Andi Dornan, owner of Penny Lane Cooperative, sat down with Elisabeth Rohrbach, director of memberships at the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, to share the inspiration behind the business and why it was important for her to combine art with fashion.
Penny Lane Cooperative first opened its doors on June 1, 2016. It is obvious to see how well PLC is agreeing with many of the women that reside in Jackson—particularly those who are looking for the opportunity to leave their outdoor apparel at home and opt for more chic and cozy or fun and elegant looks. Besides the women’s apparel and accessories options, Dornan opened the shop up as a cooperative that shows her love for art, collaboration, and bringing the community together. Male or female, Penny Lane cooperative is a must during your town shopping excursion or visit to Jackson Hole.
“The idea has been in my brain and heart for a long time”, Dornan said. She studied retail management and fashion design at Purdue University, and while growing up was exposed to her mother’s dress shop which sparked her passion at a young age. When asked what inspired her to carry apparel in her store, she replied “women’s fashion for me is more than just selling things. I enjoy helping women feel their best. What you wear on your body helps bring your own personal style out, showcases your current mood, and just makes you feel good. It is an art form and a fun way to spend my life and my days.”
Opening her first store in Jackson has been a dream of Dornan’s ever since she moved out here after college. She interned at Ella’s Room, a local lingerie shop, then graduated and returned to Jackson to continue working for the brand. Throughout her career, she always thought about opening her own shop and toyed around with different business ideas and plans. “I had some learning to do before I could bite this one off”, she said. “It had been festering inside me for a long time, and finally one day I just came to a point in my personal life where I could afford to take the risk personally.”
The idea to combine the women’s apparel with the local artists cooperative came from Rob Hollis of Frost Salon. He’s a good friend of Dornan’s and was graced by her passions and dreams that she shared with him while sitting in his chair during her hair appointments for years. “Rob called me one day saying there was a space available near his salon and that he thinks he has found a way for my dream of having a retail shop more viable”, she said. Hollis shared with her the idea of incorporating local artists into it, much like the concept trending in California that he believed could work in Jackson. Dornan thought the idea was brilliant and started to do the math. She decided to break the space in half and portion it off to the artists since she felt the space was too big for just retail. “Some artists have been with me since day one, and once I had them as my anchors I was able to confidently gain others and get a full house before I opened the doors in June” she said gratefully.
Though Andi chose to keep upcoming artists anonymous, Elisabeth was able to find out what truly inspired the name. “Coming up with a name is like the hardest thing on earth, but I just started to think about style and the history of fashion and the eras I gravitate towards the most, like the late sixties and early seventies. With this era, it happened to coincide with the Beatles which immediately made me think of their song “Penny Lane” which creates this nostalgic feeling for folks our parents age and feelings that would trigger the movie Almost Famous for the younger generations” she said. And just like that, Dornan’s knowledge of fashion, music, art, and film helped Penny Lane Cooperative come to life.
The apparel end of the business did not simply appear on its own. Dornan does all the buying herself in Los Angeles, CA where she says makes the most sense since the golden state’s edgy-chic style fits with the customer in Jackson. Anything from the east coast, to her, does not fit the western vibes. When asked what really jumps out at her from her perfectly curated selection, she said “I do like to carry a good amount of affordable dresses. I like to carry small runs of unique things, so when you buy a dress here you’ll know that I only bought six of them. You’ll be the only one wearing that one size, so it is quite special”. Elisabeth then asked Dornan if she could describe PLC in a few sentences, and she was eager to reply with the brand’s tagline “Fashion.Art.Community. It specializes in affordable on-trend women’s apparel and happens to also be a local artist cooperative where we’re giving them the opportunity to have mini store fronts. It’s a community space where people can gather with workshops and events and is open for any ideas that this town has for it”.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Learn more about the local artists currently being featured in the shop, new arrivals, and all events going on in this great community space. Thank you to Andi Dornan for welcoming the Chamber into the creative process that made Penny Lane Cooperative what it is today.
This story is a part of #humansofjhchamber: The campaign places a focus on the faces of our local businesses and nonprofits. Learn about their inspirations, why they got started in their industry, and more! Find the Chamber on Instagram, @jhchamber. For information about the program, please contact Director of Membership, Elisabeth Rohrbach, firstname.lastname@example.org or 307.201.2301.
Written by Communications Manager, Cecilie Davila, email@example.com or 307.201.2304.