Address: 1111 E 11th St #100, Austin, TX 78702
Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop Take Heart – Photos by Katie Jameson for The Style Line
“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,” Austin-based shop owner Nina Gordon expressed in our interview below. “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.” We certainly believe it – Case in point, today’s story with Nina and her store Take Heart.
Nestled in the heart of the adorable East Austin neighborhood, the shop was first conceptualized by Nina as a childhood dream. Fast forward to the present day, where it is now one of the leading lifestyle shops in Austin which hosts a dynamic variety of locally-made goods from designers and brands throughout the United States.
Still, having a small business hasn’t stopped Nina from thinking big. We caught up with the thriving shop-boss to learn more about the steps she took to open a store and her thoughts on Austin’s small business culture, along with her advice for the next generation of makers. Discover the full interview below and enjoy exclusive photos captured during our visit by Katie Jameson for The Style Line.
*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN July 2016 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT AND INTRODUCTION
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 (as a 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.
What does it mean to “take heart” and how has that definition changed for you over the years?
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.
We’ve featured a lot of independent clothing boutiques over the years. With this in mind, what are your thoughts on the synergy between fashion and interior style and do you feel you have a similar approach to both your style and decorative preferences?
I love clothing! I have since I was a kid. I do think the two are in sync in my life. I think decorating and dressing are a way for us to express our creativity.
What is one thing you always find yourself discussing amongst Austin-based fellow shop or small business owners?
Instagram is challenging. Hard to not obsess, compare, try to figure it out. I try to Instagram in moderation for my mental health!
As a small business owner, what tools would you advise aspiring entrepreneurs to utilize in their own endeavors?
Before I opened my shop I spoke with other small business owners to get their input/advice. I remember one guy who owns a cute shop in Providence, RI called Frog and Toad, was really open to me asking him questions. He told me to be prepared to work a lot the first three years and he was right.
I took a business class at a local nonprofit organization called Big Austin. This class was really helpful and guided me to create a full business plan before I opened, which was really good preparation.
I read a book called The Artist’s Way which helped me hone in on my vision for my shop and break through some fears of trying something new.
[CLICK EACH THUMBNAIL IN THESE GALLERIES TO EXPAND IMAGE]
What role do you think creativity plays in some of the world’s bigger conversations and how do you think Austin is contributing to this shift in thinking?
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.
How do you hope to see the Take Heart customer evolve as the store becomes more deeply rooted in Austin’s small business community?
Over the five years, we have been open we have a lot of regular customers which I love. Getting to know people, good conversation. I look forward to seeing our regular customer base continue to flourish. With Austin’s growth, we have noticed much more out of town visitors checking out East Austin.
With reference to the above question, do you ever hope to replicate Take Heart on a global scale (especially with the emphasis on Japanese design, in mind)?
I fantasize about opening a location in Santa Fe…
“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.”
[CLICK EACH THUMBNAIL IN THESE GALLERIES TO EXPAND IMAGE]
The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?
I always dress based on how I am feeling. I pick whatever speaks to me that day, I can’t plan outfits ahead of time. Also have to base it on the weather at the time, its hot as heck in Austin right now so it is mumu season.
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
Can I take you to dinner?
How would you advise the next generation of makers, creative/fashion professionals or people, in general, to leave an imprint in the world just by doing what they love?
Trust yourself, be nice to yourself, be yourself, don’t compare.