At this point, I have talked about the Nashifornia journey at ad nauseam, it seems. However, I have yet to share the photos on here from the journey; the full stories and portraits of the incredible individuals I got the true honor of coming across and documenting. The real core of the entire trip in the first place.
It only feels appropriate that I kick off this series with the Bennett Piispanen, the founder and brains behind the irreplicable B.I.T.N., also known as Born In The Nash. Not only was my shoot with Bennett the very first on the entire trip, but it was, in all sincerity, one of my favorites of them all.
Born In The Nash began as a means to fill a great, gaping void. Bennett began to notice that there simply were not enough places for local artists to house their creations. Bennett, connected to a plethora of makers, knew that a fire within him could not be tamed. At a crossroads in his own life, Bennett too was searching for more. Living in a city of utter gastronomy, insatiable artists and music layering the air on every square block, he knew where he was geographically was exactly where he was meant. Born and bread in the midwest, contrary to the company's name, he quickly was enveloped in the prominent culture, as was all of those choosing to reside and create there. Where the crossroads came was, as many twenty-somethings face, in the junction of careers.
With the help of good friend and craftsman, Nick Georgiou, the two came upon a 1974 airstream trailer. This was it, and they both knew it to their core. This would be the artistic asylum for anyone yearning for something handmade, and handmade in their very own zip code. Allowing customers to have peace in knowing that the hands they are shaking in the community are the very ones that worked to create the pieces their very own hold. So with some grit, gumption and gusto, the two began gutting the trailer down to it's bare bones, and did so for nearly five months.
This past winter the rolling retailer began opening it's doors to the city; traveling from anywhere to the farmer's market to a pop up shop event that Bennett put on himself. With easy accessibility to the shop and carefully selected artists who rotate often, Born In The Nash quickly has become the buzz about town. Case in point, when I told the barista I was on my way to visit the Bennett and the trailer after grabbing my coffee, he assured me that I "couldn't be headed a better direction or to visit a greater person." The impressions have run deep and it was clearly that this community is thick as thieves.
Bennett's philosophy and passion render so much more than even the community can say. Not only is his eye for curration one worth recognizing but his humility is discernible. While BITN is still in it's infantile stages, it's growth and adoration is bursting at the seams, and with a promising future in sight.
And if his charming warmth and the handcrafted goods weren't enough of an incentive, there's also Zoey, the four legged mascot whom Bennett rescued years ago. And whose snuggle is worth the visit all her own.
Follow along where B.I.T.N. is headed to next here!