Temidra and Tanya Willock at their store, Hidden Gem. Photography by Madison Fender.
As a network of more than 3,000 small businesses, we’re paying close attention to how they’re faring in an age of social distancing. In an effort to stay connected to our TSG community and share their stories, we’re “catching up with” different business owners every week to hear about their challenges, learn how they’re coping, and find out how they’re spending their time at home. Today, we’re checking in with Tanya and Temidra Willock, the sisters and business partners behind Hidden Gem, a beautifully curated store in Southampton, New York, that carries everything from textiles to handmade pottery to rugs to local art, which draws its inspiration from their Antiguan heritage and East End upbringing. Here, they discuss finding joy in being a new mother and aunt (Temidra recently welcomed a baby girl), family dinners, and favorite podcasts.
What’s your business up to right now?
Tanya: We’ve just added some new tie dye products (t-shirts and bandanas made by us), and we’re donating 20% of the proceeds from our liberty print face masks to the East Hampton Food Pantry.
Temidra: We are open to the public but, masks are required! I can’t have my little one exposed.
Your biggest challenge, professionally and/or personally:
Tanya: My biggest challenge is keeping up with both my college courses as well as running the store. Going between psychology homework and tie dying is a new form of multitasking for me.
Temidra: My biggest challenge right now is balancing my new life as a new mom and my work life. I am currently working from home, so it has been a huge challenge to find the balance and get into my groove.
What’s bringing you joy:
Tanya: Being able to come home from the store and see the face of my new baby niece has been the highlight of my day.
Temidra: My new baby girl! She has become my whole world.
What you’re watching/reading/listening to:
Tanya: Aside from my psychology textbooks, I currently have three books on constant rotation, Jews and Blacks by Michael Lerner and Cornel West, Not Nice by Dr. Aziz Gazipura, and The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga. I’ve also taken up listing to podcasts during my commute, U Up?, The JTrain Podcast, Small Doses with Amanda Seales, and Therapy for Black Girls.
Temidra: Everything is baby for me since becoming a new mom! I’m reading tons of baby books to my daughter. Her favorite book right now is Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by Jessica Hische. She loves the illustrations! I’m also reading tons of mommy blogs. Taking Cara Babies and Baby Center have been my life savers!
Your go-to snack:
Tanya: Milano cookies dipped in applesauce.
Temidra: My mom’s baked dinner rolls with jam and butter.
Your favorite activity with family and/or friends:
Tanya: Eating dinner with my family. It’s the only time when we’re all able to be together without anything distracting us, and it’s always filed with laughter and memories. Dinner time is the best family time.
Temidra: My playtime with my little one. It is so much fun to watch her grow and develop so quickly. She just started giggling and it makes me laugh so much! BBQ dinner with my parents and siblings, too.
The local businesses/services you’re using this week:
Tanya: Takeout has been my go-to for pretty much every meal. My current spot is The Blend on Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton, and their margaritas are the best!
Temidra: Takeout, takeout, takeout! My favorite place to grab lunch is Springs General Store, it’s just a few blocks away from my home so it’s a nice walk for us to get some fresh air.