Hi I’m Dylan!
Six years ago I built the company whose web page you are on now! I had just stepped down from leading Hollywood Arts, the charity I founded helping homeless young adults through arts-based education. I wasn't sure what my next move was, just that I was ready for my next venture. I had become fascinated with the concept of home after working with young people living on the streets. I began to understand how important home was no matter what "home" looked like. Objects, companionship, family: these made home. Remembering how much joy the ceramic items I made decades ago in my own studio, I embarked on building a company around joy and launched with a bowl on feet.
In my 20s I was a bartender in a Hollywood club. During the day I built magical creatures out of clay.
I moved to Oakland, California at 27 to attend the California College of Arts and Crafts for ceramics (by the way, never give up this was my 8th and soon to be 9th attempt at college). My studio was in a terrible neighborhood. Every morning over coffee I would wake up surrounded by blight and poverty. I couldn’t take it. I firmly believed that if everyone had access to the arts, either as a maker or a participant, then they would have a changed life. I closed down my ceramics studio, applied to UCLA and (surprisingly!) they accepted me. I finished my BA at 31 and my MA at 33 and was then accepted into CORO, a national public affairs leadership program at 34 (again to be surrounded by 23 year olds!) But I did it all and I did it with a determination I never had in my 20s.
I founded my first business, Hollywood Arts, at 35. Hollywood Arts was the only educational facility in the nation to use arts-, music-, and performance-based education to help over the age of 18 homeless youth develop the life and job skills they would need to get out of poverty on their own. After 4 years and some incredible recognition from the education community, I stepped down. I learned a lot building Hollywood Arts and most important I saw that we can never underestimate the role happiness and home plays in our own sense of well-being. I created a “home” out of a 2,000 square foot store front filled with instruments, computers, their photos and work on the walls, and a lot of laughter.
With this in mind, I then built Dylan Kendall Home. I returned to the footed bowl, a product I made years ago in my ceramics studio. Along the way I became a foster mom to a 14 year old boy named John who once took classes at Hollywood Arts. Through him, I met Karina Vega, his high school girlfriend, and am now a grandmother to their son, a 6 year old boy named Adrian.
Starting Dylan Kendall Home and juggling the company with being present for Karina and Adrian has been one of my most joyful challenges! I brought 0 dollars to Dylan Kendall and built this company out of nothing but a few small family and friend loans; threee Small Business Association micro loans; and crowdfunding (I’ve used Kickstarter and Indiegogo 5 times!). Karina (pictured above with me and Adrian) helps with customer service and packing and Adrian models in many of our photos!
Now that I am more settled I want to turn my attention to something that has always meant a lot to me: the welfare of animals and the planet we call home, our bigger home.
Join me, talk to me, share with me as I forge my own new journey discovering ways to keep our homes design-friendly as well as compassionate and cruelty free because I really do believe that Happy Homes Make Happy People and happy people will change the world.