By: Maria Rodriguez
Our owners, Dani and Riley, sat down in their fresh new office space to reflect on the past five years of The Bohemian with their son, Azlee, by their side. What it's like to be dreamers, incorporating artists, powering through a pandemic and so much more down below.
Left to Right: Dani, Azlee, and Riley
Finding the balance for multiple businesses, marriage, and parenthood is a challenge they find themselves trying to navigate all these years down the road. The challenges they faced when things weren't looking too optimistic; they are grateful to have continued pushing themselves to fulfill their dreams alongside their children. Now, with another little one on the way, they are hopeful and excited for all that is to come in the following years.
Why “The Bohemian”? Why that name and what got you inspired to start this business?
Dani has "always been a crafter" who loves working with her hands, being creative, and making something out of nothing. She recalls Rylie and her talking one day about what a business like this could be like. They decided on The Bohemian when they considered it always being Dani's style, feel, vibe, and the literal meaning being artistry. It was perfect considering they were "going to have other artists" joining them them in the business.
Riley remembers sleeping one night when he was woken up with excitement to Dani saying "Riley, The Bohemian". Confused, he simply went along with it and rested awhile. The reality of having a dreamer as a partner.
What made you want to involve artists and not just do this yourself?
They began to realize there is so much hidden talent throughout the Spokane community that left them having a desire to give "somebody a place to showcase their artwork." They acknowledge there is a wide range of styles they are unable to cover with the looks of furniture, décor, and style they carry throughout their space. Incorporating a variety of different local artists helps add diversity to the specific style that Dani and Riley find attractive.
What does “artists” mean to you?
Defining an artist is quite tricky considering that the general public will automatically begin to associate this term with a painter or watercolorists. But, an artist to Dani and Riley is someone enjoys creating with there hands. Having the ability to "look at an object in your mind and seeing it as something completely different; look at something, see the transformation, and bring it to life" is what they believe a true artist is capable of doing. For example, the baskets in the photograph, were turned into pendants to serve an ulterior purpose that isn't obvious.
What do you think are some qualities that an entrepreneur should have?
Dani and Riley can both agree that the number one quality a person needs to be successful in this business is motivation. Balancing their young family and new company, the only secret to their success is hard work. Dani says, "You can't beat hard work." She is often the first person in the store, decorating and cleaning to prepare for customers during the day, but that work doesn't stop when she comes home. She and Riley spend their time thinking about the store, ways they improve and help those within their doors.
According to Riley, hard work is quantified like drips in a bucket, not a waterfall. Over time the bucket fills up, but when you first begin, it may feel like the bucket will never be full.
What does this five year anniversary mean to both of you?
Dani laughs and simply says, "I could get emotional about that."
For Riley, the past five years have flown by. He says, "It’s been a lot of work. Sometimes when I stop and I just look around, I don't even know how we did it. Like I do, but I am in awe of what we've done. But it's hard to sometimes just stop and look at that, you know, you're just running kind of get the next project done."
When he is able to stop and reflect, Riley says, it "just fills my heart with joy that we've been able to accomplish [this] and inspire all these people who trust us to sell their products and help them live their dream. It's pretty, pretty special."
"And then just seeing my wife come from the shy girl that really couldn't, was not a retail person - just terrified - to be like this outspoken leader. I love watching that little reel you did about Dani [on Instagram]. I could just watch it a whole bunch of times because it's just so so inspiring to me to see the transformation of her from when she first started.
"And it just shows you the power of hard work and dedication. And if you believe in yourself, no one can stop you."
Dani responds, "Thanks, honey."
"It's a lot. Five years is a lot of time. Riley and I pour our hearts and soul into what we do and so every emotion and every obstacle and triumph and every person who's walked through the door… Yeah, I feel that and, it's heavy but it's like it's a happiness kind of heavy. I'm really proud of us and everybody who's within our walls."
Colie has been with the business since it started. Do you ever hope that she'll work here?
"One of the greatest things that I think we've given our children is they get to watch their parents do what they love, but also, we've been able to show them what work ethic is," says Dani.
Like most parents, the Golays just want their children to be happy, whether that means they take over the business or pursue their own passions. Colie, now five years old, takes after her mom. She is incredibly determined and loves decorating. Though, what she calls decorating, Dani calls organizing. "She loves everything to be organized."
When they first started the business, Dani held the intention that she was doing this for her kids. She planned to build the business as a way to have something to pass down to her children. Since then, she's shifted her mentality. "I shifted my mind as a mother. [Instead] I'm doing this so that I can show her how to work hard, have a business, and take chances on your dreams."
Riley doesn't want Colie to feel an obligation to take over mom and dad's business. He thinks this sense of obligation happens sometimes with family businesses, but he wants her to know that if the passion is not there, it's not there.
What are your hopes for the future?
As The Bohemian approaches five years in business, the Golays have been asked what they'd like to see in their future. Since opening, Dani and Riley have hosted numerous sales, an artist show at the fairgrounds, opened a second location, and started another business. As for the next five years, they hope to host another All the Things Show, continue to grow Feathers Home Staging & Design company, and finish the many home projects they've left on the backburner in their own home.
As The Bohemian continues to grow, Riley hopes to inspire new people and "get new creators to get out of their comfort zone and create and bring those creations and products to the community we have here and let everyone enjoy it." Without their nearly 70 local artists, The Bohemian would not be the success it has become.
Do either of you have any hobbies?
Outside of owning a small business, Dani and Riley are busy raising their two young children. Still, they make time for some hobbies that don't involve the store. Dani's hobby? Dani says, "I'm a bopper with hobbies. Like anything can become a hobby for me." Riley laughs at this. Mhmmm, he agrees. One day she will show up with a new project, already having purchased everything to start it.
Dani giggles. "My sister calls it compulsive creating, it just runs in our family."
What do you two love about working together?
Both Dani and Riley love working closely with family. Getting to spend time with those they love throughout the day is one of their favorite aspects of owning their small business. As for working with each other, Dani says laughs and says, "there's a lot" she loves about working with her husband of nine years.
Riley says, "It's a fun game with your best friend, you know, every day has its challenges, obviously. But you know, being with your family is amazing. And it's great."
From Danielle and Riley:
THANK YOU to our staff, our community, the artists that have been with us, whether they are here currently or if they were with us in the beginning and they are off doing other things. Every person who has been in either one of our locations.
We have learned so much and we have felt so much love over the past 5 years. It just is insane and I am so happy and excited to be able to bring that to Spokane and the community of having these different artists and options and having a different look on repurposing things and just having a happy place for people where everybody feels welcome and this is there home just as it is ours.