Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dylan Kloska, Founder of Vines and Vinyl, located in Brookfield, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are Vines and Vinyl, a plant shop plus record store in downtown Brookfield, Illinois. Our customers are anyone who loves music and plants, young, old, and all in between. We specialize in easy-care houseplants, potted in up-cycled, unique, and one-of-a-kind vessels, and our record selection spans all genres, though we specialize in new pressings. So you can get the hottest and newest releases, or you can grab an old favorite or classic album- remastered and sealed, pressed on colored vinyl, and/or pressed on durable and great-sounding 180-gram vinyl. We also are happy to take special orders. If the record is out there, we can get it for you.

Tell us about yourself

I am a lifelong musician and songwriter. Music is in my bones and a constant presence in my life. I also love nature and wildlife and love walking amongst the trees and appreciating greenery. When Covid shut everything down, I found myself alone in my apartment, playing records and tending to my plants. One day, a light bulb turned on in my head, and the (pun intended) seed was planted to start my own record/plant store. My main motivation personally is to wake up every day and find new music that I love. Every day we wake up, and there is more music in the world than when we went to sleep. My motivation is to add wrinkles to my brain in the form of new music, new songs that turn me on, and a new band that blows my hair back. And plants just rule. They make all spaces better places. I like to name my plants, and each day I have little chats with my personified plants as I tend to them and help them grow. I want to provide my community with new music and also help them green up their spaces with happy and healthy, low-maintenance plants.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Just being here, really. Life is hard, and I do not come from money. I have had parents and siblings, and they all help me get by, whether it's making a place for me at the dinner table or taking my dog for a walk so I can work late at the shop. Family is important and key to me. We just hit six months of being open for the shop and that fucking rule. I've met a ton of people in that time, and we've put on some great shows here. I love combining plant people and music people, and art people under the same roof. We have a lot of good times here. I am very proud that in short order, we have begun to establish ourselves as a venue that is open to artists and musicians and the green thumbs to congregate here and express themselves. Music and art are one, and plants are the art of nature. Everyone is welcome here, and it's important that communities have spaces for creative folks to safely get together to share their art and skillsets free of prejudice and numbskulls.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Just the everyday grind and pressure to make it work. There is so much noise pollution and bad stuff on social media; breaking through negativity and political noise on social is a tall task. The hardest part so far is getting the word out that we are here and that were are doing so much cool stuff in Brookfield.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do it!
  2. Get creative and collaborative. It takes a village.
  3. Believe in yourself, and drink enough water.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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