In honor of our co-founders Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s new book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($13), we’re kicking off an interview series featuring 17 questions (to parallel the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of inspirational female leaders who are at the top of their fields. Last round, we tapped the inimitable Ina Garten, founder of Barefoot Contessa. Next up, a young L.A. gun making art universally accessible: Meet the entrepreneur behind one of our favorite online resources of all—Chelsea Neman, founder of Tappan Collective.
Into every day, a little art must fall, we like to say. We’re constantly honing our online hunter-gatherer skills to curate the best and brightest designs to outfit your abode. Discovering like-minded, passionate design buffs carving a niche for themselves in the industry is our utmost passion. Enter our go-to woman for keeping up with the L.A. art scene.
Chelsea Neman co-founded Tappan Collective with the goal of bringing art back into common conversation. “We wanted to change the way emerging artists connect with their collectors and the world,” she tells us. An immaculately curated platform that supports emerging artists by sharing their work through e-commerce, Neman’s editorial eye provides a digital context for the art scene's up-and-comers hand-plucked from around the globe.
Founded in 2012, Tappan's main goal is to serve as a liaison between collector and artist. The eclectic offering consistently offers up art to accommodate any wallet. So much so that the gallery is credited with redefining the way the next generation experiences buying art. Tappan’s business model centers around providing artists with invaluable business development and feedback. Buoyed by the professional prowess of Neman’s team, Tappan’s initial roster of artists have since graduated to larger galleries of significant prestige, including Marianne Boesky Gallery, Kohn Gallery, and The Hole in NYC.
Doubling her business in under two years, Neman is every bit the whip-smart startup maven poster child. Under her wing, Tappan has attracted the attention of major media outlets and brands, from The Los Angeles Times to Vogue and Interview. They’ve also helmed collaborations with the likes of Soho House, Intermix, Longchamp, and Free People. Charming, candid, and undeniably savvy, Neman has her finger on the pulse of cool. We're betting she can have you building a new gallery wall in T-minus 17 questions.
“I find and support emerging artists early in their careers, and help them create more value within their work. As they continue to create and innovate, I help connect them with collectors and commercial partners who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to acquire their pieces.”
“That I still touch everything, especially visual content that’s going out. Tappan is, at its core, a company based in the visual and aesthetic world. I can’t stress enough how important it is for our visual content to be both cohesive and constantly evolving. As an entrepreneur, the challenge is always taking steps forward before the ground beneath me is there, believing that it will be there when my proverbial foot hits the ground.”
“I don’t remember, but hopefully something polished and professional! I think style is in the edit. I tend to stick with black, white, denim, and clean lines.”
“Too many to choose! But Linda Rodin is high on my list.”
“My artists! We’re constantly working together to change the industry and the world beyond. Artists tend to know, more than anyone, about what’s going on in the art world because they’re the ones shaping movements and trends. They help me stay informed on projects and movements I may have otherwise missed.”
“I choose not to have regrets. Even my worst experiences have their benefits now. I think everything is a learning experience!”
“Passion, positive attitude, entrepreneurial spirit, an ability to understand the how and why (not just the what), and ability to receive feedback and grow from it.”
“I don’t have one, but I’ve acquired nicknames like The Velvet Hammer and Stone-Cold Killer.”
“Spend time in nature. For me, inspiration and motivation come from within, but it takes reconnecting with myself to stay inspired and in awe of the world.”
“Total transparency along the way so both parties know it’s coming—just be honest.”
“Sweetgreen! I love their Rad Thai. Jonathan Neman, one of the founders, is my cousin. All three guys behind the restaurant are some of my favorite people in the world.”
“I see a lot of entry-level employees have difficulty seeing the big picture. I think it’s important to remember that everything we do, even ever so small, is a reflection of who the company is and what we stand for.
“Fresh perspectives can be the catalyst for some really big innovations, as long as people recognize that they’re allowed to and capable of thinking up. Of course, that drive for impact and grand ideas has to be balanced healthily with humility—no one likes entitlement or arrogance.”
“My mornings are pretty consistent and simple. They get me in the right headspace to crush the day: a workout and a coffee. My evenings vary, but they’ll usually include a glass of wine, and laughing with my husband Elliott to relieve me of the stresses that build up over the day. I also love to read a real-life paper book before I fall asleep.”
“Growing up, my dad told me ‘Hate and can’t are not part of your vocabulary.’ Surround yourself with people you respect and admire.”
“We have so much coming up that I am thrilled about! Our temporary space at Platform L.A. was a huge success, so we’re excited to be exploring a more permanent space in early 2017. As for our core online business, we’ve always been a global company for both artists and collectors, but we’re starting to add more artists to our roster who are outside of the United States and expand Tappan’s presence to new markets.
“What I am most excited about has to be the official launch of a new arm of the business in the fall that will allow us to even better serve designers, architects, hotels, and commercials partners. Beyond all that, I’m just as excited every day about the normal business as I was when we started. We aim to bring art back into the conversation everywhere, and that’s still something to be excited about.”