Driven by a passion for good taste in fashion and design, we met Jessie on our own wanderings for inspiration on the streets of Manhattan. Giving up a comfortable job in NY, a stable future and a story to fit into a frame, Jessie set her creative ideas free and followed her nomadic heart. She gathers chic clothes and accessories, traveling to festivals and cities around the Big Apple, and inviting the curious eyes and their stories in a fashion boutique caravan.
Jessie Goldberg studied film production and after graduating, she grabbed her backpack, determined to go around the world. The spontaneous decision took her on a journey of love for traveling and meeting new people. “I really wanted to be my own boss.”
Having a traveling fashion boutique was quite a trend going on in California, LA, Portland, San Francisco when she decided to quit her job. Making a split decision, she bought a truck, renovated it, found the right clothes for it and planned her first destination. That’s how NOMAD took shape. “It’s pretty much my full-time job. I wake up in the morning and that’s what I do. And if there are other projects going on, they surely involve NOMAD.”
What did you give up in the favor of the nomad experience?
JESSIE: It’s been definitely hard, I guess I am not so sociable with my friends as I used to be. I don’t get too much sleep, and it’s hard trying to build something from the ground up. I had to raise all the money and get this going. And, you know, I work 7days/week. But I love it! It’s my passion. Yet I also know I am giving up being young – the social girl in NYC – that’s the girl I used to be when I was in college. I just turned 25.
The entire identity of the Nomad truck seems to be polished in Aztec prints. How is that connected to your project, does it have any meaning for you?
JESSIE: Our style, the brand is very bohemian, very free spirited, very wanderlust. It really goes along with the theme of being a traveling boutique, always on the road going to new places. And I’ve been always struck by trauma tropes and tribes, and all that idea of being in a tribe, being a wonderer, not really tied up to one space. So, that’s what we brought into that. That was really important for branding. I’ve always wanted to be like this, a wanderer – some sort of gypsy life. And I’ve worked with a very young team of graphic designers from NY, very new, just like me, so we got to talking – what would this brand wear if it would have to go to dinner.
A taste for fashion requires an artistic personality. Do you have any hobbies in other arts?
JESSIE: I’ve always been very visual and I love storytelling. I love living in NY because every second, you look up and there is some kind of quirky weird thing going on. Like when riding in the subway, you always see some kind of weird interaction. People have always interested me, and I’m always on for that kind of storytelling. I just love it when people are telling stories. I used to write a lot during my college years and I loved it. But these days the time just isn’t there. Nowadays I’m more visual, and hands on, I put together outfits, pick out jewelry, organize the clothes and cook. I love cooking.
Does it happen, like it uses to when cooking, that the taste isn’t quite as expected but the dish would look cool on the plate?
JESSIE: Yeah, yeah, actually after graduating, I did some graphic design classes before starting NOMAD. There we were shown, amongst other things, about how to present your food, the plating of a dish. I took those classes because I love putting together posters and such.
Do you also design clothing, have you ever thought of doing that?
JESSIE: No I don’t design clothes, though that keeps coming up. For now, the best part for me is putting together outfits, putting everything in the right place in the NOMAD, creating the right vibe. We have a great sound system in the NOMAD truck and there is always great music playing. Music is another great hobby of mine, I don’t play an instrument, but we used to be a bunch that went to concerts, festivals and camping out there. Maybe that’s what led to NOMAD?
Gypsy at heart and bohemian in thoughts, you’re opening your closet letting anyone step inside. Can it get any cozier than that? How many times has someone stopped for more than just shopping?
JESSIE: It’s such a small space that you cannot enter unnoticed. I greet and welcome everybody and in an instant we’re in such close contact that conversation is bound to start. It happens every day. I have experienced people walking on the truck and wanting to help so much that they have come onboard. They help me do marketing and PR; they believe in the concept and tend to connect with me. Some people, being in NYC you know, just walk inside the truck wanting to talk. Others get inspired and want to start their own truck. It’s often I connect with someone on more than just a business level.
Have you ever thought of putting this into a little project, like making a little book?
JESSIE: It’s too precious not to share, so in my head, I definitely would write a little story – start with a short story, or a blog, but for now I’m so strapped for time.
What is your favorite fashion style or item? Do you have a wish list you’re “hunting” to bring on your clothes hangers while travelling?
JESSIE: My favorite item on the truck is the hat, I love hats! I always try to get great new hats, but don’t have the room for them on the truck. An interesting struggle for me, because I want to have all these hats. I also really love the style in autumn in NY layering different things, patterns, lots of fabric and wearing scarves, really a comfy looking style.
Where do you get all the stuff from?
JESSIE: We source ourselves from designers here in NY but also LA, and we do a lot of work with local artists, local handmade designers. A lot of the jewelry comes from people I met at markets. I sort of brought what I think might fit the vibe, but also costumers that have come on the truck and said ‘hey, I design jewelry can I show you?’ We sell a lot of unique handmade pieces, and we also sell a lot of fair-trade items.
We assume you have a truckload of stories gathered so far, literally. What would be the most inspiring ones, gathered from people, places, items and you?
JESSIE: We did a private party for a woman, Hanna. She had contacted me as she was having a girls’ night out for her sister, recently diagnosed with colon cancer. Very young, beautiful, around 30. She hadn’t been able to go shopping for a while, so they had all these venders, make-up artists, jewelry designers and so on, coming to their house to throw this surprise party for her sister. It was really inspiring, because my dad had colon cancer, and thankfully survived, but also because Hanna had just found us. It was such an amazing night, with an amazing group of women, and her sister was so grateful to have all her friends there and just go shopping. It almost felt like a mini-festival, at the same time one of the greatest things we’ve been a part of.
Can we dream of meeting Nomad on every continent one day? What high hopes awaits this daring dreamer?
JESSIE: My friends and I joke about putting the nomad on a barge, cross the Atlantic and go to Europe. It’s one of my favorite places, so sentimental, but it is like the trip I took after college. I would love to have a fleet of trucks, and also love the brand to grow, sort of like JZ Wonderland style. I would love it to be in shops around the globe. It is my goal, so hopefully soon.
If you would describe yourself in a song, what would that be?
JESSIE: I always think of a song by Van Morrison called Gypsy Queen, and it’s kind of, at least my interpretation. I think people are allowed to interpret songs as they want, like the lyric is “there is a hundred degrees, and like you know it’s all right”. I just think about how much I love what I do. It’s been hard, it wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter. It’s been something I worked for and travelling all the time is hard. I don’t get much time with my loved ones as we’re constantly on the road. I got a flat tire last week, that was really difficult, I had to call somebody and spend a lot of money to get it fixed, on a Sunday and nobody was open. But I think it’s all about continuing and moving forward with your dream, loving life no matter what happens and believing in yourself. If you know that you want to succeed, you will. No matter what anybody else says.
When was the last time you had a quiet day or a weekend?
JESSIE: For my 25th birthday. I have two girls working part time, they are both actors. So I had a quiet picnic with my friends in the park, very nice. It was the first time they opened the shop without me, so it was very nice they could do that.
Have you had the chance to meet any famous people, noteworthy designers?
JESSIE: Not much so far, I met a lot of future talented designers, not someone super-famous. The stuff on the truck is under 100 dollars, because people don’t know where we are the next day, so it might be hard for them if they want to return something. Also, we work a lot with impulse buys, people coming by on their way from work and not really expecting us there. So we want to keep costs low, to have people feeling comfortable buying stuff and not knowing where we’ll be the next day. That’s why I haven’t really worked with high end designers.
An interesting thing for me was to meet the president of KIVA, a program that offers Zip loans to help jumpstart new businesses, because I was a recipient of such a loan. He came to the shop, to be part of an episode of project runway. The designer that was on the truck, Dom Streater, actually won. So, she made a shout out to me on Instagram (we got a big smile).
How much coffee do you usually drink?
JESSIE: Too much, not something I’m proud of (Jessie laughs).
Find Jessie’s fashion truck on thenomadtruck.com.