Maker of the Month: LaToya Tucciarone

sustainable home goods

A vintage painting of a figure on canvas. Baskets woven from wild grasses in Zimbabwe. Felt flowers handmade by women in Nepal. The diverse offerings of SustainAble Home Goods come together as a beautiful platform that connects talented makers across the globe with customers looking for homemade, meaningful products.

“For so many people around the world, commerce and trade and business is how they provide for their families,” said LaToya Tucciarone, founder and owner of SustainAble Home Goods. “The idea of symbiotic, mutual exchange of talent, resources and funds for the good of everyone is not only beautiful. It creates sustainable ecosystems for everyone involved.”

Her brick-and-mortar shop in Atlanta and shop online showcase décor, furniture, art, home goods, and more from global and local makers. It’s important to LaToya to keep those producers central to the narrative.

“I think those makers and producers get lost,” she said. “Especially with Covid, it’s made us realize we want to know what we bring into our homes. We want to know what our money’s going towards and who we’re supporting. I love that we’ve been able to create a platform that helps to meet that for our customers, and that we’ve created a platform for our makers as well.”

Read on for our Q&A with LaToya.

Q&A with LaToya Tucciarone

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

I love Atlanta. It really is like the New York of the South. It’s a melting pot of cultures. We have amazing food, great art, and a lot of social activism. A lot of folks here are on the forefront of changing our country, and there are a lot of opportunities to be involved in that.

What’s integral to your work as an artist? 

As an artist and a businesswoman, inspiration is everything. It fuels me, for good or bad. The good is who doesn’t want to create from an inspired place? The bad is when you aren’t inspired, you have to dig inspiration up.

What’s an example of a type of art, or an artist, outside of your medium that inspires you? 

There’s a brand I love called Flamingo Estates. The founder Richard has done a really beautiful job of creating this world that we all want to step into and be a part of. He restored this home in the hills of Los Angeles with essentially a closed loop system – his water drains into a garden, for example – which encouraged him to then make his own soaps and body washes to keep it all natural. From there he launched this beautiful brand of handmade artisanal products. It’s inspiring to build a brand that’s more than just products – it’s a way of life.

What’s the earliest piece of artwork that you made that you remember? 

We had just moved to Georgia when I was maybe 13 or 14. My mom would take these painting classes, and I felt like I was godawful at it, but I did it too. And I was proud of what I created. It was this little awkwardly shaped pot with a top leaning against it, and my mom has it matted and framed in her house to this day.

Do you collect anything?

I don’t currently collect anything. During the pandemic it was plants, but that’s slowed down. I think instead of collecting things I’ve started focusing on more self-care and creating more moments and rituals for myself.

What’s currently on your wish list?

Tilda Swinton uses some kind of anti-aging serum that seems to be gold.

What’s a place you long to return to?

This one’s easy – last year for my birthday my husband and I got away to the south of France, and we inadvertently ended up in this village called St Paul de Vence. It’s like heaven. We didn’t even know this until we got there but Picasso used to live there, and so did Matisse. James Baldwin spent the last part of his life there. It was just oozing with this quiet, beautiful inspiration.

What’s the last meal you consumed that really impressed you?

It was while we were there, on my actual birthday. We had this amazing 5 course meal, outside, in the mountains of the south of France. You have your cheese course, and your wine pairings. It was absolute perfection.

Who do you admire?

Shirley Chisholm. She famously said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” And I think even more than that, if they don’t give you a seat at the table, then build your own table. As a black woman in business, this has been a huge thing for me. Especially the more we’ve sought to get investments and go into that realm, the more I’ve seen how very white male that space has been. How people tend to look at me when I explain my concept and who I am. It’s been a difficult place, but instead of giving up or saying this is not the space for me, quotes like this have really inspired me to build my own table.

I’m really inspired by women, especially women of color, who have stood firm in places where others feel they didn’t belong. And they said no, I do belong, and they hold their own. And Shirley very much did that.

What’s a mistake you’re glad you made?

Not moving to New York after college, because I wouldn’t have met my husband.

What should people do more often?

It’s gonna sound like a shameless plug, but it’s really not! It comes from a deep humanistic philosophy. Supporting more black and indigenous makers and brands. I’m a big believer that when you uplift the marginalized, we all get uplifted. When we support those who are struggling, everyone ultimately wins.

What should people do less often?

Shame each other. Especially on social media.

Coffee/espresso/tea, or none of the above?

Coffee and espresso all the way.

P.S. LaToya was recognized recently as an Amazing Woman in eCommerce by Yotpo! Check out that Q&A, too.