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Meet Holly Gresto of Dare to DIY OC in Fullerton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Holly Gresto.

Holly, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started my business as a cookie decorating home-based bakery. I learned how to decorate cookies back in 2016, and I slowly got into custom orders and pop-up shops on my front porch. Fast forward to 2019, I started teaching cookie decorating classes of up to 35 students, moved my pop-up shops from my front porch to a partnership with Nordstrom inside of their stores, and still continuing to fulfill custom orders. At the beginning of 2020, I became a storefront owner! My vision for Dare to DIY OC is to not only host my cookie decorating classes there but to also support other small businesses in the area by offering my space to them as well. We host macrame classes, succulent arrangements, candle making, perfume mixology, calligraphy, watercolor, cake decorating, & so much more. I also host trunk shows, as another way to give other small businesses opportunities to sell their work, while also bringing the community together. My dream for Dare to DIY OC is to eventually grow into a franchise business – “Dare to DIY LA,” “Dare to DIY SD” & so on & so forth. I think it’s wonderful to be able to bring all the creatives in the area together to share their expertise with people who want to have a good time, while also learning something new.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I got the keys to my storefront February 19th, 2020. I left for a long business trip to Nashville on February 21st, that lasted until March 3rd. Being a California girl my whole life… I experienced a once in a lifetime fear of being only 2 miles south of the tornado that hit Donelson, TN on March 3rd. After being a little shaken up from that, I came home to so much prep work to complete before my grand opening on March 14th. To-do list included: wallpaper, string lighting, building a bar, making a giant chalkboard wall calendar, creating a photo op wall, window art, and so much more. Time was ticking, and I felt an immense amount of pressure to make everything perfect for the big day. Then, one of the worst things imaginable to a new storefront business owner happened… March 12th, 2020, restrictions on events began to be heavily enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My grand opening barely skated by… I had an RSVP list of 105 people. I invested a ton of time and money into this night – I wanted everyone to have a blast, document their night on social media, and share with their friends about my space.

Sadly, only about half the amount of RSVP’s showed up. Not a great way to start a business. Following that day, workshop instructors began canceling – one after another, after another. Soon, my entire March & April workshop calendars went from 20+ events to zero. As I’m writing this, Orange County is still in quarantine. No events have taken place at my shop since that day – no one has even stepped foot into my space. Everything is on hold – except for all expenses involved. It’s been a hard road so far, but I continue to stay optimistic and hopeful for the future with Dare to DIY OC. I know that my business concept is unique and will be a hit when gatherings are allowed once again. In the meantime, I’m continuing to make DIY craft kits, as well as teaching virtual cookie decorating classes with cookie kit pickups. For now, this will have to do… but looking forward to the day I will be able to teach my classes in person again.

Dare to DIY OC – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Dare to DIY OC is a young female-owned business in Orange County, CA. Our slogan is, “Dare to Express your Creativity, Dare to Explore your Hidden Talents… Dare to DIY.” Dare to DIY OC is a Do-it-Yourself Workshop Studio where you can express your creativity in a variety of different arts & crafts. Our experts will guide you through each DIY project, step by step. Dare to DIY OC is simply one-of-a-kind because we contract without outside vendors to ensure you are being taught by an expert instructor! No experience is required to attend our workshops – we accept creativity of all kind! Our goal is to give you the opportunity to explore your hidden talents through creative stimulation. So, will you Dare to DIY?

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to me is consistently setting new goals for yourself and continuously working towards accomplishing them. It’s never giving up & always having the confidence and drive to keep on going. I always strive to be my best and to make my business the very best as well. My education background in Public Relations and Advertising from Chapman University has truly supported my success in becoming a young female entrepreneur. My knowledge in branding a business, marketing opportunities – traditional & non-traditional, as well as the importance and benefits of social media for a small business has been vital in the growth of Dare to DIY OC. My long term goal for my business is to grow into a franchise – “Dare to DIY LA,” “Dare to DIY SD,” until we have workshop studios throughout California & eventually throughout the United States.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Dyell Photography

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