My Neighborhood – Hoboken, New Jersey

Written by Peta Arthurson

See why moving to Hoboken was a winner with former AWNY Vice President Peta Arthurson.


My husband and I stumbled upon the neighborhood of Hoboken and at first we completely freaked out. We had never planned on moving to NEW JERSEY!!! That’s a whole different state, and train system! But, if you read along with me you will see why I think its been our best neighborhood so far!

Upon recently expanding my family to include our new baby girl Matilda, my husband and I knew we wanted a little more space at but with affordable rent, and non- negotiable outdoor space for our dog (there was no way could I walk him at night in the dead of winter with a newborn if my hubby was away for work!) And of course we wanted all of this without moving to Westchester or some other upstate NY or Long Island location. I’m pleased to report we found it in Hoboken, New Jersey, just a short distance from Manhattan.


Peta, husband Shane and baby Matilda on Matilda’s first Snow Day – Dec 2016


Where is Hoboken?

Hoboken, New Jersey is right across the Hudson river and is bordered by Weehawken to the North and Jersey City to the South & West. The streets are on a grid similar to Manhattan with the cross streets being numbered from 1st (downtown) to 14th (uptown) and some president’s names like Washington, Adams, Madison, Monroe.

Transport in Hoboken

Hoboken is essentially in line with Houston and 23rd streets of Manhattan and getting into the city is quick and easy. The PATH train runs regularly from 33rd street to Hoboken and the ferry runs to 42nd and World Trade Center. In fact, if you work downtown, the ferry takes only 5 minutes. There are also buses, with NJ Transit operating between the Hoboken Bus Terminal and Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. We also have a light rail system connecting Jersey City to Weehawken and beyond.

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Eco Cleaning Supplies Inspired By Australian Recycling – AWNY Startup Stories with Sacha Dunn

Tell us about your business and what inspired you to begin.

I started Common Good when I had small children and became concerned about the chemicals we were bringing into our home. I was equally alarmed by the amount of plastic recycling our little family was generating each week from laundry detergent and hand soap bottles. We remember that in Australia, we’d keep the big plastic container and refill it with a milk carton of laundry detergent. When we couldn’t find anything like that here in New York, we created Common Good and designed a refill station where people could bring their empty bottles, refill them and keep them out of the recycling stream for years.

What is your Ah Ha moment?

That happened before launching Common Good  In my previous career, I was a still life and interiors prop stylist. I used styled for Vogue Living and was the style editor at Marie Claire Lifestyle (remember that magazine?!) When we moved to New York in 2001, it was bad timing to start a new career. But I called a few photo editors and on the third call, the editor said “just keep talking with that Australian accent! I’m so glad you’re here. I only hire Australian stylists and photographer. I’m going to book you on this job.” The accent has been working for me ever since.
 Sacha Portrait copy

What have been the hardest lessons in starting a business?

The hardest lessons have been about moving from a freelance creative business to manufacturing and distribution. That’s a lot to learn. I feel like I got an MBA in real time. The other big thing I learned, was how to build a company culture. As a freelancer, you don’t work with the same people for very long. Now we have a team of people who are amazing and we look forward to seeing each other every day.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

We were lucky. We created a product we wanted, put it out into the world to see if people would buy it and they did! Beyond that initial success, word-of-mouth is the best thing any brand can hope for and because we have a great mission, we get a lot of people sharing our brand.

Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?

We have some wonderful mentors! People are either drawn to us by our mission which means we get a wide range of advice from finance to environmental to sales and marketing. I also think we get interest because we’re trying to move the needle in terms of sustainability in a category that is dominated by a few major corporations.

What advice would you given someone thinking about starting a business?

Talk to other entrepreneurs! It is like having a baby and will take 2x the time you think it will. At the same time, don’t wait, don’t hold back. If it’s something you really want to do then get to work and make it happen.

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business?

The whole idea behind Common Good is Australian! It was that A-ha moment of refilling our laundry bottles that lead us to create Common Good. I also think that everything about me is Australian so there are probably a lot of things about how I work that are culturally different because I’m Australian.
 Refill Station copy

What is next for your business?

We are launching the next phase in refillable household soaps and cleaners! Our new Refill Box Collection uses 83% less plastic than the equivalent bottles and will ship direct to your door.

Do you have any offer or promo code you would like to share with AWNY members?

We don’t have a promo code but we’d love you to check us out on Kickstarter!

Why the Kickstarter now?

We’re running the crowdfunding campaign because we want to show this product to people and get them excited before we manufacture. We want to get feedback and questions from as many people as possible before we launch. This felt like the best way to get that feedback. We plan on manufacturing in the fall so it won’t be too long before the new products are on the market.

CG Current Range 2 copy

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From Interior Design to Jewelry Design – Eliza from TWO Boss Beads in AWNY Startup Stories

AWNY Startup series: Two boss beads

Eliza Yohana is the owner and maker at Two boss beads.  She creates bold chunky jewelry inspired by both nature and geometry.  She has a background in commercial Interior Design and hails from Melbourne!  She talks to AWNY about how it all began, her challenges and start-up tips.

Tell us more about how you came to the New York area…was it through life, adventure, work or study?

It was through work, not mine but my husband’s!  He is American and we met in Melbourne.  We hadn’t planned to move, but things do change, and in 2012 work opportunities for him were better in New York than Melbourne.   We arrived in Hoboken in October 2012.  Our daughter was 4 at the time.

How was Two boss beads born?

In our first year, I spent a lot of time exploring museums and different districts in New York City.   The area I loved the most was the Garment District with all its bead and fabric shops.  I spent hours in the bead shops and was very inspired by the materials I saw.  I immediately wanted to try out some bracelet designs.  I made and gifted a lot of bracelets in 2013.  Later that year we moved to the burbs so our daughter could go to school.  The business idea was put on the back burner for a couple of years.  I was completely sidetracked by wallpaper removal, light fittings and bathrooms!  By the end of 2015 I was over the renovating (and no it’s not finished!) and considering my options.  When one of the local Moms offered to host a launch party for my jewelry I jumped at the chance.  The party was in December 2015 and was a huge success. I launched my Etsy shop in March 2016.

Twobossbeads 03

Where did the business name come from?

Our daughter was instrumental in convincing me that I needed an Etsy shop.  The name recognizes her as the second boss…sometimes the first!  And I love a bit of alliteration!

What have been your greatest challenges in starting up a new business in the New York area?

I think the challenges I face are ones around working for myself and being an entrepreneur and I think these would apply wherever I set up shop.  In the past, I worked for companies which had structures and parameters to guide me.  More importantly, there were other people to help me along the way!  Now I find that I’m doing everything myself from designing to making, photographing to being an SEO expert.  Sometimes it’s hard to know what task to prioritize to further my goals!

Are you an Australian brand or an American brand?

That’s a difficult question!  I think my aesthetic is very Australian and is a product of where I grew up and my life experiences. This is reflected in my jewelry.  I’d say that it is both and I hope that it is comfortable in either place.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

I think my aesthetic is very clean and modern.  It is also playful but stylish.  I’m a big fan of color but don’t generally like combining too many colors in one design as I personally find that hard to wear.  I’m influenced by my years as an Interior Designer and often take inspiration from architecture and interiors.

Twobossbeads 02

Starting up can be notoriously difficult – what’s motivates you to keep going?

I am very harsh on myself and my family and friends are good at reminding me of this! In fact, my local community has been hugely supportive of me.  Also, celebrating small steps or wins has helped me!  And when all else fails I go and make more stuff!

Did you write a business plan or are you intuitively growing your business? 

I started with a simple business and marketing plan.  I find that I am continually revising this as I learn from my experiences and mistakes.  I think that a plan is hugely important.  It makes you think through the why, what and who and it gives direction to all your tasks.  It sounds silly, but I now have a once a week ‘making’ day scheduled (that’s the minimum!).  In my focus on business goals, part of my ‘why’ had gone out the window!

Can you tell me about a great day: a break through, a moment of clarity, making a great connection…a day in the life of Eliza Yohana that inspires you to keep going?

I have mini aha moments often – like the day it dawned on me that I needed to plan my days and months more tactically, so that time doesn’t slip by! Another big realization was that I was making too many different styles of jewelry and this was clouding my vision of my audience.  I saw this as a potential problem when I started but I didn’t anticipate the effect.  I should have listened to my Melbourne friend who said to choose one style!  After nearly a year in business, it is clear to me which type is selling best and which I enjoy making the most and that is what I am concentrating on now.

Recently I have made a great connection with a group of local makers.  I’m excited about that and where it will take me and us as a group.

What are your three greatest learnings in starting up a business?

The first thing that comes to mind is the importance of planning, as I’ve already spoken about.  The second thing is to not underestimate the power of local community – the people where you live.  My local community has been very supportive and I make many more sales here than I do on Etsy.  Thirdly, it is important to switch off.  No one tells you how all-consuming it is to be your own boss.  I find it very hard to switch off.  I haven’t mastered this one yet and it needs to go into the planner!

What advice would you give someone else in a Start-up?

Not to give up too soon! One of my good friends reminded me that the start-up period is typically 3 years – overnight success is great, but some things take time.

Secondly, marketing is King!  Put yourself out there because people want to get to know the real you.  I initially had trouble with this, but am making headway.  This is not natural for me and is something that Americans seem to be inherently good at.  I am watching, learning and trying to have no fear!

Make sure you have access to a mentor or two.  I have some online mentors and the extra opinion is always helpful.

What is your strongest marketing tool?

Word of mouth at present, followed by Facebook.

What is next for your business?

Reaching more customers through other online platforms, a standalone website, wholesale and markets.

Do you have an offer or promo code that you would like to share with the AWNY community?

Yes!  Absolutely!  Use code AWNY15 for 15% off until the end of April 2017.


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AWNY Startup Stories: Natchie

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 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.



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Luxury Dog Brand: Wolfpack – Launching this November – This week’s AWNY Startup Story.

Hayley Whitfield, a former management consultant, swapped the office for her luxury dog coat and accessories brand – Wolfpack. Launching this fall with a selection of luxury coats to help your dog adjust to the freezing New York winter.

Hayley is also a valued AWNY Committee Member working with the events team to create many of the wonderful AWNY events held this year.

Tell us about Wolfpack and why you decided to start this business.

Wolfpack is a high end brand of dog apparel and accessories created in dedication to my Miniature Poodle Rosa. It is centered around luxury leather jackets – think burgundy embossed leather with Italian antique brass accessories at the high end and a distressed vintage brown parka at the lower “urban” end. I’m launching my first collection in October, in preparation for the chilly winter air.

My desire to create the brand stems from my first experience with a New York winter and attempting to dress Rosa in warm clothes. I grew up in rural Victoria and spent 5 years in sunny Sydney before relocating to New York in 2014, so needless to say to an Aussie audience, that I was not prepared for the polar vortex that I walked into and I certainly didn’t have the appropriate attire to deal with it!

I had never before considered dressing my dog and to be honest I was a bit embarrassed about doing it! I sense my dad rolling his eyes at the thought. After navigating various dog jackets for their durability, warmth and aesthetic I found myself a bit lost and frustrated and decided that I wanted to create something for Rosa that was more like her – this maturing, elegant New Yorker. And so the burgundy leather jacket was born and so was the idea to develop a whole collection around it – luxury for the urban wolf.

You are at the very beginning of your business, what have been the hardest lessons in getting started so far?

Patience, persistence and trust!

Patience and persistence have been the most important skills I’ve had to develop so far. I started my business 6 months ago and I have been learning everything from scratch. With a background in management consulting, I didn’t have any knowledge about garment design, materials sourcing, production partnerships or how to launch a product into a wholesale and retail environment. I had no contacts and no idea where to start. I just followed my nose and chipped away at the challenge.

Never creating a product before, I foolishly expected that by just working hard it would translate into results. I am interacting with so many different groups along the supply chain that I actually don’t have much control over my pace and progress. So I have learnt to manage my own expectations around timelines! I’m dealing with some fabulous Italian suppliers who march to their own beat, progress at a leisurely pace and then drop a bombshell like disappearing for 4 weeks to holiday in August. Not anticipating this, my launch date has been completely derailed. But you don’t know, what you don’t know.

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On reflection, I think the most important lesson I am learning is to trust that myself – my pathway, my decisions, my progress is ok, even though there are no visible signs or feedback. I am learning to trust myself and to be comfortable in what often feels like a suspended state of the unknown. There is no validation from a superior when you are the boss. There is little consumer feedback before you have launched a product. So I am learning to trust my instincts and not be paralyzed by the unknown. Whilst this is daunting, it also makes me feel a lot more present and alive.

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