We had the good fortune of connecting with Dana Andrews and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dana, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My balance has changed drastically over the past year & just my life in general. Rewind to only a year and a half ago, I was living in a different state and working the job I did for over 10 years. Since I was about 16 years old I worked in the coffee industry, it was what I knew and I was good at it. But it was never what I wanted to do or how I wanted to spend the majority of my day. Throughout working my many coffee jobs and moving around, I would always be creating on the side or finding a way to let my creative side loose. I grew up painting, drawing, sewing, wood craving and sculpting either in school or just at home. I truly thrive on the idea of creating and making my visions a reality. Finding time to do those types of things was hard, but I knew I had to have it be apart of my life one way or another. I would enter art shows, sell prints, paint utility boxes, carve wood, sew or do whatever allowed me to express myself when time allowed. I moved to Salk Lake City in December of 2019 and just as I was getting settled in and found yet another full-time coffee job, the pandemic hit. I got let go from that job because of it and suddenly found myself quarentined with the rest of the world. I ended up purchasing a sewing machine to use with my time & that’s how SUNWORN was born. I found myself sewing almost everyday, creating and using all kinds of different materials and fabrics I found thrifting. I created an Instagram page as a platform to showcase and sell the pieces I was creating and was so shocked by the feedback and interest people had in my work. I got a call back from the job I got let go of due to the pandemic asking if I wanted to come back for a couple days a week. The thought of going back to what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years didn’t excite me in the slightest even after having months and months off. I knew if I was going to make a change in my life and career path, it was now or never. I declined the opportunity to go back to the job, as scary as it was and decided to work on SUNWORN full-time, and that’s exactly what I have been doing ever since. I find myself working longer and harder than any other job I’ve had before, but the difference is is that it’s actually how I want to spend my day. For me, it has been so hard to find that work life balance especially when I love what I am doing. I was so used to a clock in and clock out job and now when I start working on SUNWORN, I don’t know when to stop or when to take a break. I find myself feeling a tremendous amount of guilt for taking breaks or doing something else other than working on my business, and that has been the biggest adjustment for me by far. Learning that my life and health aside from SUNWORN are far more important and that I have to make time for both, no matter what. Believing in myself and taking the risk was the scariest part, and still is. I quickly went from working the 9-5 full-time jobs to working for myself and creating my own schedule, something I thought would never be possible.
Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
SUNWORN VINTAGE is an upcycled clothing brand created from reworking (mostly) vintage materials. Focused on making unique & fun articles of clothing for a more sustainable wardrobe and world. SUNWORN is a representation of myself in every aspect. I’ve found a way to combine my creativeness with my love of shopping second hand, while also incorporating my overall style and environments. SUNWORN brings a mix of coastal vibes with a mountain flare, as a nod to my environments growing up and where I am today. My presence with SUNWORN is very important to me. I am normally a pretty shy person so it is kind of ironic that I created a brand where I am constantly putting myself out there or posting pictures of myself with my creations. I’ve never enjoyed being the center of attention in anyway but with a global pandemic happening and living in a new state where I didn’t know anyone, I knew that I had to open up and have myself be the face of my own brand. Working and collaborating with like-minded businesses and brands is also a huge part of my presence with SUNWORN. I am very excited with what is next and the opportunities ahead. I have been giving this business everything I got and I couldn’t be more thankful for the people I have met & who have supported me along the way to get to where I am today. This hasn’t been easy in anyway and somedays I think to myself, what am I doing? It has been very stressful and overwhelming somedays but then I think back to all those years I woke up and was working for someone else’s dream and not my own and I immediately feel blessed to finally be in the position I thought would never happen. I’ve learned that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and to never give up. As clique as that may sound, it is the only reason I am now the Owner & Creator of SUNWORN VINTAGE. I want people to know that SUNWORN VINTAGE is ran by me and only me. I am a one woman show on the quest to continue doing what I love in a unique and environmentally friendly way. I created a small batch, slow production business in hopes to change my viewers perspective of what clothes can be & should be, fun, unique & also sustainable.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am so lucky to call Salt Lake City my home for many reasons. It is a beautiful city surrounded by the Wasatch Mountains and has so much to offer during each season. Camping in the deserts, hiking in the mountains or foothills near my home, fishing the many rivers of Utah and snowboarding at Brighton Resort are just a few of my favorite outdoor activities. I love trying new food & beverages! I am always on the hunt for the best cup of coffee and Blue Copper Coffee or Public Coffee Roasters have been my go to spots. I love getting breakfast at Ruth’s Diner, Vermicelli Noodles or Pho from Little Saigon, a sushi roll from Tsunami or a frozen treat from Normal Ice Cream. I love a good dive bar, X-Wife’s Place and The Twilight Lounge are my favorite spots to go for a beer or cocktail. If you ever find yourself in Salt Lake City, I would recommend hiking the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, checking out Paradise Palms (if your’e into plants), shopping at Vantage for some rad vintage clothing or getting a ticket to the Tracy Aviary to see all kinds of different birds from around the world.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are SO many people I can think of to thank for supporting me throughout my life with my passion of creating & being an artist. But, since creating SUNWORN I have been in constant contact with a small group of people who I talk to daily and support me on a regular basis. My mom Sylvia, who initially told me to take the risk with SUNWORN and to not go back to the 9-5 coffee job. She has been my go to person since day one and always has my back and best interest at heart. My boyfriend Jose, who is truly my best friend and has been with me in all the highs and lows of my life. He is the photographer behind some of the SUNWORN photos and has always helped me in anyway he can. My oldest sister Jennifer, who also recently moved to Salt Lake City and has experience helping small businesses. She meets with me regularly to help me stay organized and on track with SUNWORN, something I find overwhelming at times. My other sister Noelle, who has the biggest heart and best advice. I try talking to her regularly about life, to catch up and just to vent. Lastly, my twin brother Derek. We grew up thrifting together and have the same interests, we are pretty much the same person. I talk to him regularly and we will always be close no matter how far the distance.