New York-based Australian Nadia Ackerman started Natchie after 2 years on the flea market circuit in NYC. Now she owns and runs a store in DUMBO as well as ger growing online store. She talks to AWNY about how it began, her lessons, and shares her top Startup tips.
Tell us about yourself and your business, particularly what inspired you to begin.
My name is Nadia Ackerman. I am an Australian singer/songwriter. I moved to NYC from the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia in 1998.
After many years pounding the pavement as a professional singer I hit a wall and had an emotional breakdown. I was introduced to EMDR therapy and not only did it save my life but also opened up my mind to illustration and songwriting. I took art in high school but in no way did I ever consider myself an artist! 4 years ago after working hard in therapy I started to see my songs as drawings. It seemed odd to me but the images were powerful and fully formed in my mind. All I had to do was buy paper and pencils and get started. I began with one of my albums, “The Ocean Master” and started drawing every song on the album. I then came up with the idea of selling the images as greeting cards and prints. Each image would have the lyrics on the back and a free download code so you could own the song. Thus…Natchie was born! After two years on the NYC flea market circuit I opened my own brick and mortar store in Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY.
How long did you have the idea for your business?
There wasn’t really anytime between the idea and bringing it to life. It happened almost immediately.
Why did you decided to set up a store, and what made you choose DUMBO?
I really believe in connecting with my customers so the idea of just an online store didn’t interest me at all. I want to meet people, see their reaction to my work, and get to know them. Dumbo came about because I used to sell my greeting cards down here in a store. Every time I dropped off an order I would be like…hmmmm…this is a GREAT area!
As a very talented and creative person, what tips or tricks do you have for people like you, that might need to focus their efforts to achieve something big, instead of trying to do ‘everything’?
I think the best advice I can give is to have a GREAT idea and just jump in with both feet. Don’t overthink it or you will never get anywhere. As soon as you begin with your idea it will guide you to what you need to do and when.
What steps did you go through to launch your business? (logistics, marketing etc)
I secured the store in Dumbo, set it up, painted the walls, the floor everything! EXHAUSTING. I set everything up and just opened. I’m a big believer in Instagram as a marketing tool (@natchieart has over 11.8k Instagram followers at the time of publishing). Then pretty much all of the opportunities that have come my way simply walked in the door by chance.
What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’
Maybe singing at Carnegie Hall for Sting and Trudie’s Rainforest Benefit Concert? I am actually doing that again this year on December 14th with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor and many more special guests yet to be announced.
Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?
Instagram and word of mouth!
Do you have any mentors or groups that have been instrumental in their support, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?
Yes, there is a fantastic blog in Spain called http://www.solaennuevayork.com/guia-personalizada/. The author, Bianca, stumbled across me at a market a few years ago and held onto my business card. A few years later she tracked me down in NYC and we have been working together ever since. She sends a lot of fabulous Spanish tourists my way and I just love it.
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?
Make sure you have a product that is unique and something that people will want to buy. The best research I did was the markets around NYC for 2 years. That enabled me to fine tune my product until I felt confident enough to open an entire store. And don’t think too much – just go ahead!
Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business, and why – or if not, also, why?
A lot of my drawings have the ocean in them and headlands! It was not intentional – it’s in my blood and comes out unconsciously in my work.
What is next for your business?
Christmas! And preparing for Japan again (earlier this year I was picked up by an incredible Japanese Department store called “Loft.” They flew me over to launch my product in 10 of their stores throughout Japan. It was a great success and looks like it will happen again next year).
Do you have an offer or promo code you would like to share with the AWNY community?
Yes! Use the Online shop code AWNY for free shipping.
Natchie’s SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
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