Yonder is a line of canvas goods, tea towels and t-shirts printed, designed and created by Julie and Justin Nardy. Yonder started in 2013 when Julie created the first ever Yonder tote. She has been a seamstress for over 20 years and holds a BFA in fine art with emphasis in photography, painting and installation art.
The backbone of Yonder is individuality and craftsmanship. Their bags are made of heavy duty canvas and use up-cycled materials in their construction. Each bag is unique on purpose. T-shirts, tea towels and fabric are all printed by hand with great attention to detail. They use eco-friendly water-based ink to help ease the impact on the environment.
At the end of 2015, Julie found herself yearning to take Yonder in a new direction and use patterns in her work. By early 2016, she had started talking with her husband, Justin, about ways she could integrate silk screened patterns into the line.
Justin joined the Yonder team and started working with Julie on patterns and printing in mid 2016. Justin not only prints Julie’s designs, but has added his own touch to the Yonder line with his t-shirt designs. Justin brings over ten years of screen printing experience with him. All of the patterns are designed and printed in their home studio.
Along with being a screen printer, Justin is also a successful musician and designer. His band, New Tongues, can be heard here. Julie is a co-founder of the Berlin Bazaar, a yearly art experience in Columbia, Missouri.
Question & Answer with Julie
Why did you start your business?
I have been trying to “start” my own business for a long time now. In my 20’s I had different versions of businesses that I thought would last: I made pouches and hip bags for sale when I lived in Winter Park, Florida. I had a business with my best friend making pouches and totes when I lived in Austin, Texas. I’ve been sewing since I was a kid. I went to school for fine art for 8 years and when I emerged in 2006 I fell right back into sewing and I haven’t looked back since.
In 2015, I created a tote which would lead to the current line I make for Yonder. I wanted a new tote bag and I unknowingly made a pattern that I’m still using for almost all of the bags I sew. In 2016, I decided I wanted to add patterns to my work. My husband has over ten years of experience as a screen printer so I started talking to him about working with me. Today we make bags, pillows, pouches, and tea towels that have patterns that are all original designs. The Yonder line wouldn’t be what it is without him and I’m so over the moon that I get to work with him in an artistic capacity.
How did you learn to run your business?
I never took a formal class perse, but I’ve been on the buying and inventory control end of retail for almost my whole adult life and I feel like that has helped immensely. I have a knack for business and for some reason things like inventory and cost and stuff comes easy to me. I’m also really enthusiastic about marketing, so I jumped on that immediately.
What’s the most difficult thing about running your own business?
The most difficult thing for me has been learning to say no when I need to. It’s so hard to realize that in order to have longevity in a business you also need to have a life outside of your business. In the first year I probably sewed 6 days a week on top of a full time job for the better part of the year. I have now learned to slow down, to give more realistic deadlines and to spend more time with my husband doing non business related things. The crazy thing is that this year has been one of our busiest, but I’m working smarter, not harder.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running your own business?
I think for any creative, knowing that you can make money off of your art work is a huge. I went to school for fine art for eight years and I always told myself that I’d have to have a “normal” job. I definitely still work another job, but I can also see where the more time and energy I put into Yonder, the more I will get out of it. So if I ever did want to take this to another level, I could feasibly do that.
What advice do you have for others who are starting their own businesses?
The best advice I could give would be to have a pretty clear and concise concept before you dive in. The thing that really helped me was to limit my ideas–I’m usually all over the place. It has helped our line to be more cohesive and that has been huge. I wish someone had told me how to say no more often (just in general!), because I think it would have saved me a lot of stress in the past few years.