 success you’ve had since you’ve created your business?
Women often fall in love with the store as soon as they walk in and dive into our selection. I hear things like “I am going to get into SO much trouble in here!” from new customers because they’re excited about the store and are thinking about everything they could bring home. Traditionally, that would mean purchasing clothing, but at Valhalla, you can’t get into trouble (well, if you have a membership anyway). So, I’d say, helping women change their mindset when it comes to how they consume clothing has been my biggest challenge. I’m helping turn lifelong shopping behaviors on their head. It’s hard for people to believe in things that sound too good to be true and “you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot” certainly falls into that category.
As far as success, my proudest achievement in my life so far has been to open Valhalla and do something no one has ever done before. It was incredibly thrilling seeing the idea through to execution. When I initially had the idea, I knew that this was something that I just had to do but I had no idea how I could actually see it through from idea to a functioning clothing store since I had never done anything like it before. And with no other businesses to model the store after, I had to do all the work to figure it out myself. It took quite a bit of time, research, and brainstorming but I eventually got the logistics worked out and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.
When are you at your happiest?
I’m at my absolute happiest after a long day of work, the kind that lets me happily drift to sleep, looking forward to the next day.
What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?
This is something that I struggle with, but my best approach is to look at things logically and look for solutions that I can implement rather than dwelling on the problem directly. Dwelling on problems rather than solutions will make you lose your hair, believe me, I know from experience.
What are you grateful for?
I’m most grateful for Valhalla’s members, they are truly amazing, inspiring, and encouraging women. I’m happy to see them every time they come in and luckily, I see our members often. We’re have member appreciation parties and I’m always really excited to have them all meet each other.
What’s 1 personal goal and 1 business goal you plan to accomplish this year?
When you own a business, especially a new business, all your personal goals are business goals. I’d like to continue to grow Valhalla’s members. I love seeing the joy that access to our limitless closet brings to our members and knowing how much better it is for the environment than traditional consumption. I know that I’m helping work towards a healthier environment the more members we take on.
Where can you be found on a Tuesday afternoon?
I’m at Valhalla Tuesday afternoons, probably doing laundry or processing new inventory. We get new inventory and returns every single day so the laundry never ends. Luckily, I find doing laundry relaxing; I can let my mind wonder.
A Sunday morning?
I start Sunday mornings with a 10 minute, head-clearing walk to Valhalla. Usually, the very first thing I do when I get to work is pick out new outfits for our members so they can start the work week off on the right foot. I’ve been very surprised by how satisfying I find shopping for others.
Finish these sentences:
I love: what I do. I’m grateful every day that I made the decision to start this business. It’s been incredibly liberating being in control of my own success. I’m often found on my one day off at work, not necessarily to catch up on work that I’m behind on but more because it’s my favorite place. Everyone should be so lucky to work at their absolute favorite place.
I’m always looking for: a challenge. I’ve always been a person that succeeds most when met with a difficult task, so I’m always looking for new ways to challenge myself.
My inspiration is: sustainability. It’s what inspired the idea for my business model and it’s what drives my business decisions, even down to the types of cleaning products we use in the store.
I’ll never: compromise my principles. Sustainability is at the core of my business and it always will be. Valhalla may evolve overtime, but sustainability will always be at its heart.