“I just think women are so smart and capable, and they need to know that. The times are changing and it’s our chance to make a huge impact on this earth.”
Dani founder of Dazey LA, is one of the most fun, goal-oriented, positive and extraverted people you've ever met. Having dreams of starting her own graphic tee line from early on in her graphic designing days, she would seek advice from female entrepreneurs by living vicariously through their books and interviews. She quickly realized not only did she have the power to do what she wanted, but also to make a huge positive impact while doing it.
Dani thrives off of community and supporting fellow female friends and entrepreneurs. She is constantly looking for ways to blossom her spirit and brand, and ways to encourage others to engage in their own growth.
Her tees display various messages that are transpiring into a bigger movement through her fan base and community, but it is the overall story, happiness, and soul behind Dazey LA that is blowing up (in a good way) and keeps everyone intrigued.
Below, Dani shares her journey and talks about how much work actually goes into her seemingly perfect instagram, as well as why she finds it important to be vulnerable and transparent on video every day.
“Growing up I felt like women are always told how to act, what to become. I’m here to say you are strong and powerful... you can do whatever you want. Not only that, but you can succeed at it.”
Soul Shapers: Quick background and how you got into designing Tees/running Dazey LA...
Dani: I came from a very artistic family where pursuing art was encouraged! I went to a small fashion school in San Diego and majored in Fashion design. It was through that I ended up getting an internship for a graphic tee company and fell in love with the idea of combining art and fashion into one cool career! After some super random design jobs (not so glamorous ones…) I ended up landing a gig at the same place I interned.
Five years and many corporate design jobs later, I finally built up enough courage, experience, and savings to follow my dream of launching Dazey LA!
SS: What does your art mean to you?
Dani: Since it’s literally been a part of my life since I was born, I can’t imagine life without it!
When I was younger I struggled in school and my saving grace was being able to draw.. it became part of my identity at a very young age.
SS: Where do you find inspiration for your art?
Dani: All over!! I’m constantly stopping people in the streets asking to take photos of their clothes, scouring Pinterest, and digging through piles of vintage tees around LA warehouses. Inspiration is everywhere :) I’m attached to art of the 60’s and 70’s since it matches my personal art style the most— I just love color and fun happy things!!
SS: What moves your Soul and gives you motivation to inspire others?
Dani: I am an extreme extrovert and being able to connect with people though my art makes me feel alive.
People motivate me, art motivates me, music motivates me, cities motivate me. OH and Coffee, lots of coffee.
SS: What does Soul mean to you?
Dani: It’s that weird invisible drive we feel inside! It’s what you’re passionate about, what wakes you up in the morning.
“It was following the journeys of other female entrepreneurs that finally drove me to take the leap, so it’s kind of cool that it’s coming full circle.”
SS: How do you hope to inspire your followers and others through your work and positive messages?
Dani: I’ve gotten countless messages from girls telling me “what you’re doing has inspired me to follow my passion” or “inspired me to start my own business”. That BLOWS my mind!! I’m just one small girl doing her thing and that somehow has motivated real life people to make huge life decisions!? They’re crazy LOL, but god dammit it makes me SO happy!! It was following the journeys of other female entrepreneurs that finally drove me to take the leap, so it’s kind of cool that it’s coming full circle.
SS: What is the number one message you hope to convey to your audience through your work and inspiring social media channels?
Dani: I’m trying to ask girls “HEY, what’s stopping you from pursuing your dream job!?”. Growing up I feel like women are always told how to act, what to become. I’m here to say you are strong and powerful... you can do whatever you want. Not only that, but you can succeed at it.
SS: So that's probably why you promote women's rights and entrepreneurship— what do you think is the importance of these motives?
Dani: I just think women are so smart and capable, and they need to know that. The times are changing and it’s our chance to make a huge impact on this earth.
SS: Take us through your process of coming up with a theme for each collection and where that positive spin on each tee is born...
Dani: When it's time to start a new collection, I keep an open mind and it kind of strikes randomly. Or like when I came up with “Summer Of Love”, I was like “oh I want to design a collection around that”! Or I can just walk around intentionally brainstorming about it and inspiration strikes. Also looking in vintage stores and being in places that inspire me.
At the beginning of my career it was a lot of looking up to people who did what I was doing and asking myself “how did they do that?” It took a few years of designing for everything to flow and by no means did I start out being able to do designs and photos like I do today. I lacked a lot of confidence when I first started, but after years of doing it you build that confidence and skill. I think it can be taught- it's a mix of experience and maybe a little bit of “naturability”.
SS: Are you associated with any charities?
Dani: I have worked with a few organizations that promote mentoring young girls. I’ve worked with Step Up and featured Sand Sisters on our “zine” (view here). Young girls can be hugely impacted by having just one positive role model in their lives.
I’ve also worked with Gurl Museum Day, an organization that promotes connecting like minded women through monthly gatherings at art exhibits.
Basically anything involving women’s empowerment, art, or community! That’s what Dazey is all about.
SS: What do you hope to achieve overall in your work space?
Dani: I want to leave my mark and make a difference in the world. A t-shirt seems like a silly medium, but there’s a lot of power in it I’ve discovered. Having a feeling of greater purpose has driven me a lot.
“I want to be utterly transparent. I share video (instagram stories) when crazy cool things are happening, and also when I’m stressed out and want to cry.”
SS: What do you think is important about vulnerability and how does that help your work?
Dani: In todays age of Social Media people tend to see these “insta-perfect” lives and become unhappy with their own.
They don’t realize that they aren’t perfect and all the crazy work that goes into getting them where they are.
I want to be utterly transparent. I share video (instagram stories) when crazy cool things are happening, and also when I’m stressed out and want to cry. I think people have enjoyed seeing the reality of running a small business. The highs and lows.
SS: If someone is feeling discouraged or down, how would you advise them in becoming present again and getting their spark back to stay confident and positive in what they are creating/doing, or finding it for the first time?
Dani: Sometimes I’m in a total weird headspace, I can’t focus or feel the motivation. What helps me is putting on a good song, getting in a comfortable environment, and having a latte lol.
Yes it’s simple, but those little rituals I have help me stay grounded and calm in my ever-changing life.
SS: You're about as positive, driven, and enthusiastic as it gets, but it's not always easy for others to just “be positive, be happy” or even be motivated and get things accomplished. How do you recommend for people to reach your level or come closer to it?
So much of my life is my business it's so intertwined I can't really separate the two.. My personal life and business are tied together so seamlessly.
What I do for fun is my business and when I'm the happiest is when I'm working.
SS: Who's Soul have you shaped lately?
Dani: YOU Haha! On a serious note though, being around passionate girls doing cool shit energizes me like no other.
SS: Do you recommend a “Shape Tool” that has helped you shape your soul or your business?
Dani: Looking up to people, Kelly murray- watching the career paths of other people to light the fire in you to do what they are doing. Kind of obsessing over what they're doing lol and being inspired by other women.
Podcasts: Business podcasts; I listen to their business or journey and put it in perspective with Dazey.
Books: “All marketers tell stories”
Pinterest: I'm an avid pinterester to find inspiration!