The S.B. Questionnaire by Roger Durling
Roger Durling, Executive Director of Santa Barbara International Film Fest, chooses one person to interview each week in Santa Barbara and to answer the Proust Questionaire (same questions as the back of Vanity Fair) Ooh la la! Thank you Roger.
“I wanted to build a business that helps women feel better about themselves,” explains Erica Brown, owner of the store Dylan Star. “What I noticed over the years is that women are uncomfortable in their own skin. I built Dylan Star to accommodate most women, and I want them to leave with a positive experience.”
Women can create an entire outfit while shopping at Erica’s store, and she excels at guiding those who want fashion advice. Believing that “shopping has lost its fun,” Erica offers “a best friend shopping experience” — giving dedicated attention and suggestions while also taking care of those customers who don’t want an opinion yet do not want to be ignored.
Located on State Street between Islay and Valerio, Dylan Star shares its space with Salon U, where Erica has worked as a hairstylist for 11 years. “I’ve always liked collaborative spaces,” she says. “We share the clientele. Hair and fashion have always gone hand in hand.”
I ask her about the name Dylan Star and how it encapsulates the California boho-chic vibe of her style. “Ever since I was young, I’d say that, if I had a girl, I was going to name her Dylan Star,” she explains. “I wanted the store to have its own identity.”
Erica is a third-generation Santa Barbaran, born on the Westside. She graduated from San Marcos High in 2002 and attended SBCC’s Cosmetology School. After working at Walter Claudio for six months, she decided to go to Orange County. “I wanted to get out of Santa Barbara for a while,” she confesses.
There, she met Brandon Brown and they married in 2007. Like Erica’s father, Brandon is a photographer. They came back to Santa Barbara in 2008, and six months later she started working at Salon U for owner Michael Romo.
“I’ve always been a shopper and I love being surrounded by clothes,” says Erica, who does all of the buying at Dylan Star. “I like the challenge of finding something that people will like.”
She is sensitive to her store’s price point. “I wanted to open a store everyone could afford,” she explains. “Every woman can walk in Dylan Star and find something. When I buy for the store, I think about the people that live here. They are my clients, they are my friends. “
Erica Brown answers the Proust Questionnaire.
What is your current state of mind?
Hoping I didn’t buy too much clothing for the store this week..
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Feeling secure about yourself and surrounding yourself by people who love and care about you and you feel the same about them. And laughing — I love laughing!
What do you like most about your job?
I love helping people feel better about themselves. I love the faces on people when they leave after having had so many terrible shopping experiences and having a better one at Dylan Star. I love shopping!! And now I get to as my job!
What is your greatest fear?
Something tragic happening to someone I care about, and failure — and not failure because of money, but because of not accomplishing a goal the correct way.
Who do you most admire?
My parents. I know it sounds cliché. But I’m pretty fortunate I have great parents!!
What is your greatest extravagance?
What is the quality you most like in people?
Loyalty and honesty
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Excuses and laziness
What do you most value in friends?
Loyalty and when they say they are going to do something, they do it!
What is your most marked characteristic?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to sing or draw.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Married for almost 12 years.
Where would you most like to live?
What is your most treasured possession?
Who makes you laugh the most?
Clever banter. I have a couple best girlfriends — we’re great at it. And my husband is pretty silly and funny too. Dad is funny also. I try to surround myself with funny people as much as possible.
What is your motto?
Why stop when you can go? And my other is: Do the right thing.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I really don’t know. I try to be an individual.
On what occasion do you lie?
Never, even when it could help me out a little.