Tuesday, April 29, 2014

She Lives Creatively Spotlight: Dannie Huggins

"No one gets out of living alive, and NOW is the time to fly!"
~Dannie Huggins, owner of Sol Shine
Each month I love bringing you a new Q&A style interview with a different creative entrepreneurial woman who is living creatively, blazing her own trail, and writing her own rules along the way. I know there are still 2 days left in April. But I was SO inspired by May's spotlight that I decided to share it with you early!
Featured in May's "She Lives Creatively Spotlight" is Dannie Huggins! She is the owner of, and creative visionary behind, Sol Shine, an eco-lightened fashion boutique and art gallery in Denver. Dannie's wisdom and tenacious perseverance to overcome her fears is sure to inspire you!
Dannie Huggins living creatively at Sol Shine
Marcella: Congratulations on the success of your business,  Sol Shine, in the LoHi district of downtown Denver! What was your inspiration for creating the Eco-Lightened fashion boutique?

Dannie: Thank you! My inspiration was when I was living in Hawaii. I found a pair of board shorts that were made out of recycled plastic bottles and I knew INSTANTLY that I could help save the planet through fashion and art!

Marcella: As an artist, I am always looking for new places to show my art work, so I really appreciate your decision to incorporate a monthly art gallery into your boutique! Did you always know rotating art would be part of your business model?

Dannie: Yes! I am an artist myself and I’ve always wanted to have a creative center or art gallery. But I had a deeper desire to help make a difference on the planet and knew that art wasn’t enough. So when I found clothing made out of recycled plastic bottles, the hybrid concept was a PERFECT FIT!

Marcella: What sort of work did you do before you opened Sol Shine? Did you always have an entrepreneurial spirit?

Dannie: LOL! I have always been in Sales and in Customer Service., albeit this is my first time in retail.  My grandfather owned a B-B-Q restaurant and I was raised in the service industry. My grandfather, late Bennett Shotwell, taught me to work hard, to appreciate the dollar, and to see the experience through the customer’s eyes.  After he sold the company I went into the corporate world, Sales and Marketing, and quickly realized this is NOT FOR ME! LOL! I’ve always had the goal to open my own business by the age of 30, which I did. In fact, Sol Shine opened on my grandfathers’ birthday, November 28, 2012.

Marcella: What types of road blocks did you have to overcome to open your business?

Dannie: There were a bunch, but I think the biggest is FEAR. Fear of failure, fear of stepping into the unknown, fear of investing everything I had into something that I believe in and no one really saw my vision until it started to unfold. After my grandfather passed away I thought to myself, “No one gets out of living alive, and NOW is the time to fly!” So I jumped. LOL!

Marcella: Did you ever considering giving up on your dream of being self-employed? If so, how did you keep persevering?

Dannie: Sure I did! It is not easy starting a business and learning a brand new industry as you go. Many sleepless nights I thought to myself, “What the hell did I just do?!” But always to follow, “THE UNIVERSE SUPPORTS ME!!!!” I believe in making the planet a better place, and even if I fail, just knowing that I have given it my very best shot, I will die peacefully knowing I cared and did something about it.

Marcella: Since opening Sol Shine, what has been your proudest moment, a time when all the hard work, sweat, and tears, made it worth it?

Dannie: Proudest moment? Honestly I am still in a bit of disbelief that this happened and Sol Shine is thriving and I am living my dream. But I would have to say it is when customers thank me, and my staff, for doing this and for providing them a way to shop smarter while helping make a difference on the planet.  I get and give lots and lots of hugs every day!  This path has been extremely rewarding on many different levels!

Marcella: I imagine running your own business requires working long days. What does a typical day look like for you?

Dannie: I eat, sleep, and breath Sol Shine! But I love it and it doesn’t seem like work to me. I don’t have a “typical” day. The thing with retail is that you never know what is going to happen or when it is going to happen. 

Marcella: With as hard as you work, do you have time for a social life?

Dannie: LOL! Mmmm... I would say I am getting better at having a social life. But in reality I socialize all day long with my customers and I enjoy each interaction that I get to have with the people that walk through the doors. By the end of the day I am ready to read, paint, or just veg out with my pup!

Marcella: What are your go-to self-care practices (exercise, nutrition, etc.) that support your health and vitality so you can keep up with your busy career?

Dannie: Self-care practices include getting enough sleep and taking my vitamins. I recently sprained my ankle, but Rama, my pup, and I were running 3 miles every day. Mediation at night is key for me as well.  I turn on manifesting abundance-guided mediations or mediations that help me relax. Aroma therapy and yoga are other ways I try to take care of myself too!

Marcella: Any final words of advice for other entrepreneurial women who aspire to starting her own business?

Dannie: Something I realized a few years ago is that no one is going to do it for me, that I have to get it myself, and believe in it and not look for the answers outside of myself. I have had a challenging life, and not a lot of support ,so I was kind of forced to look within myself for the motivation and inspiration to do Sol Shine. And every obstacle I have had to overcome has been completely worth it because it got me to where I am today. I believe that we are all energy and we choose what we tune in to. I know we are ALL capable of achieving greatness, we just have to choose to eat, sleep, breath, our dreams – no matter what! And then one day you wake up and you are LIVING your dreams!! So get out there and know without a doubt in your mind (even if you do have doubt, LOL). Say and let it be a mantra that “The Universe Supports Me!”  BECAUSE IT DOES! LOVE AND LIGHT LADIES!!!

Marcella: Thank you Dannie! Love and Light!

To learn more about Sol Shine, visit http://shop.thesolshine.com/
Live creatively,
P.S. Join Dannie and me at Sol Shine on Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 5 - 8 pm for the opening reception for the May Artist Showcase. Sol Shine is located at 1501 Boulder St in the LoHi district of Denver.




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