This season we have worked with London Based creative small business Nata concept store, a business started by Anna and Tatiana curating, creating and crafting their own homeware goods. Anna and Tatiana have created a series of candles for us available exclusively from our Boundary street store in Shoreditch. We chatted to Anna and Tatiana to hear about their business and what they have been up to.
Store Exclusives | Meet the Maker: Nata Store
Hey Anna & Tatiana, how are you?
We feel like everrrryone is a little obsessed with candles at the moment! But, Nata Store is way more than just instagrammable candles, tell us a little bit about who you are and everything you guys do?
Hi guys! We’ve actually been running NATA as a little side hustle for nearly two years now. We started mainly with clothes and decorative objects as we’ve always liked vintage and quirky items. We are really inspired by shapes and colours and we slowly evolved in offering our own products as well as stocking artists that we love.
A: Hi! I’m Anna, I have an unhealthy obsession with eBay, collect anything Matisse and I’m a very harsh critic of croissants.
T: Hello :) I’m Tats I love carboots and I’m always on the hunt for new things for the shop. It’s very French of me but I love wine and mayonnaise. I’m obsessed with anything cloud-shaped and my room is slowly becoming a cloud shrine.
How did you first get into candle making?
We first started talking about candles last December! We wanted to get creative and start making things as we both work full time and tend to sit in front of a computer all day.
So we wanted a new creative outlet - it started with us going to pottery classes as well as discussing a sock business (that never happened haha but who knows). We had so much fun making candle holders and bits in bobs with intricate shapes. This led to us thinking we could try doing the same with candles.
We also noticed that candles are something everyone likes having at home but making it a decorative piece would be taking it a step further.
What were you both doing before your set up Nata?
We actually still both work full time! Although we love doing Nata this is something we dedicate our evenings and weekends too :)
Which of your candle designs is your favourite?
A: This is a really tough one! All our shapes are so unique and different but I would have to say I have a soft spot for Iris as it’s the first design we made and that was successful. I also really like L'Escalier as it’s such a simple shape but it’s also really elegant.
T: As Anna said it’s a really hard decision but I’m in love with our newest candle Poème for it’s curves. Also.. I am totally in love with a new design we haven’t released yet as we’ve been perfecting the design for the last few months. Take a guess? Clouds...
We are all trying (and failing) to make twisted candles from tiktok. How many attempts did it take you to create the first perfect candle?
It took AGES actually! Mold making is really not easy. Most of our shapes come from vintage objects that we find as well as some 3d renders that we’ve brought to life based on some illustrations that we’ve made. Both coming from artistic backgrounds, Tatiana studied film & tv and Anna studied graphic design, these skills have come in really handy to bring our ideas to life. We started our first prototypes in January and it took until March to really get a selection of candles that we were happy with.
Once we figured out how to make molds which was the lengthiest process we also had to work hard on figuring out what kind of materials we wanted to use. As there’s so many varieties of wax (paraffin, coconut, beeswax, soy) and we wanted to create the most environmentally friendly candles. We also had to look into wicks, dyes, adding scent to our candles - and on top that branding, packaging and creating our website (we actually had loads of help with that bit).
When shopping for vintage pieces to sell, what do you tend to bear in mind?
For vintage pieces we have three key points : Pattern, Shape, Colours. Those are the main things that catch our eye as we try and find things that reflect our personal styles. Pretty much everything that we find we keep at home for a while because we love it so much! Our flat is a bit of an ever-changing showroom.
We also try and keep on the lookout for materials and tend to prioritise good quality and scan where things are made. Both coming from France we love going home to source our pieces - France is known for it’s amazing flea markets and 'brocantes’. We’ve been in the UK for 5 years now so we’ve got our favourites spots. The key is not to stay local!
Where do you look for inspiration?
We’ve got a selection of Artists that we always go back to for Inspiration - Matisse, Miró, George Braque, Jean Cocteau.. all the surrealist period really. Vintage is also a main source of inspiration - when we are sourcing new things we tend to take loads of pictures that we keep for inspo. And of course we could not forget Instagram : it’s the best way to keep up to date with what’s trending.
How is it being friends and running a business together?
We’ve actually known each other for nearly 15 years now so this isn’t the first time we’ve worked together - we both have a set of skills that really compliment each other. So running a business together is actually a lot of fun - we know exactly what we like and how to make things work.
We think that communication is key to make sure everything runs smoothly. Every couple of weeks we like planning for our new drops, designs, shoots, sourcing trips and having a communal calendar really helps us keep track of everything.
The fact we also live together helps but it’s also important to understand the need to set boundaries and spending time together as friends rather than just working.
What is your favourite part of running a small business?
There’s so many fun bits to running a small business - I think styling and working on new products has to be our favourite. Working on art direction as well as styling our shoots we love featuring other artists when and where we can. The small business community is also amazing and so supportive! Let’s not forget the not so fun aspect of running a business which is dealing with anything financial, admin and carrying a million boxes at once to the post office (who probably hate us by now).
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up a business?
That you can do it! You just need to be prepared for the time that you will have to dedicate to it. And that most importantly you don’t have to start big at all or invest a lot of money - Nata has grown very organically for us and what we’ve done is always reinvest our earnings into new products or ideas. We feel like Nata is a true reflection of us. We put a lot of effort on our visuals - that goes from the candles we design to our instagram page.
We’re all for supporting small, especially this year. Any small brands you’d like to give a shout out to?
Yes! This year and every year. Shopping small is supporting artists directly, you are also getting something unique and special. There’s actually looooads of people that we would like to recommend.
Hannah Michelle Bayley , Kj Plumb, Lucy Sherston, Lizzie Kingdom
Space Oddities, Everything but the Dog, Resident Objects
For home goods:
Salt Studios, Lotta Blobs, Als Place, Flex Factory Store, Cold Picnic, Bfgf
Chunks Shop, Ariel Kellogg, July Child, Hello Gilbert
Lucy Dickson, Mimi Likey, Studio Hecha, Sophie Alda, Recreation Center