Nalata Nalata

While recently in NYC, we met up with the owners of Nalata Nalata, "A retail experience founded on promoting the awareness of the people and the stories behind our curated lifestyle products," where we got to shoot some tea photos, check out their physical space, and hear about their #steeplife. 

We spoke with co-founder Angélique J.V. Chmielewski over some Jasmine Green Tea:

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How did the initial vision for Nalata Nalata come to fruition?

The initial vision for Nalata Nalata came into fruition because we simply wanted to know who makes the products that we use.

 How do you go about curating what brands the store ends up carrying?

 A lot of the time friends introduce designers and artisans we work with to us and over time we develop relationships with these people that evolve quite naturally.   

Shopping in your store is definitely an experience in and of itself, what are the most important things when creating a retail experience? 

 The most important things to consider when creating a retail experience are a balance of information and inspiration. Increasingly people are more conscious about what they consume so it is our job to inform them of why we like a product so they can come up with their own opinions. At the same time we want people to feel inspired to live better for whatever their lifestyle may be so we give options that we truly believe can motivate this sense. More than anything we hope that guests can walk out of our retail space and feel more mindful of the people, places and things that surround their everyday lives.

You guys spend a lot of time learning the story behind all of the artists you feature, what made you decide that learning the 'backstory' was so vital? 

 We spend a lot of time learning the story behind all of the designers and artisans we work with because nowadays, where things are more readily available, having a connection to the story behind a product is a key factor that adds to its value. The products we carry have stories behind them that we believe in so it’s a joy to share them with others. We’ve always gone after the who, what, where, when and why of a product because if you can answer all those questions, than you can get a better sense of its purpose in the world. Products with purpose have the ability to make the world a better place.

Do you have a favorite backstory that you've highlighted?

Our favorite backstories are usually about family-run businesses. We like to support family-run businesses because no matter how many generations of inheritance the company is on, they seem to never stop striving to not only survive, but also to evolve and get better. The Tajika family who has been making handcrafted scissors and shears for four generations is an example of one of our favorite Backstories.

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Speaking of backstories, what are some of the backstories of the Nalata Nalata team?

Our story begins in Canada where my husband and I were born. We grew up there and spent our formative years in Edmonton, which is where we met before moving to New York to pursue our careers in design.  

What's do the tea leave say about the store's future?

This year we have a lot of projects on the go. We’re most excited about our upcoming publication set to launch in 2017.