We had the good fortune of connecting with Sonia Melinkoff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sonia, what’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
The hardest decision for me was deciding to quit my stable day job back in 2017 to focus solely on my business. My whole life I’ve had steady jobs, mostly office jobs, but I had a reliable income every week and could budget accordingly. The scariest decision was taking the leap and devoting 100% of my time to Nerdy Novelty Design.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started my business in January 2016, and quit my day job in April 2017. I was vending at a comic con in early 2017 and the turnout was better than I had ever expected, and wondered to myself “if I can be this successful selling items I make while working another job full time, what would happen if I focused 100% on my business?” Previously I had done several craft fairs and local shows, but really wanted to grow and support myself. It was the best decision I could have made. My whole life I had worked jobs that I liked, but nothing I was truly passionate about. After years of settling for an assistant job here, or a coordinator job there, I finally found myself truly happy with my job when I had complete control over it and over my business’s success. A lot of my business was trial and error, but everything became a learning experience and helped me and my business grow.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are two restaurants I would 100% take anybody visiting from out of town, and that is Porto’s in Burbank and the Burbank Pub. Everybody needs to experience Porto’s potato balls at least once, plus they have my favorite sandwich ever, their medianoche. Then The Burbank pub is a MUST because it’s literally a pirate-themed tiki bar with amazing food and drinks. Also I’ve known one of the owners, Erica Abell, since we became friends in middle school in 1996. She’s probably one of my oldest friends that I’ve kept in contact with all these years. After plenty of food and drinks at either Porto’s or The Burbank Pub, I’d take my out-of-town friend down the street to Geeky Teas for some D&D and kitties. For people not familiar with Geeky Teas, it’s a local shop that sells every tabletop game you can think of, plus doubles as a cat rescue, Geekitties Cat Rescue. I even adopted my cat, Spock, from them last year! They also have craft fairs, and some of my first craft fairs I vended at were at their store! Disneyland and Universal Studios trips are also musts, but I figure someone traveling from out of town probably has one or both of those on their itinerary, and I prefer showing them some unique local finds where I have close connections.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My online friends are who I would like to thank the most. I’m an introvert so it’s a lot easier for me to connect with people I’ve met on the internet than in person. I’ve made some online friendships that have turned into genuine connections. My online friends are the people that encouraged me to start my online shop and provide support every day. Now I have a small Facebook group called ‘Nerdy Novelty Friends’ with people that I count as my real friends that I run questions by and keep a positive space in all the negativity on social media.
Nick Dee Photography