HERA Woman - Tamsien West

HERA Woman - Tamsien West

'HERA Women' is our journal series dedicated to celebrating women who are living life in their HERA jeans. Created to uplift, inspire and celebrate the lives and achievements of all women in their wonderful variety.

Our feature this month is beautiful Tamsien West, a born and raised Geelong girl who runs a bookstagram account with over 30K followers and has her own small business Mina & Maud.

As she warmly welcomes me into her Ocean Grove home, our conversations quickly turn to all the trinkets, keepsakes and vintage treasures artfuling placed throughout. In one room, she holds up a lovely vintage hat box and tells me of when she bought it from a market as a young girl - it was the very first of many old things she would collect.

HERA jeans

Tamsien wears our first style release Freya. Shop our limited release now.

old things in Tamsiens home

The 32 year old has a Bachelor of Arts: International Studies with a minor in Japanese language, and a Diploma of Community Development. Before starting her business Mina & Maud she worked for non-profit organisations in sustainability and the Arts, mostly in partnerships, and fundraising. 

She tells me “alongside this career I’ve studied life drawing, watercolour and ink painting and clothing design, and am a self-taught collage artist and photographer. Throughout my life and career I’ve put my hand up for any opportunity that aligned with my values, and would help people or the planet. It’s led me to a lot of interesting places and unexpected work, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.” We were excited to ask her more...

What draws you to books?

I'm drawn to stories of all kinds, in all the facets of my life. All my favourite songs I love for their stories, I love talking to people and learning their stories, all the art I create is about telling stories, and so on. In essence I'm drawn to books because they're portals to stories. I'll read almost anything, regardless of genre or format, if it captures my imagination. 

What made you start your Babbling Books Instagram?

I started Babbling Books in May 2015. I was working for a non-profit and my colleague (and very good friend/fellow book lover) and I would spend our lunch breaks raving about the books we had been reading. She told me about the book community that was just starting out on Instagram, and encouraged me to join in. At the time I didn't really know anyone else who liked to read, aside from my colleague and the members of my monthly book club, so the idea of being able to open my phone and talk to people who loved the same books I did was really exciting.

What has been the best thing about sharing your love for books online?

Definitely the friends I have made. I've been lucky enough to connect with kindred spirits around the world, and some of them have become some of my closest and most trusted friends.

Mina & Maud in HERA Denim jeans

HERA Denim with Tamsien West

HERA jeans worn by Tamsien

 Tell us your business Mina and Maud

Mina & Maud grew out of a desire to pass on this legacy of gentle encouragement and joyful creation from the heart to anyone whose creative soul needs a little nourishing. As a child growing up in regional Victoria, I loved stories - whether written in the pages of books, contained in the history of objects, or even hiding inside other people. Now as an adult my long and windy career journey has brought me to creating a small business with the goal of helping people to tell their own story through journaling or expressing it as art.

Where is the name from?

Mina & Maud was named in honour of two women who have encouraged and inspired my creativity throughout my life. Mina, for my great grandmother, who wrote the most beautiful poems and cultivated a garden that felt like walking through a song. She showed me that the most important part of any creative endeavour is that it comes from your heart. Maud, for my grandmother, a teacher who nurtured my love of reading and wove tales that sparked my curiosity about the world. She taught me that everyone and everything has a story that matters.

What do you love most about old things?

All my life I’ve been surrounded by old things, and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by the lives that objects might have had before I touched them. So for me finding ways to use vintage things is a way to connect with and honour the past. There’s also an element of sustainability connected to my love of all things vintage. The more we can reuse and repurpose the less we are creating and consuming, and the less impact our lives have on the planet.

Tamsien wears our first style release Freya. Shop our limited release now.

HERA jeans