Tiny Nest Studio is an Alaskan-based educational art business by mompreneuer, Georgia Mckenzie. She creates learning cards, charts, and activities for kids to learn and play with. They are Alaskan nature-based and incredibly creative! To learn more about Tiny Nest Studio and Georgia, check out the questions below.
Where did you find the inspiration for Tiny Nest Studio?
After my son was born I had a creative spark that inspired me to draw an ABC poster for him. It was comprised of different words that were important to me such as “S” was for Salty, our dog. It turned out great and some friends mentioned to me that I should make more and sell them. So I made an Etsy shop, and Tiny Nest Studio was born.
What are some challenges of owning and operating your own small business?
Having your own business is a series of problem-solving, there is almost always something that needs tending to. When I started Tiny Nest, I had no business experience. My previous job was as a teacher, so I took my artistic and organizational skills and started learning new skills. I had to figure out shipping, prices, and marketing. None of that happened overnight either, it was a good challenge and still is!
How do you get things done with a toddler at home?
People ask me this all the time, and my advice is to do one thing at a time. I have created this business doing one little thing at a time while also giving my son the attention he deserves. I like to utilize nap time to work on projects, and I think it’s important to remember that things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes projects might take an extra day or week to complete when busy with full-time mom duties!
Where do you see Tiny Nest Studio in the future?
I would love to be in more schools and used as a homeschool resource. I think branching out from what I already have is important. Nature education is essential and my hope is that more and more schools will realize the importance of using hands-on learning tools to incorporate the outdoors into classrooms. It is also on my bucket list to write a book, so perhaps that is in the future for Tiny Nest.
How can Alaskans purchase your art and child educational materials?
That is a great question! My website has items for sale and I can ship to anywhere in the world. If you are looking to shop local, Tiny Nest Studio is sold at stores across Alaska. REVIVE in Eagle River is a popular location for customers to buy Tiny Nest, but we also sell at shops in Fairbanks, Sitka, Kenai, and Kodiak. For a full list check out my website!
What is your favorite subject to paint?
I really like painting landscapes such as mountains. They are always changing, which makes them challenging, yet fun to paint. I will go outside (when it’s not too cold out) and sit down with a mountain view and start painting. I love finding the beauty of every season with snow, autumn colors, or the greens of summer. Mountains embody each of those in such a beautiful way.
What Alaskan activities do you enjoy on your time off?
My family and I love camping, especially my son. It feels like we have explored almost everywhere in our little camper, and we try and spend much of the summer outdoors. Hiking and just being outdoors is another great way I like to spend my time.
Which of your items for sale is the most popular?
Depends on the season, right now the night sky cards and reindeer box are the most popular. The night sky cards are great for clear nights when the sun is setting early. It gives kiddos the time to look outside and identify constellations. The reindeer box is honestly so fun, it makes a great Christmas present and is filled with all sorts of activities.
Are your items utilized by any local schools?
Lots of teachers use my materials across the United States and in Canada. I know that the salmon cards are popular in the PNW, British Columbia, and Alaska. Salmon lifecycle is an essential part of the curriculum in these areas and it feels great knowing that my educational materials are being put to use. It is also cool to know that they are being used in villages and locations that educational tools are not as easy to come by.
What is a phenology wheel? How can Alaskans create their own phenology wheels?
A phenology wheel is a way of nature journaling that documents cyclical changes over time. For my wheel, each month I pick something that I want to paint relating to nature. I also write down the daylight in my wheel because I find it interesting. The best part of phenology wheels is that they are totally customizable, you could do one for every day of the week or of a plant growing, they can be of anything. I have a template on my website that you can print and play with on your own. I also created a Skillshare class on how to make phenology wheels that you can watch, here!
How is nature reflected in your artwork?
I like to give a feeling of place to my artwork. My niche is painting very Alaska-specific items. Alaska has so much beauty and uniqueness, and I enjoy highlighting that through my artwork. I think it is also important to respect nature. The main reason that I love creating nature educational materials is that I think if we teach kids to be curious about nature, they will respect it when they are older.
Follow Tiny Nest Studio on Instagram to keep up with new items and fun Alaskan Adventures.