Danni Hong: Hello Awesome

Danni Hong runs one of those blogs that makes you want to grab a blanket and toothbrush and live inside. I've adored Oh, Hello Friend (www.ohhellofriendblog.com) for years; her daily posts on design inspiration, vintage style and all things preeeeetty have prompted thousands of gals to gasp, swoon and immediately sign onto Pinterest.

So naturally, when she opened a retail store in downtown Fullerton a couple months ago, lines swerved out the door.

“My mom came to help with the opening and was like, 'What are all these people doing here?'” she says. “I told her they were here for the shop. She was like, 'Really?'”

Really. Every inch of the cozy, Anthropologie-esque space is filled with gifts and goods to make your day brighter—vintage wood-block stamps, illustrated tea towels, DIY terrarium kits, rolls of heart-print washi tape, tiny cake stands and snarky love-notes that read, “You had me at health insurance.”

Of the collection, the 27-year-old explains, “I wanted to create a place where you can find something unique.”

Hong, who studied graphic design at the Art Institute of California-Orange County, launched the Oh, Hello Friend blog in 2008 to accompany her Etsy shop of jewelry and stationery items. (In high school, she and her BFF would address each other, “Hello, friend,” hence the name.) She'd write about her interests—thrifting, traveling, note-writing and her now-husband and business partner, Nick Keith. To build the brand, she started selling at craft fairs all over the map, from Patchwork in Santa Ana and Long Beach to events in Austin, Chicago and London. “At shows, people would always ask, 'Do you have a retail shop?' That was always a dream. Finally, we said, 'Let's just go for it.'”

The couple transformed the spot with vintage-style touches, hanging strings of bulb lights and creating an Oh, Hello Friend marquee-light sign out of cardboard. It's been a labor of love (and too many paper cuts), but Hong says she doesn't see it as work. Recently, a blog reader emailed her about a tote bag that simply says, “Be Brave.” The woman said she had cancer and wanted to bring the bag to her doctor appointments.

“I was just like, 'Give me your address. I'm sending it to you now,'” Hong says. “That was really cool, just being able to encourage someone with a tiny little thing. People like her are the inspiration.”

Follow me on Twitter: @michellewoo.

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