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Meet Rachel Nelson of Nerd Herd in Santa Clarita

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Nelson.

Rachel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Nerd Herd started last year in April as a side project of mine and my fiance, Wade. I’m a bit of a renaissance woman and love making things. We both are nerds who notice a lack or mature or functional nerdy merch. I constantly upcycle clothing for myself and Wade recycles glass to etch into pieces of art. We decided to try our hand at an environmentally friendly clothing and home goods business. In our community there was a local comic book store, Kimzar Kollectables, that was hosting a Comic and Toy Expo. We launched the weekend of the expo and to our surprise, it was a surprise hit. We continued doing small conventions and expos throughout the year.

Then in November, Kimzar Kollectables approached us about being part owners of a brick a mortar. They were expanding their store and wanted to expand their audience as well. We had one condition, we wanted greatly to host events and classes for the nerd community in the Santa Clarita Valley. Our events have expanded from trivia nights to now improv and script readings. In February, we launched an afterschool program for children K-12 that encourages growth and learning through comics and pop culture. The program is called Sidekicks: Training the Heroes of Tomorrow.

Has it been a smooth road?
We have been blessed with the number of opportunities that have been presented to us. This is not to say there aren’t challenges. One struggle has been balancing our personal careers with our business. There have been many days where I would get home from work to have to work on making a product for our next convention. My fiance and I don’t fight except the business and store responsibilities.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Nerd Herd is an apparel and home goods boutique with a nerdy flair. We specialize in upcycled glassware and clothing. About 90% of our handmade products are recycled film/tv props and costumes. We make considerable efforts to be as green and environmentally friendly as possible. In our brick and mortar, we host a multitude of events. The two I am most proud about is Sidekicks and Raiders of the Lost Scripts.

Sidekicks is an afterschool program for kids K-12 where we encourage growth and learning through interactive activities. We theme everything around comics and pop culture. The kids enter the Network of Heroes where they are training to become heroes for tomorrow. Each lesson is written specifically for the individual kids in mind. I had two goals for this program, first, to encourage the kids to be critical thinkers. The second, that the program would affordable for all families.

Raiders of the Lost Scripts are live script readings of movies or tv shows that were almost made. Movies like the infamous Tim Burton/Nick Cage Superman Lives or the Peter Jackson/Neil Blomkamp Halo Movie. I gather professional actors and we just go to town. We love audience participation for additional voices or even sound effect. It’s always a lot of fun and the best part it’s free.

If there was something to say about Nerd Herd/Kimzar Kollectables is we truly love and care about our community. I could not build a business that didn’t help others in some way. It seems weird to say that when you look at a colorful comic book store, but we’re a herd of nerds that celebrate all types of nerds.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Starting a small business is difficult. LA is expensive. In just our neighborhood there are tons of new businesses that don’t last the year. However, you can basically find anything you need in this city. If you dive into the communities, you’ll notice so many other small businesses are helpful and encouraging. There is a competing comic shop in our neighborhood, we often promote each other because we want to see small business succeed.

If there was anything that would be helpful from the city would be better rent control. It’s already super expensive and I know in the next year, our location may move because the rent may go up exponentially.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Elisa Thygesen, Nichole Jackson

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