We had the good fortune of connecting with TaNikka Bradley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi TaNikka, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Historically, I’ve never really been a risk taker. I approach situations and opportunities with caution, reading, studying, and researching almost to a fault. I’d like to blame anxiety, but I can talk myself out of taking any chances that are outside my comfort zone. I’ve always erred on the side of logic- if it didn’t make sense after my extensive (read: super intensive way overdone) research, then I run like the wind. Even in times where I thought I was “jumping”, I wasn’t fully leaping because I had to have a net.
Then, one day a couple of years ago, my uncle and I were having a random conversation where he said something that replayed in my head constantly. He said, “You know, sometimes, you can’t wait for all the stars to align and everything to be perfectly lined up. Sometimes, you just have to jump.”
In November of 2019, I was out of work on short term disability. After the beginning of the pandemic, I got some information from a co-worker about something that would have affected my eventual return to work, and I made a decision at that moment that I was not going to go back to that job, or any job, if I could help it. I took a major chance and invested my family’s stimulus money in craft supplies and equipment, started watching YouTube videos, and I opened an Etsy shop in July of 2020. I haven’t looked back since.
Recently, my uncle’s words rang in my head again when I decided that I wanted to expand my craft business into glitter and craft supplies. Once again, with my husband cheering me on, I invested our tax refund and stimulus payments into my business, rented some office and warehouse space, and have started branding my own glitter and other crafting supplies. I don’t know where this is going to lead. I wouldn’t have believed that my “little Etsy shop” would have ever evolved into what it did, or that the business that I formed in early 2019 for my then 6 year old daughter to sell lip gloss would become what it is now and what it is still growing into. What I do know, though, is that for once in my life I threw caution to the wind and took a leap, and if I must say so myself, I am soaring.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When I first started selling items one Etsy, I made it a point to have a conversation with everyone that ordered from me. It always started with a thank you for your order and usually ended up with a discussion about our children, our hobbies, and anything in between. I am meticulous about the experience that I provide my customers- from the time they place their order until the moment they open their package to candies, handwritten notes, and other goodies along with the items that they ordered. There are easily a million tumbler makers on the Etsy platform. What sets me apart from them? Its the “ME” of it all!
“Today you are YOU, that’s truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than YOU!” -Dr. Suess
Is it easy? By no means. I battle with depression. anxiety, and PTSD, and have 4 children that are watching me closely every day. Are there days that I want to throw in the towel? Yes. Are there days that I just don’t have it in me to get out of the bed, much less fulfill an Etsy order that requires me to be creative? Yes. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned on my mental health journey is that it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to not “feel it”. Its not about the days that you can’t make it happen, its about managing to pick yourself up once you CAN make it happen.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a proud Atlanta native that finds more comfort in the small spots than the well-known tourist spots. I am a self proclaimed foodie, with some of my favorite restaurants being Green Ginger in Downtown Decatur, The ORIGINAL Flying Biscuit locations in Little 5 and Midtown, and Mary Mac’s Tea Room.
The culture of our city is amazing, from the birth of the Civil RIghts Movement to the birth of Trap Music and everything in between. Of course Auburn Avenue and the Sweet Auburn Fest, Taste of Atlanta, and the Dogwood Festival top my seasonal lists of must attends. The kid in me loves Legoland and the Children’s Museum, and I hope that no one ever discounts the fun that even an adult can have at a show at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
Arabia Mountain is a beautiful hidden treasure for anyone that loves nature. And if you’ve never heard Francine Reed perform live at Eddie’s Attic, you are doing yourself a great disservice.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout is dedicated to my husband, who is my biggest supporter EVER. He is truly the President of my fan club and my #1 cheerleader. He supports any idea that I come up with like its the best in the world, and has always encouraged me to be as awesome as he believes I am. He was my first customer in my craft business, one of the biggest investors in my glitter business, as well as my first paid order. He really is my better half, and his love and encouragement keeps me wanting to be the best version of myself that I can be, because I want to embody the greatness that he sees in me.
Other: Tiktok – @brownsugarforest