The insider story behind ONYX & ALABASTER.
Thanks for joining me on this journey! I bet you’ve wondered just how we got started. Or maybe you haven’t, but I’m about to tell you. When I arrived here in Nashville in December of 2011, I had no intent of opening a business. I had left behind a design business in Austin, where I had lived with my family for nearly 4 years. There was no way I would come to Nashville to start a business with no friends or resources. I thought this season of my life was over. Instead I took a day job as an executive assistant at the board level working for Dave Ramsey. Before long, a few small design gigs came my way and eventually new builds followed. Before long I had left my day job with a pay increase and a steady flow of design projects. Initially doing business as Tanya Hembree, I soon had a brick and mortar and a full-fledged design team.
Who knew that well established Nashville would find room for an unknown designer, born-and-raised in California? No, for real! I never dreamed that a few small design gigs would bring me to where I am today.
Within just 3 years into my Nashville design journey (previously having done design work in both Colorado and Texas), my solo-design practice grew into a chic Nashville-style studio and store, located in an amazing historic 1800’s home. Not only that, but I now have an amazing team of talented women working alongside me on this journey!
In March of 2018, my team and I moved from our warehouse-style office, located next to The Factory in Franklin, to a charming downtown building that radiates a simple beauty full of character.
A big stake in the ground for sure, but with nearly triple the square-footage, there was more than enough room for me to dream big. I now had the opportunity to serve our clients AND our community through design.
After much hard work and renovation, the doors were opened on April 27, 2018. The finished studio along with our newly founded “ONYX & ALABASTER - a home interiors market”, was open for business.
Nestled under the same roof as TANYA HEMBREE DESIGN, ONYX & ALABASTER would originally become the retail face of the design studio. A brand new storefront showcased stylish possibilities and welcomed shoppers with a warm, “you belong here - come and take a look around!” The entrepreneur in me who always craves fresh ideas, ever-changing styles, and genuine ways to love people would finally have a space to create a cohesive blend of these important elements, all within miles of my own home.
I was thrilled to embark on this new adventure.
The girlish excitement in me was uncontainable as I started thinking about all the possibilities that would quickly start to taking flight with this new marriage of retail and design.
Through miraculous and divine intervention, what was merely just a passing by of a “for lease” sign in a yard, flowered into a new emerging brand, store, and place of community. You may have been watching us on social media while this adventure has unfolded, but if not, welcome to the story! We’ve been waiting for you. I share this story as no credit of mine, but of God’s supernatural provision and idea that helped me create a beautiful place for people to come commune, shop, and design. To sum up the narrative, in just 4 short days we went from a drive-by to a signed lease (not forgetting to mention a full release of our existing lease and building). Crazy, right?! Yes, but I know about miracles and this was truly one. It was unbelievable how everything fell so perfectly into place with almost no effort, clearly by divine orchestration.
So here we are…a bona fide design studio and home interiors market. O&A (short for ONYX & ALABASTER, for those of you who haven’t had your coffee yet) is now 6 months into this journey and continually welcoming new clients, store regulars, and O&A Insider fans. It’s been nothing short of exciting!
To celebrate the success of the past 6 months, we recently decided to merge our two brands. As you might have heard TANYA HEMBREE DESIGN has now taken on the name of its sister company, ONYX & ALABASTER. To simplify and to make a more efficient marketing effort, we dropped the namesake title to solely focus on building up the ONYX & ALABASTER brand. (And because seriously, who has time for 2 Instagrams and 2 websites? Not me!)
While I’m more than thrilled about what lies ahead, the process to get here hasn’t always been sunshine and lollipops. There have been challenges and bumps in the road, but despite all the difficulties the process has been rewarding and has resulted in growth and self-discovery. So with that, thank you. Thank you for being in our corner, for watching this dream unfold, and for joining us in this story. Just know that my team and I are here to love and serve you and your family.
Be sure to stay connected with us here and on social @onyxandalabaster for more design, behind the scenes, inspiration, and advice…and of course stop by and see us!
Your friend + designer + home guru,