If you’re looking for effortlessly chic accessories, look no further than DONNI. The gorgeous and thoughtful accessory line is a collection of everyday essentials, each with endless ways to wear. Founder Alyssa Wasko named the line after her late father Donald, and each piece is adorned with an angel wing to take on the aspirations of its owner. Made in Los Angeles by women, the brand supports the women who produce it and concludes each season with a donation to a new charity. We recently had a chance to chat with Alyssa about how she channeled grief into creative inspiration, and ultimately created her dream job.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING 7-10 YEARS AGO BEFORE DONNI?
AW: I was in college and then working for Chanel corporate in New York.
IS DONNI YOUR DREAM JOB?
AW: YES. All the way. Other than having a dog rescue, which I will do at some point!
WHEN DID YOU HAVE YOUR “AH HA” MOMENT OF DONNI?
AW: When I was walking through the West Village and saw a super cute girl wearing DONNI. I had no idea who she was and it was the best feeling that the DONNI love had spread beyond me.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS BUSINESS CONCEPT AND DID YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE IN IT PRIOR?
AW: The business concept found me really. I made a scarf for myself and a friend shorty after my father had passed away and attached little angel wing charms on them. It was really just something for me to channel my grief into; I’ve always believed creativity has the power to heal. Anyway, other people started wanting them and I kept making them. It was a coping mechanism for me and turned into a business on its own. As far as experience goes, I had always worked in fashion, but certainly no experience like this.
HOW DID YOU FUND YOUR STARTUP?
AW: Recycling funds from the first scarves. It funded itself.
NAME 3 OF THE SCARIEST MOMENTS WHEN DOING THIS?
AW: Quitting my job at Chanel and going all in, letting an employee go, and launching our new product category in Clothing this March.
WHAT IS YOUR PIECE OF ADVICE TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO STOP WHAT THEY’RE DOING AND CREATE THEIR “DREAM JOB”?
AW: Know that it’s not easy or glamorous. You are always on the clock, there are no vacations, and no turning off. There are a lot of sacrifices you will have to make. And if that doesn’t scare you off, then you go girl!