Meet Your Merchant: ‘My Favorite Things’ just might be yours too
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My Favorite Things
425 Broad Street, Nevada City
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., everyday except Tuesdays
As a girl growing up in Fair Oaks, Tina Basich-Haller loved to skateboard. But when she hit high school in the ’80s, she decided to try a new sport few people had heard of. It was called “snowboarding.”
She was hooked.
The female snowboarders were “the misfits of the misfits … the anti-cheerleaders. We wanted to fit in, but we didn’t,” Tina wrote years later in her book entitled, “Pretty Good for a Girl: The Autobiography of a Snowboarding Pioneer.” “Snowboarding to us was a savior. It was wholly original and something all our own.”
After high school, Tina opted to take a year off to join a snowboarding team. At the time, she couldn’t have known she would spend the next 20 years as a pioneering professional snowboarder, traveling the world, reporting, competing, shooting films, hosting a TV show on women athletes and founding Boarding for Breast Cancer, a nonprofit organization that advocates for early detection and cancer prevention.
But there was one offshoot of her snowboarding career that she found especially rewarding — design. Because she had made a name for herself professionally, Tina was able launch her own signature board and clothing lines for women.
Having spent her childhood at a Waldorf school where art and creativity were an integral party of every day, Tina found she enjoyed the creative outlet that designing products provided. She enrolled in a two year program in graphic design at U.C. Davis, which would serve her well in the business realm.
Then, one day, it happened.
While executing a 720-degree turn on her board, Tina wiped out.
“I crashed and burned — broke my leg,” she said. “That was a turning point for me, a sign that it might be time to settle down. I consciously realized that my path had changed.”
Tina had been living in Utah for nearly a decade, and after breaking her leg, she was ready to come back to California. She wanted to live below the snow line, in a place where she could grow her own vegetables. She began traveling around Northern California, searching for a “conscious, artistic town.” Her mother suggested a place called Nevada City.
“I got halfway up Broad Street and I pulled over and said, ‘This is so it,’” she said. “I knew I wanted to move here. A realtor showed me around and 30 days later I had my house. Not long after that I pulled into town with a U-Haul full of snowboards — I didn’t know anyone here.”
Tina had always dreamed about creating a space where she could share her artwork and creativity with others. Her mother, Donna Basich, who was eager to support that vision.
“Our kids grew up with art all around — we always had a paint brush in our hands,” said Donna. “I think Tina’s main reason to open a shop was to share what she loves, to focus on expressing joy and celebrating the day.”
In 2005, Tina used the money she had made from her snowboarding career and bought a small building near the top of Broad Street in Nevada City. She named her business “My Favorite Things.” Her initial intent was to rent out the space to a gallery, but during the process of remodeling, she fell in love with the quaint, historic building.
“Suddenly I was eager to start my own business,” she said. “It started a cooperative, because I was still traveling a lot, but soon I was home long enough be there full-time. I’d go on garage sale and antique treasure hunts, then fix things up and sell them. I grew up antiquing with my parents. I’ve always had a love for all things old. I must be an old soul.”
In addition to hand-selected vintage items, My Favorite Things boasts hundreds handmade creations by Tina, her staff and her mother. Examples include vintage greeting cards, canvas bags, cake toppers, pillows, metal signs, tea towels, boxes, tiaras, necklaces, picture frames and much, much more.
“My main focus in the shop is to have keepsakes, treasures — more than the typical gift,” Tina said. “I love every holiday. For example, right now it’s all about weddings and teacher appreciation. We have great girlfriend gifts and valentines. The store is completely transformed for Halloween and Christmas.”
Tina takes part in at least 16 different whole sale gift shows twice a year, and her creativity has not gone unnoticed. Today, more than 600 accounts around the country carry her whole sale line of handmade items. In November, she hired wholesale manager.
Her staff routinely takes part in the creative process, and Tina’s mother Donna sells wearable art, including tutus made from vintage materials. Even Addison, Tina’s nine year old daughter, has started her own line.
“Anyone who is working at the counter is always making something,” said Tina. “We’re always glittering something.”
While Tina remains involved in the world of women’s snowboarding (this year she traveled to Canada to take part in a film on the history of the sport), these days she’s most happy in her store, in her workshop out back or at home with her family. Her house, built in 1872, is just up the street, as is Addison’s Waldorf school.
“We’ll be celebrating our 10th year in business and it still means as much now as when I started,” Tina said. “I’m so thankful for a space where I can create. I hope my business will continue to thrive and I can walk to work. I still pinch myself — I’m so lucky I get to live in Nevada City and have my shop.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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