Being a military spouse has its share of challenges, not the least of them being finding a successful profession that you can take with you to the many duty stations that you will likely find yourself moving to over the course of your significant other’s career.
Some military spouses find their careers, but Texas Lutheran University graduate, business entrepreneur and local military spouse, Diane Helmer created hers.
Helmer is the owner of The Nomadic Nation Shop, a self-described military chic boutique on Etsy. Her custom items include accessories such as earrings and cufflinks, tea towels, barware and signs. While these are some of the items that are available for customization and purchase in the shop, Helmer says that new ideas and requests are enthusiastically welcomed.
“I tell clients that whatever you can think up, we can find a way to make it happen,” Helmer said.
So how did the idea for The Nomadic Nation Shop come about? Helmer said she spent years planning, fundraising and creating items for various parties and Changes of Command. After witnessing how costly it could be and the lack of options available, she decided there had to be a better way.
The Nomadic Nation Shop was launched on July 4, 2016, while Helmer was living in Ridgecrest, the home of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. When it came time to relocate to Lemoore, she had her shop packed up, moved and back up and running in three days.
Helmer said she strives to make unique, affordable, high-quality items that are available in a reasonable timeframe, usually within 1-2 weeks. Clients can purchase individual items as gifts, and the shop also offers a low wholesale minimum of 25 that can be comprised of a combination of products for those who are searching for fundraiser items or gifts for large groups.
“I love tapping into the unique micro-cultures and subgroups of each squadron. Squadrons shift, the vibe changes and I want to tap into the heart of each group’s story,” she said.
Since official command seals, logos and insignia are not allowed to be used by private individuals or entities, such as Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) and Spouse Groups, Helmer creates unique designs that reflect the different interests and demographics of these groups while maintaining the spirit of the command that they are a part of.
Over the last six months, The Nomadic Nation’s sales grew by 300 percent, leading Helmer to hire two production assistants and a social media manager. While she is a part of the Navy community, she makes items for all branches of the armed forces
Helmer and her team have paired with the VFA-86 Sidewinders FRG on a fundraiser venture, and they are also working with the Tailhook Association to create memorabilia for their 62nd Annual Convention which takes place this September.
Their goal is to transition to a standalone website, complete with a downloadable pdf catalog by the end of the summer.
Her shop can be found at https://www.etsy.com/shop/NomadicNationShop and thenomadicnationshop can be followed on Instagram.