We had the good fortune of connecting with Natasha Landenberger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natasha, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance has become increasingly important to me over time. During the 4 years spent achieving a BFA in Fashion Design at Otis College of Art & Design, there were often multiple nights a week pulling all nighters to finish projects to perfection and then presenting these on no sleep. The idea that projects (work) were more important than sleep or taking care of oneself began with the habits I formed in college. These habits persisted throughout my early professional career designing for Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, and Pink for Victoria’s Secret. I worked extremely long hours (a 12 hour day was standard, and often I worked much longer days). Over time, the imbalance of work life was unbearable. I started to realize that the amount of work never decreased and I had created an expectation that work was more important than my well being or time for my life. The shift in my perception of the value of my life being equal (if not more important) to work began when I was laid off from my position as Design Director of wovens for Pink for Victoria’s Secret. It was devastating at the time because I had invested so much of my life into my job. Now, I view being laid off as one of the best things that has happened to me because it was the only way I could change my habit of work coming before life. My happiness, my health, my family, my friends, and my creativity are now a priority to work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In 2010, I launched my brand, Muses & Rebels, with a collection of hand beaded necklaces and long chains hand wrapped with ombré thread that could be worn as wrap bracelets. These initial pieces were so lovely, but very intricate and took a long time to make. When I had my kids, I had a lot less time to make jewelry and transitioned to making pieces that were much simpler to balance the amount of time I spent making the jewelry. I continue to make all of the jewelry by hand myself, so the time each piece makes has become more of a driver of the business.
My original love of fashion has also directly impacted my business. I love styling the photoshoots for M&R and would receive requests to purchase some of the clothing items used in photographing the jewelry products. It seemed like a natural progression to add vintage and second hand clothing items to the Muses & Rebels shop. With less time to make jewelry and my honest joy of searching for great vintage clothing, Muses & Rebels will become more of a destination for used clothing people will love.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Restaurants we’d have to dine at: Felix Trattoria, Gjelina, Bestia, and Bavel
For a bit of California beach life:
El Matador Beach, brunch at Malibu Farm on the pier, and fish tacos at Duke’s (bar side)
Hinano Cafe, Gjusta, The Win-Dow, Pine & Crane, Night + Market SAHM
Tasting Kitchen, Pasjoli
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate my shoutout to my husband, Adam, for his continued support of doing what I love creatively. My mom also deserves recognition since she was the one who encouraged me to start my own brand, Muses & Rebels.
My dad helped me launch M&R’s first website in 2010.
So many of my friend’s have supported me and the success of Muses & Rebels and I am so grateful to all of them. Thank you!
Melanie Maroon & Danielle Baum