Ever want to peek inside the mind of a retailer? We are bringing you an interview today with Austin's very own super stylish and handmade-supporting boutique Take Heart! Proprietress Nina Gordon has curated a thoughtful and intentional shop that many makers are eager to get into. How can you impress her and shops like hers? Read on!
Q: Please, introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your boutique and the products you offer.
A: My name is Nina Gordon and I own the shop take heart in Austin, Texas. I opened the shop five years ago and it is truly a new adventure for me. Now that I own my own business, work and life are not as separate as they used to be. That is one reason I decided to leave my old job (social worker), I did not want my work life to feel so separate from my ‘real’ life.
I enjoy seeking, reflecting, quiet time, nesting, hanging with my friends, mom and dogs. Spending time outside, searching for gems, admiring details and traveling when possible. My shop is a reflection of items I love, my appreciation for unique and thoughtfully created items and the calm feel I like to have in life. We offer a thoughtfully edited selection of items for the home and person.
Q: What is your process for choosing products for your boutique?
A: I choose the items for my shop based on how they make me feel. I choose whatever speaks to me, makes me feel good, inspired and wanting to share the item with others. I love the hunt. I look for items on Etsy, Instagram, when I travel and through estate sales.
Q: Do makers/designers approach you or do you approach them (or both)? What do you look for in someone's work that makes it right for your store?
A: I approach some and sometimes they contact me. Again, I choose work that is in sync with the shop. Items that care, thought and love are put into....when I pick this way all the items in the shop all seem to belong together.
Q: How important is packaging? Is there anything you consider a must or an absolute 'no-no'?
A: Packaging is very important to me. When picking products I consider the packaging, the quality of the material, where the item is made, how it makes me feel and the price.
Q: Since launching take heart, how has your relationship with the handmade community evolved?
A: I love finding new products for the shop and creating a relationship with the makers. I have gotten to know many more artists since opening the shop and I am endlessly amazed by the number of creative products and people that are out there.
Q: What advice could you give a designer/maker who wants to get their work into boutiques and brick and mortar shops for the first time?
A: I would advise being mindful of the feel/look of the shop and be sure it is the right fit before approaching. It takes courage to approach a shop with your work, so I say be brave but if they say no, try not to take is personally. You just might not be the right fit.
Q: Anything else you'd like to share with us about your business?
A: For me to take heart is to trust everything is going to be ok, even if it does not feel like it all the time. To trust myself and there is something out there bigger than me and my understanding helping things along. Over time I am starting to believe this in my core, rather than just my head.
For people thinking about opening their own business, one thing I learned from the book The Artist’s Way is to not judge what we feel passionate about. We are not doing any good if we are doing a job we don't like or suppressing our creativity. Hopefully if people can live authentic lives, do work they feel passionate about, that is sending positive energy out to those around them and the world in general.
Trust yourself, be nice to yourself, be yourself, don’t compare.
Q: Where can people find you online and off?
A: We have a brick and mortar in East Austin (1111 E 11th St Suite 100) and online at take heartshop.com. Also on instagram at @takeheartshop