We had the good fortune of connecting with Tabatha Terpstra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tabatha, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
You’re not living your life fully without taking risks. Anxiety and excitement are two sides of the same coin, you’ll feel both at the same time when you take any risk. We try to protect ourselves from the unknown even when we know it could make us happy.
With my first business, I was crippled by my anxiety; I undersold myself, and took tiny risks for tiny rewards. Every little risk quieted my anxiety and got me excited instead. I’m so glad that I had those experiences because 10 years later, I’m no longer afraid of risk-taking. It’s never too late to prioritize your happiness and start over!
Starting Fauna & Fig was a massive risk. My wife and I had just moved back to Atlanta from out of state, bought a home, I had $1,000 in my bank and no job lined up, our life was total chaos. In a moment like that, you have two options, ignore your needs and take any work you can get, or chase a dream and turn that dream into a career. I knew that I had to get into a field of work that spoke to me and challenged me, work where there is always room to exceed your past accomplishments. I found that in floristry and teaching people about floristry.
So, I got scrappy. I took on little odd jobs for neighbors and friends for extra money. I went to estate sales, thrift stores, and online forums to get enough equipment for events at a price I could afford. It was truly scary seeing every dime that came in roll right back into a business that just got its legs. Now, I’ve taught almost a dozen classes, booked so many weddings, networked like a crazy person and we’re turning a profit in under one year! But I would never have gotten anywhere without taking that initial risk.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m proud that I stay true to my values as a human being, a queer person, a woman, a leader, a wife and (soon to be) a mother. I’m loud and proud about my beliefs and that means that I only attract clients who share in those beliefs. This might be terrifying for some people but to me, it’s important to be straight forward about who you really are. In this way, I never disappoint anyone, what you see is what you get.
To the brand Fauna & Fig, this means working with all types of couples who share in the belief that we all deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and admiration. We try to reflect that in our speech, our actions, our social media presence and all of our business paperwork. We want to hear your love story, we want to know your pronouns, we don’t use the term “bride & groom” as a default in any of our work. Every couple planning a wedding deserves vendors who are going to respect them and we are one of those vendors.
For us, it’s easy to stick with these values because it’s true to the lives we lead. We’re queer, we have queer family members, friends and family of every race and background. We know the struggles that come with being honest about who you are and living in the world as your truest self.
Fauna & Fig is my baby and I’ve built it with a foundation of respect for all people. Some folks may not agree with us, so we just refuse their money and go our separate ways.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Keep in mind, my friends are big nerds like me and our bar hopping days are just barely in the rear-view mirror.
I always take folks from out of town to Arabia Mountain. It’s less than an hour away but it feels like you’ve stepped onto another planet with different plants, animals and trees than you would see anywhere else in Georgia. Even if you hate to hike (and I really, really do hate to hike), it’s a must and you can walk around for hours without breaking a sweat. If you can, go there on the night of a meteor shower, it’s amazing.
Hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway, pick up too many snacks from the gas station and just drive. Stop at the little roadside stands along the way, bring a picnic and make a day of it. This is one of my favorite things to do in Georgia and it was a favorite of mine when I lived in North Carolina too.
For food and beer, you’ve got to go to The Porter. It’s the most down to earth spot in a sea of tourist trap shops. Sometimes I dream about their goat cheese fritters.
If you’re from way out of town, we’re taking you to Waffle House and you better be respectful. WaHo is Atlanta hibachi, it is our religion, a way of life. Don’t look at the menu, just order an all star.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are two people who have taken this business further than I could have ever taken it on my own.
Jess Crete has been with me since day one, literally. I hired her to photograph my first event, a wreath making class at Arches Brewing in Hapeville. I was an anxious mess, trembling at the thought of teaching 35 people a new skill. But you would never know it from the photos that Jess Crete took at the event. She captures people in a light that they could never see themselves in. Her work and her personality make me feel confident, calm, and free to be as goofy on film as I am in real life.
The second is my business partner Kate Pauda. We’ve been friends for almost a decade at this point and watched each other grow up from wild young adults to grown ass women who are ready to chase their goals and dreams. She’s a trained florist and gave me all the 101 education I needed to get a foundation going for learning floristry. I always feel accomplished when I get to teach something new to her, it happens so rarely!
Jess Crete Andrea De Anda