Las Vegas local Christina Dylag is no stranger to challenges. Raised by conservative parents right here in Vegas, once she completed college she ventured out, travelling to destinations such as India, Nepal and Thailand to find herself. Upon her return, having no knowledge of running a business nor any knowledge of cocktails or bartending, Dylag […]
Las Vegas local Christina Dylag is no stranger to challenges. Raised by conservative parents right here in Vegas, once she completed college she ventured out, travelling to destinations such as India, Nepal and Thailand to find herself. Upon her return, having no knowledge of running a business nor any knowledge of cocktails or bartending, Dylag along with her sister opened Velveteen Rabbit in Downtown Las Vegas. According to Dylag, the tools required to open the bar just fell into place. The city’s plan to revamp Downtown provided grants for the business startup and licensing. Fast forward to 2021: Velveteen Rabbit is slowly recovering from our states Covid 19 mandates and Dylag has recently launched her first book entitled Tiny Little Boxes which also bears the tagline How to Cope with Existential Dread by Way of Ice Cream and Other Means. I recently had the chance to sit down with Dylag and talk about the book, how her beliefs have shifted and her unique marketing strategies.
STEPHANIE SHEHAN: Congratulations on your first book! What was your inspiration and how did you find the time to write a book?
CHRISTINA DYLAG: I began writing back in 2013 when we opened Velveteen Rabbit. My intention was to own a business which would allow me to write on the side. I did not want the writing aspect of my life to be so monetarily driven. And for me, the first book I wrote had to reflect my true, authentic self. I had been delving into different self help modalities leading up to the book and in doing so I came up with the idea for the book. It really hit me how conditioned we all are to believe certain things and behave in certain ways. We take on jobs that we don’t even want, and we go to school even if we are not drawn to school. All of these things, even our daily routines are so monotonous. I really wanted to write something that allowed people to really see outside of that box.
SS: What is the book about?
CD: Tiny Little Boxes encourages readers to truly understand that the restrictions and social constructs placed upon ourselves are unnecessary. And, once those ideologies are thrown out, life can be lived more authentically and freely. Allowing people to see another way forward opens up so much. Living an authentic life, aligned with our purpose and who we are, not only opens things up for us, but allows everyone around us to have that possibility as well.
SS: I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think, oftentimes people do not allow themselves even the thought of straying from their conditioned beliefs until they are at the end of their lives. It is unfortunate to wait that long. Have you always been a deep thinker?
CD: I have always been drawn to different philosophies and thinking outside of the box which allowed me this life path of opening a business that I knew nothing about and writing a book that could potentially help others. When I first thought about opening Velveteen, I asked myself why couldn’t I open a bar, and why couldn’t I do it now. The typical answer “Because other people said so” did not sit well with me. But again, that is just me thinking outside of the box and ignoring what the people inside of the box were saying.
SS: Once finished, you implemented a few unique marketing strategies…
CD: I did. When I finally finished the book, it became time to think about how to uniquely market it. There are such a mass amount of books published each year that I knew I had to come up with something catchy and cool. That catch turned out to be ice cream, Nihilist Ice Cream to be exact. Initially, I purchased a hearse with the idea of wrapping it and then venturing out to barter people’s souls for ice cream. Hence the cover tagline: How to Cope with Existential Dread by Way of Ice Cream and Other Means. A couple things interfered with that vision, Covid 19 and the perception that the hearse and bartering for souls was just too dark for some people. Not everyone understood what I was trying to do and at the time, I was buying the ice cream wholesale. Eventually, the owner of the last company I dealt with let me know she was done with ice cream and she asked if I was interested in acquiring her equipment. After purchasing the equipment and receiving some ice cream making lessons, my ideas shifted a bit and now, we offer cocktails and ice cream at Velveteen Rabbit. While there, you can purchase a copy of my book right out of the vending machine. As for the hearse, it will still venture out as I have plans to do pop-ups once Covid restrictions are lifted.
SS: How fun! What awesome marketing ideas. As we wrap this up, do you have any words of inspiration for our readers?
CD: Follow your truth and adhere to it strongly. People will question you. People will doubt you. That’s just the nature of the beast and something for you to overcome on your journey. Freedom is on the other side of your conditioned beliefs.
Tiny Little Boxes is available at Writer’s Block downtown, as well as in the vending machine at Velveteen Rabbit. You can also order a copy online at nihilisticicecream.com or on Amazon.
Instagram: @nihilisticecream Website: nihilisticecream.com
Photo Credits: Harold Johnson