Name: Nicole Griffin
Position: Designer, co-owner with aunt Debbie Prater
Location: Tangerinas, 157 River St.
First job: Picking raspberries
History: Griffin and Prater opened their shop on River Street in 2009, but they began creating colorful tables, signs and jewelry six years ago, selling at art shows and at Chattanooga Market.
Best part of the job: "Being able to recycle and being able to create every day. Even if it's for a (custom) order, I still get to make something every day." Griffin said she and Prater use old windows and cabinet doors to create small tables. Their signs use hinges, handles and other discarded materials. "We make everything that's in the shop."
On the business side, Griffin said she enjoys customer interaction and talking to people.
Worst part of the job: "Cleaning paintbrushes."
Challenges faced: Actually getting the shop opened. "It took a lot of time because there's a restaurant on top of us. There were a lot of permits and different fire codes (to contend with)." And then there's the challenge of owning a new small business. "It's jumping with your eyes closed, crossing your fingers and hoping that people like what you do and you can always keep it fresh."
What she's learned: "Some people like our stuff and some people don't. You can't please everybody." She also has learned the importance of keeping busy during customer lulls. "Art shows are constant. There's always somebody to talk to." They designed Tangerinas to be half shop, half studio, so work is being created right on the premises. "All day, we can sit here and work and make new stuff." Such an arrangement, she said, is preferable to "just staring at a cash register."