Natasha Neale is a Jill-of-all-trades. While previous job titles have included floral assistant, publicist, event manager, as well as merchandiser for one of Canada’s top fashion retailers , she currently holds positions as a bookkeeper, festival coordinator, and online content editor for ION magazine. She now has one more — arguably her most monumental title yet — to add to her extensive resume as the co-founder of Little Mountain Shop, a pop-up rental space titled after its neighbourhood namesake. After a glimpse into the snap chat story of this social media maven, you’ll soon realize she really does do it all (plus she has a really cute dog).
"I’ve always had more than one job at a time since I was 14. Opening up a pop-up rental space has just been a natural progression of that. Since I’ve always done something different, opening up just one retail space would have been too simple and I probably would have been bored. But to be able to open up a space where there is something new being featured all the time, that just felt natural to me, to keep things different and exciting. Who knew that having a bunch of different jobs and never keeping still would have led me this way, but I think it’s meant to be.
There's that saying, "burning the candle at both ends”, and I've definitely done that. When you’re used to wearing all these hats, it's hard enough to juggle everything as is, never mind adding a completely new project into the mix. I usually like to go above and beyond to exceed expectations, but sometimes I just have to give the bare minimum as a result of spreading myself too thin which can be disappointing. The hardest challenge [with opening Little Mountain Shop] has been letting go in order to start something new. I'm slowly learning to accept that and go, "okay, maybe I can't do everything I am doing and need to scale it back” and that "I cant do all of these jobs anymore”, because now I have to concentrate on my own business. And it's not just me I have to be accountable to now, it's my best friend and business partner as well.
What drives me is just knowing that there should be success at the end of this tunnel. I want to be able to work for myself and be comfortable and have something that is well received by the community. That's why we opened up in Mount Pleasant. It's close to home, it's a great area, and we're doing something that makes other people happy, which has always been my mantra. I've never wanted to be in front of the camera, I've always wanted to be behind the scenes and let other people's dreams come true, so offering the space lets other entrepreneurs see their dreams come to fruition by having their own short-term brick and mortar. It’s short term, but they get to try it out. Meanwhile, we’re simultaneously offering the community something new and exciting by keeping the neighbourhood fresh, and opening up their eyes to new designers.
Opening Little Mountain Shop was a spontaneous, not well thought out decision. I think sometimes you can plan and perhaps over plan for things to be perfect or you just take an opportunity and go for it, and that's how we did it. I have adored this spot forever. All the credit is due to Lifetime Collective who designed it; it’s beautiful. I've thought how it would be really fun to have an office in the back and a pop-up shop in the front. When it came available, within five days we went from knowing this space was available, to signing a deal with the landlord...which is crazy. We had no business plan, we weren't looking for a shop, we weren't looking for an office, and it just happened. But, things happen for a reason. And it did, it came quick. We had a month to figure out logistics, to open a bank account, and open up a business, we had to go through all of that...but the hardest part of all I think was trying to figure out a name for ourselves. That was a little crazy, but here we are. We're doing it, it's fine and everyone seems to love it. We booked all of November before we even had the keys so we knew that there was interest and this was something that could work. And in no way are we pioneers of this concept. We've seen pop-up spaces in other businesses, but there's only a few I think in the city that are the same business model as us, purely just a pop-up space and nothing else. We've watched some amazing people do this business model and we're just really glad to be here alongside them."
Interviewed and photographed by Tianna Grey on 09.29.2015
Little Mountain Shop is available for pop-up rental space for your next artist collective market, yoga class, gallery showing or event; as well as daily/weekly/monthly short-term or long-term office rental located in the back of the retail space.
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