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Daily Inspiration: Meet Whitney Hartmann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Whitney Hartmann.

Hi Whitney, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am a local Family and Baby Photographer. I have won Best of Ojai Photographer for the last four years. I used to offer mini sessions at Ojai Baby and became very good friends with the owner, Lisa Lynch. When the Thomas fires blazed through Ojai, she shut down her shop Ojai Baby for over five months. In that time, Lisa reached out to me for ideas for a new kind of shop! Working with kids and families and having a background in merchandising and retail, plus being an Instagram junkie, I had plenty of great ideas for a super cute new kind of shop! So together we came up with Pixies General Store! She reopened the shop as Pixie’s General Store, but soon after Lisa found out she was moving away from California and eventually she offered to sell me the shop! I had already fallen in love with it, plus I could also combine my photography business into one! In Aug. 2019, Lisa officially passed on the shop reins! Then, the following spring, Covid hit!! It was definitely a crazy year, and I was barely into my first year of business, but I persevered! “Pivit” was the term that was being thrown at business owners, and I just made it work!

I keep saying Instagram saved my business!! I could feature everything I had in the shop, share my ups and downs with my community, and offer services we all needed! We didn’t have an online store, but I just kept featuring everything on Instagram, doing facetime and video shopping experiences, and offering FREE local delivery throughout Ventura County! I would slip in the shop for a few hours everyday by myself, fulfill orders, then grab the kids for an outdoor adventure of safely dropping off goods to families that were on lockdown. THIS kept up the shop and our morale! It was such a gift to brighten people’s day! I made sure that each package was wrapped extra special! I wanted to bring a smile to every person, child’s and neighbor’s face! With my photography, my motto is to “Capture the Love”. With Pixie’s, my motto is to “Share the Love!” With this purpose we have prevailed, grew and thrived. The new year brought new challenges, but with the love and support of my family, friends, and community, I know we can continue to grow and prosper!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Not at all!! Is retail ever smooth?? Covid has, of course, been our biggest obstacle! I kind of just jumped into the retail business with not a lot of experience, but when Covid hit I just went into survival mode! I knew that was NOT going to miss paying rent! I was not going to let the owner of the building down. This was going to be a rough ride for all of us! The shop was closed, but I had to keep it alive no matter what! Not only did I love the shop, but our community loved it too! I hear all the time how it lifts people’s spirits and how magical it is! It is a gathering place, a small get away from the hard times. With in-store shopping closed, I made deliveries, shopped through video chat, placed orders through Instagram, FB, text, email, however I could! Covid has been our biggest struggle, but we are making it work!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
When I first moved to Ojai 20 years ago, I was a teacher at the Ojai Valley School. In 2005, I had my first child, and I left and became a photographer, so I can stay home with the baby, work on my own time and allow my creative side to flourish! I take pictures of families, babies and weddings. I have won Best of Ojai 5 times total and have been published as well. My focus is mostly on specialty styled and theme shoots for babies and kids. This leads me to Pixies General Store, where I helped create a magical space for families to shop, take fun workshops and have playdates for the little ones, as well as offer fun little photoshoots I call my Pixie Sessions. Pixies General Store is known for being a local specialty shop where you can find many local makers and goods. The perfect place to find a special gift for yourself or others and a community spot for fun events like art workshops and fundraisers for local nonprofits. I am most proud of being a special place to come to make your day brighter. To lift someone’s spirits and to let your loved ones know they are special! To be a spot that supports local artists and makers as well as many local nonprofits!

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
The most important lesson I have learned so far is to be supportive and you will be supported! To care about your community and others, to help provide goods and services that people need, want and love. To have faith, go with the flow, be flexible and positive when you can! To lean on others and be strong, so others can lean on you too. The biggest lesson is to be grateful for it all, the good and the bad. It is all a learning lesson and to always “Share the Love!”

Pricing:

  • Local Goods range from $5-$120
  • Baby Goods $5-$200
  • Kids toys and gifts $1-$100
  • Clothing $15-$150
  • Decor and gift items $10-$200

Pricing:

  • Local Goods range from $5-$120
  • Baby Goods $5-$200
  • Kids toys and gifts $1-$100
  • Clothing $15-$150
  • Decor and gift items $10-$200

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Jen Luce Photography Whitney Hartmann Photography

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