A passion for eclectic art and fashion brought two life-long friends into a buisness partnership with a boutique perched in the heart of Chula Vista on Third Avenue.
Dewanna Dallas and Via Gary took a leap of faith in April 2016 and purchased a small studio in downtown Chula Vista to open D’Via Art and Style, located at 231 Third Ave Suite E.
Both women are experienced entrepreneurs, having individual businesses in retail, fashion, art, and interior design and merging their skill-sets to create their boutique. At the young age of 55, the pair pursued their dreams and passions as self-taught arts and designers.
“God just blessed us when this space became available. I looked all over the perfect space, and it has always been Chula Vista. We’ve been here for so long, but we found this spot, and we just jumped by faith,” Gary said.
“People always say to not go into business with your friend. We're different. We're family. We know that it takes more than a 50/50 commitment,” Dallas said
The pair calls their space, in which they create and sell wearable art, a sanctuary because people who are drawn into the space often “open up” due to the inclusive atmosphere they cultivate, according to Garry. At their boutique, they create colorful and eclectic multicultural artwork, jewelry, apparel, and accessories all available for sale.
“Our intended purpose is more than art. At the end of the day, it is a place where is anybody's welcome. We're multicultural on purpose because our families are multicultural,” Gary said.
For Gary, art represents “a whole level of love and peace” that provides each individual a unique experience.
“I do not, on purpose, paint something “revolutionary”. I want to paint something that enhances love, peace, beauty, just the essence of humanity,” Gary said. “People can't help but come in here because our products are colorful, beautiful, and vibrant.”
Art changes the atmosphere, according to Dallas, who creates apparel with colorful splashing patterns, up-cycled apparel, and accessories.
“Fashion is the pallet that you put on. That is your art. I love to see that self-expression,” Dallas said.
Prior to the pandemic, the women reached out to actor and Social media personality Tabatha Brown in 2018 to represent their brand. The following year, Brown gained popularity, and so did D’Via Art and Style as brown continued to represent its brand and products.
“We call that the Tabatha effect,” Dallas said. “Tabitha has been a blessing in disguise, and we thank her all the time. We’ve met her and we’ve become friends.”
Unprecedented challenges arose on a global scale when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Despite the challenges, the pandemic was a blessing for the pair, according to Dallas as they were able to expand their business to the online platform after having shop operations exclusively in person, at vending events, and at festivals.
“The community showed up and showed out it was just such a blessing,” Gary said.
According to Gary, the pandemic pushed them outside of their comfort zone and gave them the opportunity to stop and evaluate who they are as businesswomen, and what the future holds. It also gave them an opportunity to stop and exhale.
“The pandemic gives you an opportunity to appreciate what we have, and just a reset in a way,” Via said.
For Dallas, the pandemic taught them to enjoy the journey.
“No one is pressured to be all things, especially when life is happening. We give each other grace, a whole lot of grace, and we help each other out, especially in the pandemic. It really shows what you're made of,” Dallas said.