Creative Q&A: Emma Tuccillo of And North
Name, Location Occupation
Founder + Creative Director of And North
Please describe your workspace:
My workspace is quite homey, as I work out of my studio apartment that I share with my boyfriend, Nick. My desk is located next to our bed and doubles as my photo studio, since it gets the best light in the apartment. I try to keep my desk clean and uncluttered, but on a common day I have letters, scraps of paper, and random props scattered everywhere. This is where I usually edit photos, work on the blog, and send out emails. Having a work/live space can be so inspiring, but it can also be a distraction. It is a balance I am always working on.
What are you working on right now?
I spend all of my free time working on And North, a curated guide to upstate New York for creative individuals. And North is a passion project that I work on with five other amazing people. We put out a new feature each week on an upstate home, artist studio, restaurant, shop, farm, or outdoor adventure. We also host events upstate and in the city. We started And North to inspire creativity, collaboration and a sense of community among those interested in connecting New York City with the regions that lie North.
What has been your most rewarding project to date?
And North has really been the most rewarding project I have worked on. I think starting a business from scratch is the most exciting thing a person can do, as it forces you to learn something new every day and put yourself in positions you may have never been in before. I get to collaborate with incredibly creative people and experiment with new ideas on a daily basis. Plus, I get to constantly explore upstate New York, which was a huge reason why I started And North in the first place.
Do you collaborate with a team or work best on your own? Please share a little about your creative process.
I work with the best team imaginable. Sorry to every other business out there, but it’s true. We are a team of six, each with different areas of focus, but our roles are very fluid, so we get to experiment often. Tim LaSalle is our Designer, Stephen Hodgens is our Business Development Director, Miranda Neri is our Production Director, Alyssa Benjamin is our Editorial Director, and Katie Lobel is our Special Events Coordinator. We collaborate on our weekly content, bring on new contributing artists, define our brand, and make plans for future growth as a team. We also have an amazing team of contributing artists who work alongside us--we are so lucky to have them!
Who are you inspired by?
In my personal life, I am inspired by my grandma, Nan. It is quite clear as soon as you meet her that so much of my style and attention to detail came from her. You should see her house---it is incredible!
Business wise, I am incredibly inspired by Grace Bonney of Design Sponge. I was recently interviewed on her podcast, After the Jump, which was a dream come true. I have been following along with Design Sponge for some time now, and am constantly amazed by her hard work, innovation, and global span. Plus, she has been doing Design Sponge for ten years, which is an incredible feat in the blog world. She really paved the way for so many others.
Has there been a defining moment or turning point when you realized what you wanted to do for a living?
My background is in photography, but I have always been attracted to jobs that span many creative fields simultaneously. I went to school in New Paltz, which was where I developed a deep-seated love for the culture and sense of adventure found upstate. I had an early version of the blog in my head three years ago, but it wasn’t until I moved to the city and spent a year researching design blogs, independent magazines, and exploring my own aesthetic, that I came to the current idea for And North. I then pulled together a team of the most creative people I knew and focused our efforts on connecting New York City with upstate New York through a unified voice and vision.
What do you think is the most difficult aspect of your work?
Since And North is a passion project, it can be challenging to find the time to create content each week and propel the blog forward, in addition to our full time jobs. However, having a team that is so passionate and hard working makes everything worthwhile and fun. We started And North saying that even if it didn’t go anywhere, that the experience and joy we would gain from working on it would make it all worth it. I still feel that way, even more so now.
What are you reading at the moment?
Since I spend so much time traveling upstate and on the subway, I have become absolutely obsessed with podcasts. It is my way of tuning out the crazy city around me and learning something new. My favorite podcasts are The Moth, This American Life, After the Jump, and most recently Serial. I love storytelling, so podcasts like these satisfy my need for human connection and understanding in a surprisingly intimate way.
What websites do you visit for inspiration?
I love Design Sponge, specifically their column Biz Ladies, which features female businesswomen and entrepreneurs. Reading these interviews gave me so much insight into starting a business when I was in the early stages of And North. For photography, I often visit Local Milk because no one does natural light better than her!
What are your simplest daily pleasures?
If I have the time, I love waking up slowly, cuddling with my cat (whose name is Cat), eating a simple breakfast with my boyfriend, and maybe making a photo or two. I haven’t quite conquered the morning routine, but when it falls into place, it is perfect.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Ten years…well, I like to set short and long term goals for myself and for And North. Mostly, I like to focus on the day to day, but I let myself daydream about the future once in a while. In these daydreams, And North is a greatly valued resource for people living in the city and upstate and is successful enough to allow me and my team to work on it full-time. I would love to start a quarterly magazine and to start giving curated tours around upstate with different creatives and experts in their field. Such a big part of And North is to support local businesses, so I would love to have made a great impact on that front as well.