We had the good fortune of connecting with Ally Skiba and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ally, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Pursuing an artistic career has never been a question in my life. Since childhood I was always the kid you would find filling notebooks with comic and fashion sketches, and making art out of salvaged materials found in nature. I’d carry that creative energy into musical expression, writing short stories, and forming friendships that acted as muses throughout the years. As I got older that part of me evolved, but it still blossomed within creative forums. Prior to becoming a female small business owner I pursed a freelance visual arts career for ten years. Photographic storytelling through nature has been such a pivotal experience for my artistic growth. I truly feel like it led me into craving a bit more of a humanitarian approach to how I absorb art and let it flow through my own life. It felt completely natural opening Electric Cherry Shop + Studios. Creating a home for local artisans and having a solid ground to express my own individuality just seemed to manifest it’s self once I was ready to seek it out. I suppose this questions poses itself in many different aspects of my life. But the answer is simple. Art and music have always given my heart a home. These realms of inspiration have always conjured themes happiness and warmth. The everlasting light throughout this long strange trip we’re all on! Now I can humbling and whole heartedly smile thinking that there are over 50+ independent artisans within Electric Cherry Shop + Studios creating freely with no aesthetic. Just creating and showing what their heart desires! That’s my joy, living artistically but also encouraging others to as well!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Electric Cherry Shop + Studios is a female owned small business in Olde Town, Arvada. Just being a female in an entrepreneurial position feels extremely exciting and geared towards the future of our species. So often females are led into roles of motherhood, marriage, and corporate careers. These are all wonderful pursuits to have but it feels damn special to be creating something on my own and having it so well received in such a large city! I am that small town PA girl that moved to a huge city, the Mile High City at that, in pursuit of big dreams! Essentially, Electric Cherry Shop + Studios is an immersive home to the arts. It’s a unique homeware shop that rivals big box retailers. Somewhere you can find something one of a kind for your home, your closet, or a friend and family member. We only carry female owned sustainable and organic small batch handmade goods that stand with a bit of merit. For instance, our soy wax candle line is created by a female volunteer firefighter with a chronic immune disorder. Our greeting cards promote social good. Diving a bit into politics and what it means to be a good human, but of course with some humor attached. It’s also home to over 50 Colorado artisans. Since opening in January we’ve hosted over 25+ live art and music events outside of the shop! We had an incredible outdoor immersive art experience even amidst a worldwide pandemic. When we were mandatorily shut down from March-May of 2020 we moved our arts virtually by hosting an online art exhibition. Not to mention, Electric Cherry Shop + Studios is one of the only female owned record stores in Denver. A small step towards inspiring more young women to play music, collect it, and also follow their dreams in a very male driven community. Fun fact, you can do more than just shopping small inside of Electric Cherry Shop + Studios. We have an incredible local acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, Sophia Arnesen in studio 1 and an extremely talented private tattoo artist, Freddie Arroyo in studio 2. A little something for everyone! So far I’ve learned to refocus when life throws you curveballs, like a deadly pandemic the year you open your business. Staying humble and keeping a positive mental attitude are the methods of survival. When the going gets tough, you’ve got to get creative! Much like the message of Electric Cherry Shop + Studios. Love, be loved, and share your light and truth with the world!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh, this is a fun question! Of course I’d show my best friend my community in Olde Town, Arvada. It has so much to offer! All of the brick and mortars are owned by local entrepreneurs! The Bluegrass Coffee and Bourbon Lounge in Olde Town has some of the best pizza I’ve had thus far in Denver! Being from PA, I’m a stickler for my dough rising haha! I love starting my work days with a classic Cup of Joe from La Dolce Vita. Such a low key, charming old-school coffeeshop. It always reminds me of Luke’s Diner in Gilmore Girls. Olde Town, Arvada is the Stars Hollow we all need in our life! I’m also a huge fan of South Broadway down in the city. Some of my favorite vintage shops are down there. The Ten Penny Store is an absolute gem for affordable 60’s-80’s capsule pieces! Being a female record store owner and an avid collector, I have to shoutout my favorite independent record store in Denver, Wax Trax! Honestly, most would consider it an institution at this point! It’s one of those places you walk into and instantly want to befriend the staff. Big time High Fidelity vibes! I would definitely hit the oldest historical bar in town, My Brother’s Bar for a beer after vintage and record hunting in the city. The history wrapped around that place is my favorite. It’s fun to pretend like you’re sitting there with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Neal Cassidy mulling over their next story or profound life experience. I’m a nature girl at heart, so kayaking or a stroll with a pup at Standley Lake to watch the sun set over the Front Range is my go to. I’m a bit spoiled, I do this pretty regularly living about two blocks away! Visiting Hunter S. Thomson’s Owl Farm in Woodey Creek is on my Colorado bucket list! Hopefully I’ll be able to take a road trip with a friend there someday!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many women in my life who have helped me along this entrepreneurial journey! For starters, I’d like to thank all of the incredible artists who have given Electric Cherry Shop + Studios their trust to honor and showcase their art. Many of whom I’ve done art shows with prior to supplying a home for their work. That means the world to me! I have my grandma and mom to thank for always pushing me to live my truth. In their words, “Never settle for mediocrity”. Locally here in Denver, Stephanie O’Rourke the owner of Little Piece of My Heart in Boulder and Loveland, has given me such a space to not only create but also become the female small business owner I am today! We met when I showcased my art in her shop and then once I was ready to pursue Electric Cherry Shop + Studios she guided me in numerous different ways. Sister act Natalie DiSanto and Hannah Disanto, who own and run Turtle Mountain Fermentery in Fort Collins also gave my art a home once upon a time and then took me under their wings once I was seeking business advice. Houston based female small business owner, Cara Carbajal has been a great friend to me over the years and now quite the business muse of mine! Cara successfully runs her own shop, 1988 along with hosting over 13 female owned brands within her Pop Up Co-Op! All of these women have gifted me an incredible amount of support, kindness, and knowledge. I am entirely grateful to them!
Photos all taken by Electric Cherry Shop + Studios owner, Ally Skiba.