We had the good fortune of connecting with Tonya Beach and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tonya, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve been self-employed my entire life and was looking for a career change. Previously, I worked as a graphic designer and knew I wanted to do something different, but continue in the design field. Through my lifelong passion for modern furniture, art and antiques, the dream of a furniture showroom was born. The fun lies in searching for the unusual, exploring the designers of the past and discovering their most sought-after pieces. It’s like a treasure hunt. I get real pleasure watching someone come into the shop for the first time. When they truly understand the inventory and walk through looking at all layers of what we have to offer. Mixing textiles from the early twentieth century with mid-century furniture and accessories from around the world creates a mood we hope will inspire. I know I’m extremely fortunate to love what I do. And I hope it shows in what I find along the way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am always the most excited about the newest piece in the showroom. I personally choose every item in the store, which creates a sort of energetic connection to each and every piece. So many of my accessories are one of a kind items you just won’t find anywhere else in Atlanta. I try to keep it interesting so when you come into Westside Modern a second or third time you see new things and find a treasure for yourself or someone else in your life.
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?
The pandemic has changed where we all go for fun these days. But Atlanta and the surrounding areas have so many places where you can spend a day outside. The Chattahoochee River offers so many places to investigate and explore. You feel like you’ve traveled so far away yet you’re still right here in the city. Arabia Mountain on the southeast side of town is a beautiful place to spend the day. With granite outcroppings, and wildflowers and views for miles. It’s a very private place on weekdays. If you need to feel like you’re with people but not too close, Piedmont Park in mid-town is so big it’s easy to social distance while not doing it alone. For a smaller park there’s Wynn Park in Ansley. There are benches in front of the fish pond and meandering paths through the old garden.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband and partner in life, Criss Mills, has always supported any and all of my business endeavors. In fact, while teaching architecture in Europe and visiting friends in Copenhagen, he searched and found a furniture wholesaler for me. He took photos and sent the images back to me with pricing. Three months later, I joined him in Copenhagen and filled my first container with mid-century modern furniture. Not only did he help me get started, but also he’s been my other set of hands. Once the business was up and running he said, he didn’t realize he would now be in the furniture moving business. He is such a big help and makes what I do so much easier.
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