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Hair by Vivo Salon
Mick Whitcomb, 27
Owner: Nomad/Artifacts by Nomad
Spending formative college years traveling to Southeast Asia with a dad who runs a private security firm is bound to lead to some interesting connections and experiences. For Mick Whitcomb, it led to a career.
Immediately after graduating from Missouri State University, Mick and his then fiancée, Paige, moved to Bali. In Indonesia. At a surf shop. Rad, right? Manufacturing surfboards led to fixtures, clothing and jewelry, and soon he and his associates began importing items from Asia and Oceania to the United States.
So when Mick and Paige returned to the Springfield area a couple of years later, they had lines ready to sell. They opened their downtown store, Nomad (located at 318 W. Walnut in downtown Springfield, next door to Flame) in 2012. “We wanted to open a travel-inspired boutique that incorporated some of our experiences,” Mick says.
Since then Nomad has adapted to selling local and regionally produced lines and has particularly grown its Artifacts by Nomad line, a series of one-of-a-kind fixtures and furniture pieces that Mick makes right there in the store. Many of those pieces start with industrial scrap pieces gathered from around the world, which allows Mick and Paige to continue to foster their love of travel. (Mick has been to more than two dozen countries.) The line has grown by “about 1,000 percent” in 12 months, Mick says, and will soon be available online at artifactsbynomad.com.
Job title and where you work: Owner of Nomad, Artifacts by Nomad, and Nomad World Products LLC
Education: Bachelors Degree, Missouri State University
City or town where you live: Downtown Springfield
1. How did you end up at your current job/profession?
My wife and I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel the world. We have taken style trends that we encountered through our travels and while living abroad and applied them to products we design, manufacture, and sell in Southwest Missouri. Enriching our community with a more multicultural experience motivated me to return to Springfield and open a store. We returned to the States and opened Nomad in January of 2012.
2. Where do you find passion to do what you do?
People constantly walk into our store and say “this is unique.” Some people mean this as a compliment and others don’t. My goal for Nomad has always been to break the mold and create a unique environment for our customers. I feel passionate about creating an experience when visiting Nomad that introduces our customers to a bit of the world I’ve been lucky enough to see firsthand.
3. Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
Married to Paige Whitcomb. One child: Scoutie-Ann. She’s our three legged dog.
4. What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
My job is more hobby than work in the conventional sense. I travel the world looking for inspiration and collecting raw materials. I then design and manufacture one of a kind light fixtures and furniture pieces from the architectural and industrial salvage I’ve found while traveling the U.S. and abroad.
Beats the heck out of knitting…
5. Are you involved in any charitable organizations?
Where ever we’ve traveled we’ve been able to “give back.” The sense of service started early for me as I took my first of four Project Hope trips to Nicaragua when I was 14. When we lived in Bali we were able to work at the YKPA Foundation, an orphanage that helped educate street children in English and job traits. We quickly developed a love for the children who had so little, and we have been able to carry products at Nomad that directly support the school. In Springfield I have a great appreciation for the Tuesday night opportunity for volunteering at the Convoy of Hope. I find Convoy of Hope to be the most highly organized and productive use of a volunteer’s time—you leave feeling you’ve accomplished a great deal in only two hours.
6. Are you a member of any professional organizations?
- Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
- Downtown Springfield Association
- Sigma Phi Epsilon
7. How would you define the secret to success?
Do what you love. Managing to do that sounds successful to me.
8. What's your favorite thing about your career?
It is all with my wife. Everywhere we go, everything we do, it is always us doing it together.
9. What's your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
Great people. I’ve been to two dozen countries and lived in six states—Springfield has some of the nicest people I have ever met!
10. If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Put your collar down… your popped collars are not okay!
11. What was your “dream job” at age 5?
Power Ranger… of course
12. List three traits that define a successful career:
Happiness, perseverance, adaptability.
13. Why are you a 20 Under 30?
Nomad provides a service to Springfield by exposing our community to styles and trends that my wife and I have experienced while traveling the world. Nomad’s displays, layout and products chronicle our adventures to places and cultures that many people who live in the Midwest may not have yet had the opportunity to experience.
14. What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
Expansion. Our “Artifacts” line has grown 1,000 percent in 12 months; we now sell online, and project our lighting to be sold in a dozen locations by Christmas 2015.
15. What completed project are you most proud of?
Moving our manufacturing back to Missouri! Our first two years at Nomad we were designing products in Missouri, manufacturing them in Bali, and importing them to the United States. Since 2014 100 percent of the products we make are hand crafted in the American Midwest. Our products are designed and manufactured in Springfield using materials that we source through our travels.
Most importantly every product I design has a history, complete with a story. I love having a chance to visit with each buyer and fill them in on the history of the product they’re purchasing.
Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:
Family makes life worth living.
A day at work wouldn't be complete without a pot of coffee.
Ten years from now, I hope I'm still this happy.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would be surfing the day after tomorrow.
The best part about being a 20 under 30 is not yet being 30!