Resale Clothing Store Expands After COVID-19
Valhalla Resale of Pinellas County
In 2017, Danielle Ferrari, owner of Valhalla Resale in Tampa, launched her clothing membership and resale shop. Ferrari had always had a love for the fashion industry, but she noticed the incredibly wasteful way that people consume clothing. She also became interested in the share economy and saw that there was a great synergy between sharing and clothes. Her business idea was not only a passion of hers, but something that could change the fashion world.
After experiencing success with her initial location in Tampa, Ferrari decided it was time to launch a second location. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, stalling her plans to open a second location in St. Petersburg.
“Our sales went totally down, but surprisingly, our membership stayed the same,” Ferrari said. “Our retention stayed the same. It actually increased and we were able to ride out most of COVID-19 with our membership. And then, when the vaccines became widely available to everyone, our sales started to bounce back. That’s when around that time I realized I would be able to open a second location.”
Ferrari wanted to open her second location but she wanted to make sure it was the right decision. She wanted someone outside of her circle to look over her business plan and be honest with her. After initially working with the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida to open her first location, she decided to seek the advice of their consultants again.
While working with capital access specialist, Bill Burnham, Ferrari was reassured that her plan was viable and she was ready for the expansion. Burnham helped guide her through business decisions such as choosing bank loans, making marketing ideas come to life, and expanding membership.
Through the years, Ferrari has used the Florida SBDC at USF for everything from capital access to marketing and disaster recovery assistance.
“I started working with the SBDC before I even launched my business,” she said. “It helped me with some marketing ideas. It helped me decide whether a bank loan was the right move at the time to expand. It’s help me go from zero to where I am now with not only one location but two locations.
Throughout her growth, Ferrari realizes the importance of having an impartial advisor outside of the business to bounce ideas off.
“I recommend the SBDC to every business owner that I know,” she said. “It’s really important to have someone outside of your peer group that is there to cheer you on. You really need someone who cares about your business to tell you what’s going to work and what’s not going to work and understand your business really intimately and give you advice from there.”