We had the good fortune of connecting with Tabitha Co (she/her) and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tabitha, what do you attribute your success to?
Success can be measured or viewed in many ways. For me personally, I would have to say that my success is that I believed in my own capabilities. I took a risk to follow my passion of design and started my company, TABITHA + CO™. This journey has certainly been faced with many challenges and lots of learning along the way. Each experience, the good and bad throughout my life, was preparing me for where I am now, all of which I am grateful for.
During this journey of rebirth, many talented individuals have entered my life and played a role in the success of the brand. Whether that was being hired fresh out of design school in my twenties as a designer for a manufacturing company, the encouragement of family and friends, other women in business and most recently my mentor and master craftsman, 83-year old Paul Marcella. I spent 10 months learning the craft of leather making with Paul at his remote home in Nova Scotia, Canada, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This time spent with Paul is something that I will always cherish and be grateful for. Without this mentorship, my knowledge of working with leather would have been limited and taken much longer to achieve.
We can all have a wonderful business idea, firstly we have to believe in ourselves, appreciate those that take time to invest in our dream and most importantly have gratitude every day for the clients that choose to support your brand. I know that without the continued support of my clients, the brand wouldn’t exist or be viewed as successful.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an accomplished designer and craftsperson from Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. I founded TABITHA + CO™with an eye to making quality leather accessories. As part of the ‘Slow Fashion Movement’, each bag is made one-at-a-time or in small batches, always ensuring to listen to the needs of my client requests. New design styles are implemented under the tagline of ‘Mindfully Made™’ to ensure sustainable actions are being met using the ‘Fashion Revolution’ manifesto as a guide to guarantee that best practices are continually being adopted. This means regularly working to learn more about the companies that supply the raw goods. The high-quality bags are from companies that use raw materials committed to safe and environmentally sound working operations, and this is shown in the superiority of the leather hides.
Each beautiful design style is created for a morning ‘On the Go’, to a night on the town and are versatile for everything in between. The design aesthetic offers a unique handcrafted multi-functional and timeless leather collection, that is Mindfully Made™ with passion in Canada.
My love for fashion and the design aesthetic led to studying Fashion Arts at Holland College, in Prince Edward Island Canada. Following my education, I held positions in the design and manufacturing space in Nova Scotia, Canada, with mentorship from some of the industry’s top performers. In 2018, with a change in life circumstances, and the belief in my abilities TABITHA + CO™ was founded.
These continued life experiences laid the foundation for where I am today. Certainly, there have been many challenges along the way. With each challenge comes learning and staying open to each one paves the way for personal and professional growth.
A wise business woman once gave me this advice, ‘Stay open to the magic, and anything is possible.’
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?
Are you ready to go on a holiday?! Close your eyes and imagine this!
Nova Scotia is rich in culture and history, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people. The Indigenous people of this land call themselves Mi’kmaq (from ni’kmaq, “my kin;” originally L’nu, “the people”). Some choose to celebrate Canada 150, however the Algonquian-speaking Mi’kmaq people have been on this land for over 13,000 years.
Taking in the scenic North Shore of the province, I would suggest spending a Saturday morning at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market, a member of the non-profit cooperative Nova Scotia Farmers’ Market organization. Here you will find local entertainment, artisans and producers.
If you are a museum buff, the Museum of Industry in the adjacent Town of Stellarton is a great next stop or stay and relax in the Town of New Glasgow on the patio of East Side Avenue Dining, offering a big city vibe with the charm of a small town. The view of The Viola Desmond Art Display that now adorns the Bespoke Motor Company building, once known as Roseland Theatre. At this location Viola Desmond faced discrimination for the seat that she rightfully had taken in 1946. Her bravery led to a rallied movement for equality against racial segregation in Nova Scotia.
Making your way back to the historic Town of Pictou, also known as ‘The Birthplace of New Scotland’. This is where the first wave of Scottish settlers arrived on the Ship Hector in 1773. Did you know that the name Pictou derives from the Mi’kmaq name Piktuk, meaning explosive place. Perhaps a reference to possible methane bubbling up from coal seams below Pictou Harbour.
Enjoy a walk through town to learn more about the rich history. Did you know that John William Dawson, geologist, paleontologist, principal of McGill University was born in Pictou in 1820? Dawson was well known for finding the earliest known reptile fossils.
Make your way along the waterfront, visit the Heritage Hector Quay, the Northumberland Fisheries Museum and a stop for a mid afternoon break at the Harbour House Ales & Spirits for a traditional East Coast menu.
An evening of visiting or local musicians like Dave Gunning at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre will fill your bucket for the remainder of your day.
If your visit is timed to align with the Pictou Lobster Carnival or the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee, you will experience a long weekend filled with amazing entertainment and great Atlantic Canadian hospitality. You can find more Maritime hospitality during your stay in Pictou at the Willowhouse Inn, Heritage Quay Bed & Breakfast or The Scotsman.
For a day of meandering coastal views, I would suggest taking a scenic tour along the North Shore’s Sunrise Trail with a first stop for a memorable visit to Sugar Moon Farms for a taste of homemade maple syrup products and food, enjoy the summer fields of the Seafoam Lavender Farm and a stop at the Lismore Sheep Farm for artisan handmade wool products.
Wrap up your day with a tour and peaceful vista view, nestled in rolling hills and sheltered inlets of the Northumberland Shore, you will find Jost Winery, the longest and largest operating winery in Nova Scotia. This long standing winery has received hundreds of national and international awards for its distinct wine.
A few day trips to the South Shore of the province always makes a nice side trip. Did you know that Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Visit and experience some Lunenburg hospitality at The Barn Coffee House, The Lightship Brewing Company or the No.9 Coffee Bar. They will have whatever you need to quench your thirst. Hop on the Lahave Cable Ferry for a quick jaunt across the LaHave River for an afternoon on one of the many white sand beaches, such as Crescent Beach. You have the option to drive your vehicle on this beach. After an afternoon of fun in the sun, sand between your toes and salt water in your hair, I suggest you stop at the Ploughman’s Lunch or the Lahave Bakery to fuel up with some wholesome healthy food choices. Before hopping on the Lahave Ferry back to Lunenburg, check out the handmade Homegrown Skateboard shop on the third floor of the Lahave Bakery overlooking the mouth of the Lahave River. For a boutique style night stay in the historic Town of Lunenburg, choose the Ivy House Inn.
Back for another day along the North Shore, head to the Melmerby Park Provincial Beach to experience red sand and the warm water of the Northumberland Strait. On a clear day you can see Prince Edward Island off in the distance.
It’s soon time for you to return home, but before you do, you’re already making plans for your next visit to Nova Scotia. Lastly, make your way to TABITHA + CO™ for an in person experience to see how the TAB Collection™ is made right here in Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada.
I look forward to your return next time!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many individuals and organizations that deserve credit for playing a role in where I am today. To narrow this down to one individual is a challenge, so in keeping with my values, I will thank a few.
Thank you to the incredible Duane Jones, artist, designer and founder of lifestyle brand Art Pays Me for putting my name forward for this opportunity to be featured in the Shoutout LA.
Meg Craig, owner of Skysail Brand Marketing and Design for aiding in bringing my vision of TABITHA + CO™ to fruition.
Valerie Leduc Photography for capturing beautiful lifestyle and product shot images that continue to highlight the brand’s product line.
Karla MacFarlane, MLA for Pictou West for believing in my vision and trusting me with the purchase of her previous 18th century Stonehouse property situated in the historic Town of Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. This property has now become home to TABITHA + CO™
Author Sarah Butland and writer for The Maritime EDIT. Your incredible storytelling captured the essence of my journey in the Volume 15 ~ Winter 2020-2021 edition.
My gratitude and respect for these strong independent women in business is immense, their expertise and guidance continue to play a role in the success of the brand today.
Valérie Leduc Photography