$2 billion slips away from Oakland businesses every year

At a young age, Ari ran the census numbers. She saw the game was set against her. Growing up in affordable housing, seeing skeptical faces when she shared her vision of the future, she thought, “There’s no going down. I can only go up from here.” Ari Takata-Vasquez, founder of Viscera, entrepreneur, and muralist, shows us how $2 billion in retail leakage leaves Oakland every year. It goes across the Bay to SF, big box retail in Emeryville, and into Bezos’ back pocket. But knowing that fact, she showed us how change is possible, how that money can—deservedly—stay in Oakland and contribute to what makes our city great. By taking risks and investing in ourselves and our communities, there is a path to keeping our dollars local.

About the speaker

Ari is driven by a deep passion for creatives and her community. Founder of the brand and brick and mortar shop, Viscera, Ari strives to enrich Oakland’s entrepreneurial landscape by supporting makers, designers, and artists. She carefully sources well made, ethical products that help consumers connect with the process and stories behind the products they purchase. Founded in 2014, Viscera has been featured in the SF Chronicle, Racked, 7x7, Oakland Magazine and more.

Ari bridges the worlds of city planning, art, and business through her design and consulting business, Viscera Studio. Her studio helps start-ups and growing businesses to overcome the challenges of limited access to resources and capital, by generating scrappy and creative solutions. To this end, Ari also serves as a board member for the Oakland Indie Alliance, a nonprofit organization that helps local, independent businesses thrive in Oakland.

When she isn’t running her business or studio, she is an artist creating murals across the Bay, and most recently was commissioned by the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation to paint one of their iconic hearts of SF.

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