An homage to the primitive, natural, and communal, Nomad Collective is a curation of soulful pieces from fine artists, makers, and collectors around the world.
Nomad Collective follows a slow living, intimate business model that honors relationship, equity, and well being above all else. The Collective is a season-less approach that evolves with time and as the discovery of new artists and goods demands.
The Nomad Collective showroom, located in East Nashville, is open Thursday through Saturday, from 11 am to 5 pm, and by appointment. To schedule a visit, inquire about inventory or simply say hello, please get in touch.
THE NOMAD STORY
Eight months after the Westgate Mall tragedy in Nairobi, Kenya, the view from the parking lot is still grim. Plywood boards cover the windows, lights are out, bullet holes in the doors remain and patrons are nowhere to be found. I am told by locals that Westgate may never reopen its doors and recover from the horrific attack. To me, a product of the West, this seems inconceivable.
Just down the street, I stroll through a local market full of vendors, looking for a sale. One woman begs me to buy a pot that her grandfather made. The look in her eyes is one of desperation, as if her livelihood has been stripped from her. Perhaps this is normal, or perhaps the acts of terror aimed to destroy the tourism industry have finally taken their toll.
Today, the road to the Rift Valley is rather quiet, and as we approach one roadside vendor, many others flock to our car, offering various local goods in exchange for our currency – the highly coveted American dollar. I look in the distance and casually point to a beautiful sheepskin rug. Before I can take another breath or request to see it up close, the vendor is sprinting down the road to fetch it for me. He clearly wants to make a sale, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I would be his only sale that day.
Even now, that exchange plays in my mind like an old movie clip, over and over again. For it was in that moment that I had an epiphany. That hard working man sprinted for me. Sprinted. For. Me. Why? Why was I so important? Why was he so incredibly motivated? Was this his only way to feed his family? I couldn't help but wonder. And now, the tourism that he so heavily relies upon has vanished? What in the world was he to do? This image will forever live in my mind, and I will forever be touched and humbled by this moment granted to me that day.
This experience amongst a series of others is what spurred the inception of Nomad Collective. Sure, we love art and celebrate beauty, but far more than a curated store, we are allies of our brothers and sisters who have inspired us to be better human beings, to work hard, to live honorably and to do the best we can with what we have. We are simply the middle man, the humble bridge between amazing artists and artisans around the globe and folks who appreciate their talent. Our aim is long term investment...in our relationships with those we meet and work with both here and abroad, in their talents and abilities, in their local economies and in their livelihood.
Nomad is a partnership, which honors all members of our community. Whether from the past or present, every item that you see has a story and a face behind it.
We are friends. We are family. We are nomads.
My grandparents were modern nomads themselves, and I remember visiting their home as a little girl, absolutely intrigued by their collective of handmade goods and art from all around the world. I spent hours examining their treasures and can still picture the Colombian painting hanging in the entry way, the decorative candy dish from Hong Kong, the handcrafted Swiss cuckoo clock and the giant Peruvian rug in the living room. In fact, some of those very goods live in my home today.
Though my grandparents lived a modest life, they believed that buying from artisans during their travels was a practical way to support the local economy. It was a simple approach and a legacy I hope to continue for years to come.
ABOUT THE COVER
I took this photo with my grandfather's old olympus film camera on a trip through Joshua Tree National Park in the spring of 2014. I was drawn to this tree because it was amazingly bent but not broken - which is the title of the image - and an apt depiction of the determination, resilience, strength, courage, and bravery of the Nomad Collective community and the Great Spirit that lies in all of us.