ColeVALLEYSF Spotlight: TANTRUM
by Joe Cannella
Because Amanda Weld and Michelle Spear dreamed up this little world near the corner of Carl & Cole where both parents and kids could enjoy themselves, take a trip back in time, or just live in the moment. Indeed I am the sentimental type, but guess what? So are you. And the beautiful toys and the vintage Beatles memorabilia cards that sit side by side remind you that we’re all kids. We all want to play, and live in the moment and remember, and be young again.
“When I was five or six, I had a sleep over with two or three other girls and I made everyone stay up helping me write a puppet play. The idea was that we could surprise everyone's parents with it when they got picked up in the morning. Needless to say, it was not as well performed or received as I had imagined it would be.”
The same combination of creative talent and critical focus on quality shines through today. Tantrum is not her first business venture. She recounts her previous shop, Poe Studio, a children's clothing and gift store in Charleston, South Carolina:
I was 25 and newly married. (We marry young down south.) I had been managing a print shop that sold cheap prints to tourists and framed them in badly made frames. I quit that to make a living as an illustrator and after graduating (as a Design-illustration major at the Savannah College of Art), Poe Studio was really supposed to be my studio with some kick-knacks up front (if anyone bothered to wander in). I was painting portraits, mostly, and then I heard about such a thing as a "gift show" and with credit card in hand-went to the NY international Gift Show. I hated to shop but had a blast shopping for others! Before I knew it the 300 ft space was filled and the illustration business (or lack thereof) was buried for another day.
Fast forward a bit and Amanda, now a five year Cole Valley resident with her husband Richard, 8 year old son Henry and 3.9 year old daughter Thisbe, was still known for throwing amazing vintage-themed birthday parties for her son. Between fond memories of her days at Poe Studio, and hearing friend after friend encourage her to open up a new shop, she eventually decided they were right, and began talking with others about the idea.
And then fate, (as fate does) challenged her resolve by giving her exactly what she needed only a few months later. Occasions, the bath & body boutique literally around the corner from home, was closing up shop, leaving the perfect space. “It was a chicken before egg scenario. My husband spotted the "Going Out of Business" sign in their window before I had seriously considered opening another store. Then it was like...’Yeah right! Like it could ever happen to open something so close-so quickly!’ ”
As the momentum continued forward, one of the friends she had consulted was Michelle Spear: “Amanda reached out to discuss her opportunity and get my opinion on things. The more I heard, the more I got excited and inspired. From there, it just snowballed into this awesome creative [process] back and forth. We set up a room in my house, covered it with all of our thoughts and ideas and fully concepted the store’s vision. Amanda had an awesome core idea and together we added more and more into it to make Tantrum what it is today. (Miraculous that we did all of that in 2 months! It makes me smile thinking about it.)”