Tandie of NestaHome is one of the most put-together people I’ve ever ‘met.’ She runs NestaHome, an incredible artsy hodgepodgerie of all sorts of wonderful, and she recently took on the role of Momma to one gorgeous little baby. I can barely keep up with my measly little shop and blog, and she’s rocking over 1,400 sales in one of the neatest art and homegoods shops on Etsy, which is also, incidentally, her full-time job these days. Read on for all the many reasons that Tandie’s wonderful, and fall in love with NestaHome as fast as I did!
Q. What’s the story behind NestaHome?
A. NestaHome is the name of my online Etsy shop. In the shop you’ll find my artwork influenced by travel to foreign lands, big cities and urban life, as well as textiles inspired by the comforts of home. I opened up shop in December of 2007, and for the last two years I’m happy to say that I sell my creations fulltime.
Q. You’ve done quite well with NestaHome as your full-time job for two years. Was it scary taking that plunge, and how do you like being self-employed?
A. My self-employment origins are a little unique… I was laid off from my full-time job as a landscape designer when the economy crashed. Having been in the profession for over 8 years it was challenging to find the positives from making a career change at this stage in my life. A friend suggested I try setting up a shop on Etsy. I had always enjoyed taking photos, painting and sketching, and now I had plenty of time to see where that could take me. Two years later I’m not sure I could go back into an office, and to put it simply, I love not having a boss!
Q. I love how you incorporate different media into your work – 1941 atlas pages, printing, photography, and so on. What’s your favorite medium to work with?
A. Photography will probably always be my true passion. I’m somewhat of an impatient person and photography (especially digital photography) captures a moment and feeling a lot more quickly than a painting or drawing would. I wanted to find a unique way to display and print my images, and that’s how the Atlas pages came about. It’s perfect because it combines two passions of mine – travel and photography.
Q. As a successful entrepreneur, what advice can you give aspiring businesswomen, on Etsy or otherwise?
A. Selling your creations definitely comes with different challenges than other businesses. On a competitive marketplace such as Etsy, sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the crowd… Focus your energy on ways to express your passion for what you make. People notice the passion and thoughtfulness that goes into your own unique perspective. That unique style and perspective may be that one key ingredient that make your shop/items stand out. And probably most importantly, be patient. There will be bad days/weeks/months that, as the only person in your business, you have to bear all by yourself. The good days/weeks/months will make up for the bad ones in the end.
Q. Do you have any sort of muse?
A. Travel. I traveled to Japan in 6th grade as part of a sports team where I stayed with a host family and trained for 2 weeks… The utter culture shock was unbelievable. You really don’t know what lies on the other side of the world until you go there. Pictures and stories can never measure up to the actual experience of being in a foreign country. That experience made me wonder what the rest of the world was like and initiated my desire to see the world.
Q. You feature lots of cityscapes. What’s your favorite city in the world?
A. LONDON! After I graduated college, I moved to London where I lived and worked for almost a year. It was amazing! I knew no one, had nowhere to live, was jobless, and carried nothing but my backpack, camera, and hundreds of rolls of film. It was there where I realized I had a real love of the ‘city.’ When you live in a big city like that, the city becomes another person or being in your life. There where days in which the crowded, noisy, stinky streets drove me mad… and then there would be that one moment where I would stop and think ‘that just happened’…
Q. Where do you see NestaHome five years from now?
A. Well, five years ago I would’ve of never guessed I’d be here, talking to you about my shop where I actually sell my artwork. I guess there’s some comfort in knowing that getting laid off and having to switch careers when the economy was falling apart helped me to find my creative outlet. I’d love to expand NestaHome and start designing and selling my textiles on a larger scale. Other than that I’d like to have more opportunities to ponder the next question.
Q. If I gave you $500, and you had to spend it right this minute on something completely frivolous – a total luxury item that you’ve been lusting after – what would you get?
A.I’d probably book a spa day. I’ve never had one but somehow know that I need one badly. : )
One lucky winner gets a $35 gift certificate to NestaHome to spend on absolutely anything you’d like from the shop (which, might I point out, is more than enough for a set of FOUR hand-stamped tea towels…)! This giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, June 27 and is open to everyone.
To enter visit NestaHome, and select a favorite item. This step is mandatory, and please make sure to leave your e-mail address in your first comment.
Additional entries (Leave one comment for each entry.):
Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? Which city/small town calls your name, and what is it that you love about it?
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