Creating a Sense of Community in Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia

2018 Power Women & Cover Story: Tina Wilson

I fancy myself a pendulum

swinger and experience addict.

A pendulum is weighted in the center and swings back and forth from extreme to extreme. Whether it’s marriage, parenting, leadership, or just basic day-to-day decisions, I have to swing my pendulum from extreme to extreme to find the answer that feels right.

It’s a thought process, a creative process, and also works great for me in a visual process. For example, I am constantly thinking – “What if we made the shoppe a super sparce and modern space, paint everything white, and have visual space around every item so people could walk through fairly quickly to know if the products are for them?” This thought is then followed by the pendulum swing of finding the extreme opposite – “What if the shoppe were warm and dark and was filled to the brim with curated inventory that tells a story and promotes lingering for our shoppers?” Almost every decision goes through a process like this until I settle somewhere in between.

Experiences are part of my DNA. I’m not sure where that comes from in my life, but when I have experiences, I am deeply impacted by them. It doesn’t matter if they are positive or negative. The way I’m treated at hotels, restaurants, businesses; everywhere really…I study them. I’m obsessed with details and thoughts that go into processes and verbiage and visuals. I reflect on them, then reshape what I learned and apply it to my business. It fuels me to make people feel special, thought of, and considered. I love WOWing people and creating things that elicit positive responses.

I am a genuinely grateful, happy, passionate, energetic being who loves love, analogies and word pictures, making people feel special, achieving, witnessing, and facilitating the process of “becoming” for people and projects alike. I thrive on building and growing relationships, as well as systems and processes, connecting people, and creating beautiful things that mean something.  

I strongly believe that I am here on this earth to encourage women to walk in their purpose, to spread authentic positivity, to create beautiful, useful and meaningful things that change lives for the people who experience them.

I once heard someone say, “in order to find your true place in life, you must go through a crushing.” After living that experience in my own life, I believe it to be true. Hard and hurtful places in life are fertile soil for the purpose of discovering. I’m not sure I would ever willingly ask to be crushed, but every time it happens, I get more clear about why I’m here and how to spend my days not wasting my life on things that do not matter.

Living My Dream

I’m a lifestyle, family, and kids photographer, interior design business owner, retail shoppe owner, community cultivator, and a cheerleader for those who are looking for their purpose in life.

Fortunately, I get to be one of those annoying “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” kind of people. I know. Eyeroll. It’s amazing though. When I’m in a photography client’s home installing images I have created on their walls, beautifully matted and framed to their home’s aesthetic, or when I pull in to photograph a space our interior design team has just completed and when our team pulls up to a home prepped and ready to finish a beautiful space in a styling session client’s home … I can barely contain the squeals that I get to do this for a living.

Here’s A Run Down Of What We Get To Do

RECLAIMED INSPIRED GOODS is our shoppe. The products are fresh, curated and displayed in a way that sparks interest, wonder and inspiration. Items are arranged as stories and have a nice mix of the comfort of old and the luxury of new. We want passers-through to think of someone in their life as they stroll and feel compelled to walk out with a one-of-a-kind gift that makes the recipient feel known and cared for. We want to sell products that inspire women to gather in their homes and connect in that way because we believe the most powerful words in a woman’s life are “me, too” and those deep conversations have more of a chance happening around a table or standing in a kitchen. We want leisurely shoppers to be inspired to change something in their home–update, re-accessorize, remodel, repaint, reclaim a space that is drab and lifeless and give it new life.

We want to gather women every chance we get. One way we’ll do that is through Reclaimed Inspired Events.

RECLAIMED INSPIRED EVENTS is the aspect of Reclaimed that allows us to add value to our community. Practical learning for the way you live and give….events can be classes, pop up shops, open houses, wine tastings, bible studies, book clubs, and small events. It’s a way for us to create opportunities for people to connect and form relationships in our community, to learn new things, to gather, to be in our inviting and inspiring space.

RECLAIMED INSPIRED INTERIORS is where our full service interior design team is passionate about creating irresistible environments in our client’s homes; where relationships can grow and cultivate and where families can’t wait to run home to. Our aesthetic can best be described as curated, comfortable, and juxtaposed. We love light neutral palettes where hints of gold and natural textiles are mixed with fine linens and authentically worn wood elements and just the same, we adore bold, striking design that makes a statement. While we always appreciate current trends, we nod a little heavier to the classic side of life because investments in your home should last. Superior quality in products we sell, and an experience where our clients feel heard and are given more than they ask for, is a non-negotiable for us.

TINA WILSON PHOTOGRAPHY exists to help families taste life twice. We specialize in children (of any age) and family lifestyle/loose casual styles of photography. Fleeting moments in life and relationships are the most important things for us to capture. After documenting our client’s and creating authentic images, we turn those moments into treasures that tastefully display in our client’s homes today and can be passed down through their families for generation after generation.

RECLAIMED INSPIRED STYLING SESSIONS is where we take the shoppe to the client’s home to “finish” a space. We scout, take pics, ask a few style questions, meet quickly as a team, then rob our store, load items into our cars and ambush the client’s room, leaving a completely irresistible environment behind us. This service is excellent for someone who doesn’t have time or energy to make their space feel “finished” and personalized.

Truly. I have my dream job.

What Brings Me To Where I Am Today

I launched a lifestyle photography business in 2003 out of a small room in my home. By 2005, I had found my niche in the market. I opened a studio downtown Johnson City and specialized in documenting the fleeting moments in life and relationships, creating custom wall galleries and fine art books for a small elite market in the Tri Cities. After 8 years of this work, I began to feel nudged to more. After a brief trip to Chattanooga, I walked away inspired by a high end home store I visited while there and couldn’t shake the thought that I may someday open something similar. Soon after the trip, (unrelated, but completely related) I led a small group of women to share their testimony for the first time and after watching how their lives transformed, the word RECLAIMED became a passion and a new way of thinking and living. After a few years in prayer for clarity and clear direction, the vision for Reclaimed Inspired Goods was birthed. Home Goods, Gifts, Interiors, Photography.

Simultaneously, Ginger Rockett launched Bella Casa Design Studio in 2008 in Johnson City. She rapidly grew her clientele as a stellar interior designer in our area and earned the respect of several builders, due to her uncanny decision making ability paired with her unprecedented style. Her clientele and my clientele were synonymous. The way we valued and treated our clients, our core values, our hearts for growing long standing relationships and growing with clients through the years were interchangeable. In 2014, Ginger began to feel a shift coming in her family’s life. She started the process of exiting Bella Casa. The timing was anything but coincidental. When she and I spoke about the shifts we were experiencing, all the stars aligned and the angels sang.

Tina Wilson Photography and Bella Casa Design became Reclaimed Inspired Goods and opened to the public August 14th, 2015.

My Advice to Others

Know the difference between comparison and inspiration.

Comparison is the thief of joy. We watch other people juggle their lives on social media and scroll through their perfectly curated Instagram feeds and, without meaning to, get a little too caught up in their highlight reel forgetting that we have our own awesome race to run. Comparison creeps in and we find ourselves wishing we had someone else’s life…or maybe just that we should somehow be or have or do our own race in a way that feels just out of reach. It’s crippling.

Inspiration is on the other side of the extreme. Throughout my life, the people who have turned my head are those who are unapologetically true to themselves. Artists, Photographers, Interior Designers, Makers, Creators, Chefs, Musicians, etc…People who are running their race in their own lane, not looking from side to side…just doing what they do and not people pleasing their way through it. Compromising your vision for others only steals life and passion from you. To be inspired means to be expanded. It means you see things more clearly and in different ways and you feel a sense of permission to be more of who you are in your places.

Be teachable. This is one of the most valuable pieces of advice I can offer.

Always be learning and seeking wisdom from those who have gone before you. Ask questions, be okay with not having all the answers, don’t be afraid to say, I don’t understand, can you explain it to me as if I were five years old.

Drop The Balanced Life Envy

Balance is a myth. There is no such thing as a perfect life balance (unless you are a robot). Imagine a whole pie and each part of your life is a slice. Your parts are faith, family, friends, health, finances, hobbies and professional life. Seasons of life have always and will always be in constant motion, so what could possibly make us believe that we can spend the same amount of time, money, energy, passion and dedication equally in all areas of our life? It’s just not real. What is real is finding a rhythm for each season you find yourself in. For example: some seasons, your family requires more of your attention than you can give your professional life. Some seasons your professional life needs more attention. When you spend too much unevaluated time on any one thing, everything seems to feel off kelter thus leaving you a desire for balance. It’s important to stay in tune with where you are and what slices of your pie are going to the biggest for the season you’re in, then establishing a rhythm for that season. Typically you can only do really well in two areas at a time.

What Every Leader Should Possess

The ability and willingness to serve. I believe it’s common to hold the idea that once we’ve put in our “due diligence” that delegating responsibilities and multiplying efforts mean we no longer have to do the mundane or menial tasks like taking the trash out, answering the phones, grabbing a coffee or lunch for a team member, offering up time to help with a task no one really likes to do…Of course there’s only so much time in a day and a leader holds multiple pressing tasks, but taking a few minutes out to serve our teams goes a long way for them and for us. It demonstrates humility and speaks out loud to the fact we are all on the same team and no one person is more important than the other.

My Superpower

I have always had a knack for spotting trends before they become popular and sensing when they are about to die out. I’m not sure I would have ever considered that a superpower before now, but looking back over the last 20 years of my career life, it’s always been a very natural awareness. From glamour shots to chevron patterns to shiplap, I have no idea how or why I sense it, it’s just clear to me.

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