An interview with Sweet Briar & Co Founder Vanessa Zuniga
Sweet Briar + Co. is located in the heart of Downtown Lodi, right on School Street. Five years ago, Vanessa Zuniga opened Sweet Briar with a dream to curate outfits that are fashionable, modest, and affordable. In April of 2021 she opened her brick & mortar location and is beyond grateful that she had that opportunity, because she never anticipated it actually happening. Vanessa has always had a passion for fashion and her goal with Sweet Briar is to design for her own clothing line and eventually have her shop be only her label. Sweet Briar’s goal is to make people feel feminine, chic, and classy without breaking the bank. She also offers adorable childrens’ clothing, artisan soaps and lotions, and the most perfect accessories to pair with your new outfit. Sweet Briar + Co. is open every day except Mondays, tell them Lodi Market sent you!
How long have you had Sweet Briar?
I’ve had the business for almost 5 years in January. We opened our brick & mortar in April. So about 5 years I guess.
What made you want to move to brick & mortar?
I never thought it would be possible to have a brick & mortar. I was strictly online and I would do pop-ups for the first 4 years, and then I would start walking around talking to other small businesses around [Downtown Lodi] and I always thought you had to have like tons of money and I started talking to more people and I was like ‘maybe that is tangible’ and so I did it in the middle of the pandemic which everybody thought was crazy but there was a lot of vacancies so that was like prime real-estate. I just said, I’ll never know unless I try, so you either sink or swim.
What is your reason “why”/what made you want to go into fashion and retail?
I’ve always enjoyed fashion, I’ve always enjoyed like if someone comes (like a friend), helping them put something together. My biggest thing was just to have something, I wouldn’t say necessarily to leave for my kids, but to show my kids that you can have a dream and conquer that dream and succeed in the dream. My goal is to design, that’s originally when I opened [my business] was to design, so I said I kind of put the carriage before the horse and did it backwards. My hope with the business growing is to be able to design and I want everything in my store to be my label.
What do you want people to feel and see?
The biggest thing when I created my business was for it to be affordable. When we first started, our motto was “always $50 and under” and for the most part everything in my store is. I also wanted it to be a curated, modest line, but very feminine, where someone puts something on and feels nice. I’m known in town now as the dress shop or “I need to get something for a photoshoot” or a wedding. Just [pieces] to make you feel classy and chic that you put on that doesn’t break the bank.
Article credit : Samantha Dempsey Find her on Instagram @samantha.demps