Valhalla of Hillsborough County
Valhalla is a clothing rental company located in Hillsborough County. Valhalla offers a rental service to subscribers who can rent and exchange three items at a time, as much as they want for $39 per month. All the clothing pieces in Valhalla can also be purchased.
Danielle Ferrari, owner of Valhalla, came up with this unique business idea after purchasing her home in 2007, after she found herself spending a lot of money purchasing a large amount of tools to repair her home.
“Why can’t I borrow them from my neighbors in a collective library or why can’t I make money off of all these tools that are just going to be sitting in my garage?” Ferrari asked. “I sort of put that idea away and didn’t really think about it much after, and when I was ready to start a business and do something on my own I decided to do a clothing resale shop. I sort of melded the idea of the collective library for tools with the collective library for clothes.”
To make sure the shop had unique pieces of clothing, Ferrari went from city to city purchasing clothes to make up Valhalla’s collection.
Ferrari went to the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida for assistance when all she had was a business plan to work with. She worked with business consultant Bill Burnham towards the grand opening of Valhalla.
“When I started with SBDC, all I had was a business plan and that was really it,” she said. “He helped me be able to actually start the business – to get from paper to the real store.”
With such a unique business plan, Ferrari found hope in speaking to Burnham about starting Valhalla.
“My consultant was really awesome.” Ferrari said. “He helped me feel like I wasn’t an insane person starting a crazy business that no one had ever done before. He made me feel like it was something that I could do and it just wasn’t some crock-pot idea that I came up with and it actually had some merit to it.
“Having someone qualified and experienced to read my business plan and tell me where my weaknesses were and what I needed to re-think was really invaluable.“
Although it was intimidating opening a business, Ferrari found the Florida SBDC at USF to be helpful and thinks it is a good tool for beginner businesses.
“If you’re starting a business, there’s nothing that’s going to hurt if you do try the SBDC,” she said. “They’re going to help you through any questions you have or help you identify anything you need to work on. It’s definitely not going to hurt.”
With her store now open in Tampa, Ferrari is focusing on utilizing the Florida SBDC at USF to put an effective marketing plan in place.