Here is Part 2 of our feature on Tierra Del Lagarto, a lovely, filled-to-the-brim-with-treasures furniture and home accessories store in Scottsdale, Arizona. You can read part 1 here. Meg Van Lith shares resources for new travelers and creative entrepreneurs as well as styling tips.
On Being Your Own Boss
“For those starting out traveling and buying there are so many great resources these days. The blogs, websites, and even Instagram accounts of new entrepreneurs are all so inspiring. I wish there had been those kinds of resources when I was starting out. I remember buying dry tomes about import/export when I was 20 and thinking – good god – is this all there is?? Now one can go online and read not just the travel tales, but about the actual details of starting a business. Finding that balance I discussed earlier is one of the biggest challenges for someone starting out. Whether you are a single adventurer forging your own path and trying to keep solvent, newly married and keeping attached to your partner when you are tied up with travel and business every moment, or with kids at home and dealing with guilt – it is one of the hardest parts about being your own boss. Taking time to be honest with yourself and those you love about the work/life balance is really key. There are so many wonderful opportunities for those that can make this job work for them, but there are long hours and some big challenges logistically. But that said, go out there and do it! Research and being open to asking questions and sounding foolish is the way to learn. Most people are super open to talking about their experiences and sharing knowledge about the ins and outs of their businesses. We found some wonderful people when we were starting out that gave us good advice and tips, and we couldn’t have done all of this without their initial guidance. Sometimes this leads you to people you can hire to introduce you to connections that become invaluable.
On Styling Like A Pro (Plus awesome tips!)
I have had a good time working with the daily format of the Instagram – it has become a great tool for us over the last year or two. While it brings us new potential customers, it also forces me to have at least one pretty space in the store each day to photograph! We really believe in layering and mixing styles. While I love a good bazaar bohemian vibe, I also love cleaner lines mixed with accents of worldly finds. Everything on IG seems to look better with the bright whites and uncluttered styling that are so popular online, but that is just not us! Who really lives in these all white homes? I don’t get it! Three kids, two dogs, a serious case of more-is-more – it just doesn’t work for me! The challenge in IG photos is to still make the images captivating. With so much color and business in our store and lives, we just have to learn to keep some cohesive themes running through our styling. I tend to pick color stories in each “room” I design. I’ll do a vignette inspired by our bold blue and white Moroccan pottery, or another based on the mirrored glass lanterns we have made in San Miguel de Allende, or the rustic weave of Turkish kilim pillows.
“The same is true for my own home (pictured above). In my living room, I have a pair of hanging basket chairs, a giant vintage glass cabinet from India filled with books, my collection of glass demijohns, a Tuareg mat as rug, a big carved lion from Bali, Turkish, Uzbek, Indian, and Moroccan textiles, and a lot of other crazy going on – but because there are common colors and textures running through, it keeps it sane and relatively cohesive. I am a firm believer that you should buy whatever truly speaks to you, if you love it you will find a home for it. Seeing things in your home that you found on a trip, or that bring up a favorite experience will continue to bring you joy as you live with them. Finding that common, cohesive thread becomes a fun, creative part of decorating. Bookshelves are a great place to group collections. Placing smaller ethnic oddities in with artfully stacked books is a good way to corral the tiny things that can otherwise make a room look cluttered. Gallery walls can act in the same way. Grouping prints, architectural fragments, carved panels, and even framed postcards can make for visually arresting art installations as long as there is a common color story or theme to the collection.”
“Have a textile obsession like mine? Tack that suzani on the wall as a overscale artwork or headboard. Drape a handira over the back of the sofa or the foot of the bed. Make pillows out of the smaller pieces and group them on a bench or sofa. We use our old dowry chests from India as bathroom vanities, antique pitara chests we cut down and use as coffee tables, old teak daybeds as lounges by the pool – repurposing is a beautiful way to bring antiques into your interior.”
I am pretty sure I can say that all of us would now like to visit Tierra Del Lagarto and preferably right away. Or let’s be modern-day travelers, adventure seekers and treasure hunters! Thanks for sharing, Meg, I loved it! You can visit Tierra Del Lagarto online here and follow them on Instagram here.
All images courtesy of Meg Van Lith/ Tierra Del Lagarto.