Millennials have been said to be content creators – they’ve quickly learned to adapt to social and new-age marketing techniques to target audiences who share similar values or beliefs. This time my Interview with a Millennial is with Adrienne Fisher, founder of Meraki Nomad, who has turned her passion for the native tradition of sacred handmade goods into an online marketplace.
When I first met Adrienne she was delivering her Sacred Smudge Sticks to JILL LINDSEY, a lifestyle shop that I managed in Brooklyn,NY. These gently assembled bundles of sage and lavender sprigs are tucked into delicate ombre rose petals and wrapped in string. Smudge sticks are used to christen a new home or to clear bad energy. These sticks are so elegant that you don’t want to burn them. I wanted to know more about them, so I went to her Instagram, as millennials do.
Adrienne’s feed, Meraki Nomad, instantly transforms you to a magical place. Even on a beautiful blue sky New York day, I wanted to travel to this special world Adrienne had created on Instagram. Through a new age medium, her colorful, earthy images translate the age-old traditions of working with your hands using materials that come from the land, a true millennial trait.
Since my initial introduction, Adrienne has expanded her brand to create a marketplace for artisans around the world. Recently, She traveled to Mexico and added The Gathering and The Market. Let’s see what Adrienne has to say about her mark on the millennial generation.
Do you identify yourself as a millennial and why?
Definitely. I kind of love the millennial generation – we are all over the place! We do things that excite us and when that’s done we move onto the next thing. We put our love for life and our passions over what we are expected out of society … at least that’s what I do, and I think that is very millennial of me.
One of the main reason I started these interviews is to highlight millennials who have taken a non-traditional approach to a career path. When you graduated university what was your plan?
I graduated with a Fashion Marketing & Management degree from SCAD in Georgia. I was planning on going to California but then I received an internship with Mara Hoffman and it was settled – New York it is! I originally wanted to be a stylist, but really had a plan of trying out a bunch of different things until I figured out what part of the fashion industry I liked. While I worked at Mara I assisted a couple of stylist’s. I quickly realized it was NOT for me. I hated the lack of originality that I was experiencing in the industry. Everyone copying everyone and doing what was “trendy”. It was uninspiring. One aspect of my roll at Mara Hoffman was searching for brand inspiration all day and blogging about it – that is where I was full filled, gaining inspiration from cultures and nature and wishing I was there experiencing it first hand.
How did Meraki Nomad get started?
Working at Mara definitely opened up another side of fashion for me inspiration wise, and that’s when Meraki started to come to mind. Moving to New York and experiencing within a couple of months what I did not want from my work life really forced me to get in touch with my soul and ask myself what I was truly passionate about.
I grew up with a father from a Native American background and constantly surrounded by the handmade goods of the natives adorned on my walls at home and stories from my dad’s horseback trips through Montana. My true passions lied within the ART and the SOUL of creating something with your hands. I wanted to dig deep into the cultures who started all of this – all of the “fashion” and style, the true originals. I dreamed about Meraki for about a year before it came to life – putting my thoughts together and ideas. Throughout this I became very spiritual, learning and turning to the traditions of the Native’s. I started making my Sacred Smudge Sticks and everything kind of grew from there. It was truly the good spirit that brought everything to life!
What does the name mean?
Meraki means “The soul, creativity, or love put into something; the essence of yourself that is put into your work” and Nomad – a wanderer. The name combines by Sacred Objects that I make and the goods that are made by other artisans I meet while wandering different countries.
Is this your only career? If no, what else keeps you occupied?
Currently I have a vintage Etsy shop that I run. I have such a love for vintage hunting, always buying beautiful pieces that I would never even wear just because I fell in love with how special and rare they are – so I decided to put it to good use and spread the lovin! I also work 2 days a week at a jewelry shop in Williamsburg, it’s nice to keep a social atmosphere in the weekly loop and get out of the house.
Where would you like Meraki Nomad to take you?
I would like it to take me closer to learning and understanding cultures all around the world – applying that to my work and to come together collectively with the beautiful souls that are creating magnificent things in different parts of our land.
From when you first started your brand, how has it changed from your original plan?
It hasn’t really changed – it has just grown a lot bigger than I expected! I wasn’t planning on making a collection of Sacred Objects, but it just sort of happened. I constantly have so many ideas streaming through my head, I have no clue what is to come!
You recently took a trip to Mexico. Why Mexico and how did it inspire you to put a new section of items on your site?
My best friend has been living in Mexico for over a year now. She journeyed to San Cristobal to have her baby at a beautiful Natural Birthing Center in San Cristobal, so I went down to be there for the birth and help out for a month. It just so happened that San Cristobal is a very indigenous town with the most amazing market in Mexico besides Oaxaca! Knowing that beforehand, I also planned it as my first buying trip! It was the first time traveling that I really had my plan together about the Meraki Gathering & Market. The whole idea of Meraki in the first place was not to make Smudge Sticks, it was “The Gathering” & “The Market” … so this was my first trip bringing that original idea from a year ago to life! The artisans there are amazing and the travelers I met as well.
What inspires you?
Nature is my source of inspiration for everything. The way the sunlight filters through the leaves of trees, the colors of flowers and the desert, the curves of the canyons and the mountains, the feeling when you dip into natural waters and truly feel rejuvenated and re-inspired. AH I love it so much!
You live in Brooklyn, one of the most expensive housing markets in the Nation. Why here and how does this affect your business plan?
I have been questioning why the fuck I live here daily, ha! Especially since I started my business, I work from home now, and all I want is sunny skies and a backyard to create in. Not to mention how expensive it is! Which absolutely affects my business because I am supporting it on my own with the money I make. The never ending cycle of making money just to spend it on supplies and rent. I have been thinking about moving to California lately and just might come summer time when my lease is up. I am so thankful for New York and I truly think that I would not be where I am today with my business if I didn’t live here though, at least starting out. Something about the energy here really forces you to get up and get shit going! I am never lazy here, I always am working towards something – which can be exhausting but the results are amazing. I also have networked like no other here. But I am now starting to feel done with this chapter and ready to conquer another city.
To support Adrienne on her journey visit her website and be sure to shop some of her sacred objects.
**** All photos used in this post are credited to Adrienne Fischer***