Local Business
The Nest
Published in the February 2012 RTT

  Kate in a real deal "Mad Men" off the shoulder dress with gold heels sitting on a 1960s Hollywood Regency bench.
  Chelsea Miller in a "Pretty Woman" reminiscent vintage dress with a school-spirited vintage suitcase.
  A sexy Gold Hawk beaded cami and other fun accessories packed into bakelite handled suitcase that has stories to tell from places far and wide.
  Amanda Berry, Dara Wilson and Kate Franco in a fun mix of vintage and modern digs.
  Tessa Snider in a vintage white lace dress and veiled sequin hat with a reproduction red rotary phone.

“The philosophy of The Nest is recycling with style.”

– Tessa Snider Owner of The Nest

To simply say that Tessa Snider, owner of The Nest, has impeccable taste is to grossly underestimate the difficulty one encounters when sourcing and refurbishing the forgotten treasures many of us have stowed in our closets, garages and storage spaces. There is a kind of aesthetic craft genius to returning a classic piece of furniture or a fine collectible to its former splendor, and Snider obviously has got the goods. Her secondhand boutique, located on the outskirts of downtown’s Riverwalk District, is a veritable trip to bountiful for savvy shoppers, hipster students and interior design aficionados with a passion for the kind of furniture, clothing and accessories that once made the “Made in America” label really mean something.

Reno Tahoe Tonight: What was the inspiration behind opening The Nest.

Tessa Snider: My adventures in secondhand goods began in 2005 at my first store, Budget Used Furniture. In 2009, always the overachiever, I decided that opening a second store that catered more to my love for vintage--specifically 1920s-1970s with an emphasis on mid-century modern—items would be a good idea. The Nest opened in 2009 at a different location on a whim when a dear friend, Aaryn Walker of the Red Chair, told me that a space was opening up next to hers. The Nest occupied that location next to the Red Chair for about a year and a half, and even though it was a really tough decision to move away from Aaryn and Mia of Pink Pearl Paperie who had both become like family, an opportunity presented itself to have my own space which was more than twice the size of the old store where I could renovate and design it however I wanted, and I had to take it.

After two and a half months of grueling renovations painstakingly done by my husband, me, and many amazing friends who volunteered their time on many a late night pulling up old linoleum and scraping off three layers of paint off of the ceiling beams among other crazy projects, it has become the place that I have always dreamed of having. It is my home away from home, and I’ve never been more proud of anything that I have done in my life. I feel like I finally have a comfortable, homey space where I can pick up and display all those items that I’m drawn to: furniture, clothing, décor items, collectibles, memorabilia, and anything else that strikes my fancy.

RTT: What are some of the coolest items that make it into your store?

Tessa Snider: I’ll pick up anything that looks like it has a story to tell. Sometimes I feel like I’m preserving parts of our history and hopefully even bringing them back into fashion. Lately I’m totally digging on old vinyl albums, record players, rotary phones, and vintage Pyrex. I’m always excited about vintage clothing and mid-century modern furniture, but to be honest, I’ll pick up anything that piques my interest. It just has to be unique and well made, which I feel is getting harder and harder to find in our society today. I like things that I know will be around long enough to be passed on to future generations because our particle board furniture sure won’t make it that long…

RTT: Talk about your fashion or interior design aesthetic, background, education and training.

Tessa Snider: As far as training goes, I don’t have any formal training in fashion or interior design. I just go with what I like, and so far that has been enough. If I ever get to a point where I have a little more time on my hands, I’d love to take a myriad of classes: interior design, sewing, fashion and jewelry design, glassblowing, garden and landscaping--I could go on and on…

RTT: You're in essence a treasure hunter.
Describe the feeling you get when you stumble across a great vintage piece for your store.

Tessa Snider: When I find a really great piece, I get giddy like a little kid on Christmas. I don’t think most people realize just how much junk I have to sift through before I find just one good piece, so my excitement is definitely warranted. On top of that, most of the time the items still look like junk when I come across them. It’s not until I clean, repair, and reupholster them that they are the gems that you see in the store.
I’m also having a blast picking out new fabrics for vintage furniture pieces. A lot of times I come across pieces with great bones but the fabric has been worn out, so I’ve been picking out fun mid-century inspired fabrics to reupholster them with. It’s been really awesome seeing the transformation of these previously dump-bound pieces. Not only are they one-of-a-kind, but in my opinion, they are better than new: furniture was made a lot more sturdily back in the day when pieces were carefully constructed with dove-tailed joints and made of solid wood. So, essentially these pieces are better quality than you can get today, upholstered with new fabric so that you don’t have to worry about cleanliness issues, and it’s cheaper than the cardboard pieces of crap that they sell at the big box stores nowadays.

RTT: Tell us why you decided to become a Certified Green Business?

Tessa Snider: There really was no reason not to. What I do—that is, recycling old things and giving them new life—is, I believe, what essentially makes a green business, so it makes sense to go the small extra step and get certified.

RTT: Tell us a little about the process you went through to become a Green Business and your opinion of its authenticity.

Tessa Snider: I’ve always been very conscious of trying to do things in the most efficient manner possible and recycling is obviously my thing, so becoming certified as a green business was not all that much work. I feel like a common misconception of becoming a green business is that it is expensive. In the long run, I will save a lot of money from making little changes that may be a little bit more expensive up front but not really as bad as you would think.

Even though I was already fulfilling a lot of the Green Business League requirements, working with Vanessa Robertson of RTE Consulting was really helpful because she brought to my attention a lot of the little things that I could do that really add up to make a difference. The hardest part of staying green is keeping on top of all the research on the latest and greatest products, and luckily that is what Vanessa does. For example, I was looking to change out all of my chandelier light bulbs to CFLs, so she came to the store, counted out how many I needed, did a price check, then sent me an email where she did all of the work except entering in a credit card number. If I ever had a question about something that I was doing, where I figured there had to be a better way to do it, I’d just send a quick email, and she’d be there with a response. As far as the authenticity of the GBL certification goes, it’s not a “get certified in 20 minutes online” deal, and there are annual checkups to make sure that businesses don’t just do a couple easy fixes to get the certification then let themselves go. What I really like about them is that there is constant room for improvement, and my consultant is constantly checking in on me and keeping me up-to-date with new products and practices. I’m confident that as long as GBL’s other consultants are as thorough as Vanessa, then businesses are held to a high “green” standard.