Erica Moses loves travel, creativity and textiles. She has poured each of these passions into a new business – designing, making and selling decorative pillows.
A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and longtime West Hartford resident, Moses acquires fabrics from throughout the world – including Bali, Brazil, India, and Japan. She roams the beaches of Rio in search of the colorful Brazilian fabrics sold seaside. She gets batiks from Bali and silks from Indian saris.
Moses buys the fabric and runs the business. Her friend Maureen Skau is the seamstress, working out of Moses’ home workshop, the light and airy “Nest Studio,” on Richmond Road. A warm and gracious host, Moses sells her one-of-a-kind pillows at her “Pillows and Mimosas” parties. She also recently entered the world of online retailing and opened a “shop” on a website featuring handmade items known as www.etsy.com.
West Hartford Center shoppers may remember Moses as the owner of two former stores. Almost three decades ago, she was known as Erica Healy (then married to Jim Healy). She owned a Benetton franchise from 1985-1990 and then a store called New Frontier, which she ran from 1991-1996. New Frontier featured clothes, jewelry and custom-designed furniture made by her ex-husband.
A bad economy combined with a new baby prompted Moses to make a career change. She attended Saint Joseph’s University and earned a teaching degree. For 15 years, she has been a second grade teacher at Norfeldt Elementary School.
Although she loves teaching, she missed the creative aspect of retailing. While on a trip last summer to Brazil, she was attracted to the many beautiful fabrics and realized she could use them to fabricate unique pillows.
“I’m not a great artist, but I used to make pillows for my store,” she recalled.
She also felt the need for a diversionary hobby to help her deal with the grief of losing her second husband, Fritz Moses, who died suddenly three years ago. Out of the blue, she was a widow with a young son, Oliver, now age 9. She has two other children with her first husband: Vicki Healy, age 22, and Dylan Healy, age 17.
She turned her late husband’s office into a bright and sunny studio, where she now is comforted by thoughts of him and her creation of soft and comfy pillows.
The pillow covers come with inserts and range in price from $35 for a baby pillow to $55 for a 24 x24 square pillow. And no two pillows are alike.
“We also believe pillows should look as beautiful on the back as they are on the front,” said Moses. Her pillows often have a different color and design on the back and are labeled with the Nest Studio logo, which Maureen’s daughter Katie designed and Erica’s daughter Vicky carved out of wood.
The finishing touch is the packaging. The pillows are slipped into a tan linen cover and tied with an origami paper crane made by her former Norfeldt student, 12-year-old Kylee Colbert.
“I want to let people know how important it is to follow their passions,” said Moses. “It doesn’t mean giving up what you’re doing now; it’s about making your life richer.”
For more information, visit www.etsy.com and search for “Nest Studio Pillows”; call Erica Moses at (860) 712-5520; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Seamstress Maureen Skar sells baked goods and confectionaries by the dozen in decorative jars. Email her at email@example.com or call (860) 402-9183 to place an order.