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Meet Kimmy Dunn of Girls Girl Collective in Ventura County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimmy Dunn.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kimmy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was inspired by a hashtag: #ELIMINATEGIRLHATE. It was late 2016, and I came across an Instagram page called @bloodynorapam, who sold T-shirts with the message “Eliminate Girl Hate.” The message struck a chord with me, causing me to recognize that my success or failures correlate with my relationships or interactions with other women.

My friends who support me have encouraged me out of some dark times and encouraged me to pursue things I wouldn’t have gone for without their encouragement. I’ve also felt the lowest and darkest because I listened to the opinions of women who didn’t have my best interest in mind. I recalled growing up and witnessing women in circles gossiping about other women. I recognized the culture was to oppose other women, to recognize them as competition. I shamefully recalled all of the times I was part of that problem. I’m a firm believer of doing better, once you know better. I set a meeting and invited the community to the “First-Ever Girls Girl Club” meeting, and over 80 women showed up. We sat on the floor and shared stories. As the years passed, we continued to get together…. the main activity that remained were skill-sharing workshops; these workshops set an environment to build healthy connections and to learn something new. In early 2019 we shifted to Girls Girl Collective with the goal to support local artists by paying them to teach workshops free to the public.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been smooth, while intermittently bumpy. Nothing worth doing is easy, but in a way, I’ve been building myself a support group along the way, which makes the rough road more comfortable to travel. Most of the challenges I’ve faced were due to overcommitting myself with the ultimate consequence of burn out. When I started, I was unemployed and had more time to commit. My ideas are big, and when trying to do too much with too few resources, it often doesn’t turn out the way I hope it will. We also rented a space in a local art center, but we weren’t ready for the cost and ultimately had to give that up and now use community spaces.

Please tell us about Girls Girl Collective.
Our mission statement: Girls Girl Collective is a Nonprofit organization that fosters a creative space for skillshare and healthy connection dynamics. We advocate for acceptance and belonging within our community for empowerment and collaboration.

We hold workshops that help financially support artists in our community, while also providing a space for individuals to learn new things and meet new people. I’m proud of all of the connections we’ve built, the lessons we’ve taught, and the positive difference we’ve made in small ways here and there.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My DIY spirit comes from my Mother, Mary. I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t sewing or making something. I remember making a purse out of some extra fabric she had, it was denim, and the handle was a pearl rope. The closure was a “ button” made out of satin ribbon to form a rose. I remember the feeling and confidence I felt when creating something with my hands. My mom encouraged me to be creative and design something only I could, instilling that each person has a unique perspective, and self-expression is art. I remember the challenges of stabbing myself with the needle, burning myself with the hot glue gun, all worth it in the pursuit of creating.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Photo of me: Ashley Wolford; Other photos: Franki D. Williams

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