What was supposed to be a 15 minute interview with Danielle Colby quickly turned in an hour of knowledge and one liners that will never leave me. Danielle is possibly one of the most real and down to earth people I have ever met.
If you don’t know her from American Pickers, maybe you’ll recognize her as executive producer of Tempest Storm or as owner of American Vintage Market. The experiences, adversity and success throughout her life should, and I assume will turn into a book. Her Midwest mentality is something I’m dying to learn more about after talking to her. As she said “The Midwest is the epitome of punk rock in this country” and that is exactly what she is. A total punk rock badass.
Before American Pickers, what were you doing?
“Before American Pickers I was a clothing designer for Gorilla Clothing. I don’t have any formal education in design. But when you have a couple kids and you have to provide for them, you do what you’re good at. I owned a shop and we made clothes, sold jewelry, and I also did energy healing. I still do all of that stuff for fun but not for my career.”
What inspired your love for fashion?
“Quite honestly, I wish I could say I was hip enough to have a love for fashion. It was more that we didn’t have a lot of money and I just so happen to know how to hand stitch. I just did what I knew how to do. I would get a lot of free stuff from my friends and I would just cut them apart and sew them back together. It wasn’t anything really fancy, I didn’t go into it saying ‘I want to be a clothing designer” it was more like “I want to eat this week’. “
Tell me a little about your upbringing?
“I grew up a Jehovahs Witness and was very sheltered throughout childhood. You know, not going to school dances, not playing sports, not participating in holidays, and really just not doing a lot of the things a typical little girl would do. I started working at a very young age and that is where my work ethic evolved from. I knew that life was an adventure and I really needed to step out of the box a little bit. That is when I started doing roller derby and it really pulled me out of my shell and forced my inner warrior to come raging out. It was a really hard transition for me because of how shy I was. After I totally beat up my body with roller derby, I really just fell in love with Burlesque. It keeps me focusing on my mind, feeling, and art. I truly believe that Paganism and burlesque heal me from the inside out. Those two things are what I am really obsessed with.”
What do you love most about the Midwest?
“What I love most is just the beautiful & wonderful people. The Midwest is just full of real ass folk. You’re going to know what someone is thinking and always going to be on the same page even if you disagree. Some of my closest friends are very conservative Iowa folk and even with our different views, they will always be there for me and I will always be there for them. I can live anywhere and the Midwest is just home to me. It offers everything I could ever want or need and I can just visit elsewhere.”
If the Antique Archaeology caught on fire, what would be the one item Mike, Frank, and yourself would take?
“Mike would grab his 1911 Indian motorcycle he keeps in his office, Frankie would grab the cash register, and I would grab Mike hahah.”
How did you meet Mike and Frankie?
“I actually met Mike 15 years ago at a garage sale. We became really good friends and just have so many of the same attributes. He is a very driven and highly passionate man and I am a very driven and highly passionate women. We connected on a level that will be fed off of each other for a very long time. Friends come and go in this world and he is one that will always be there. I am just so proud that we have help onto our relationship over the years. To sum Mike up, he is just old school punk rock.
I met Mike through Frank when Frank needed help with his online dating profile. I came over and helped him fill out his bio. One thing that people overlook is how funny Frankie really is. He is honestly one of the funniest guys I have ever met and just has a very tender heart. They are two opposites that work really well together.”
Is there one thing in particular you have been searching for over the years and have yet to come across it?
“I would LOVE to have the original Theda Bara costume. I have been looking for it as long as I can remember. Every single piece of her clothing, jewelry, and so on is either owned by an estate or i. She is the original vamp and ultimate icon to me in every way. I have been obsessed with her since I was 12 years old.”
If you could hangout with one person dead or alive, who would it be?
“My great grandma Evelyn Colby. She was a bad b****. I miss her every single day.”
Have you learned anything from your audience?
“Of course! Everyday we go to work we learn from our audience and what knowledge they’re hungry for. It help us on so many levels, not just from a business standpoint. There is no way in hell we would be here without our loyal fans during the years. We are 100% the biggest fans of our audience. We wake up everyday and count our blessing that those people choose to watch our show.”
Thanks so much for chatting and sharing your wisdom, stories and a great time with us Danielle!