Interview with Odessa Gunn of the Gunn Collection

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I’ve spent my life volunteering and donating to causes I believe in. From my family’s nonprofit in South America to the American Red Cross and even our local humane society. (The latter is one of my absolute favorites because, well, animals.) I even spent four years running my own homemade dog treat business to help support organizations like the Sonoma Humane Society.

After joining ZDCA in early 2015, I began educating myself on all of our clients and their businesses. Although we’ve worked with some truly amazing names, companies and products, one project that really speaks to me is the Gunn Collection.

odessa_gunn_horsesOdessa Gunn is a former professional cyclist-turned fashion entrepreneur who launched the Gunn Collection in Fall 2014 and has already established quite the following. She came to ZDCA in search of beautifully crafted design that would clearly convey the mission behind her business: fashionable-yet-comfortable clothing and accessories for men and women that encourage freedom, independence, and love for all living things.

ZDCA helped Gunn launch her business and its branding with a logo, business cards, sell sheet, and other key elements. Most important, however, were the custom t-shirt designs she’d need to get the business off the ground. For that, we connected Gunn with our custom illustrator extraordinaire Michael Houghton (alias: Designed by Monkeys). Although he’s designed several pieces for the collection, Odessa says his simplest, most straightforward designs, like the Chihuahua Chief, are her best sellers. That’s not to say Michael’s work isn’t detailed and even complex, but there aren’t any bells or whistles, and that’s what makes them a perfect addition to the Gunn Collection.

Gunn grew up in Canada but has made Sonoma County her home for quite some time. She says athletics, animals and clothes have always been her biggest passions, and after a very successful cycling career, she opted to make the most of the latter two. As the proud owner (and mother, really) of 22 animals (no, that’s not a typo), Gunn spends most of her time supporting the Sonoma Humane Society, Compassion Without Borders, and The Forget Me Not Farm via the Gunn Collection. She also makes sure to volunteer with all three organizations on a regular basis to help maintain a healthy work-life balance.

odessa_gunn_dogAfter spending 10 years in Europe, the most important thing Gunn brought back with her was a heartfelt thanks to American fashion. “In Europe, women have great style but they don’t have as much freedom as Americans do. We can enjoy a more relaxed look, while still looking sexy and stylish. I love the jeans-and-t-shirt uniform because it’s very liberating, especially for women. T-shirts can make a very big statement so it just made sense.”

Whether you’re rocking a one-of-a-kind t-shirt design or handcrafted piece of jewelry, you can rest assured every piece from the Gunn Collection is American-made and supporting any of Gunn’s favorite non-profits. Her vision has been so well-received, the collection has been picked up by local merchants like Punch and Healdsburg Dog House, as well as online retailers like ModCloth, one of my favorite sites for vintage-inspired clothing and accessories. But beware—Gunn’s designs are so popular, many of the items sold online or in stores are flying off the shelves. Your best best is to purchase them directly from her website, gunncollection.com.

What’s next for Gunn and her thriving outfit? “Hiring staff, possibly looking for additional investors, and continue growing my online business through our website and Etsy store.” She adds that increasing her contributions to animal charities is always a focus for her and the business. It’s like her website says: “It’s not enough to look and feel good; our clothing must also do good.” As a huge support of animals and local businesses, I can stand behind this 100%.