Q&A with Lindsay Howell from TrashCat

Q&A with Lindsay Howell from TrashCat

Our first Accessory of the Month Collab

For July's Accessory of the Month we’ve partnered with a fantastic creator, Lindsay Howell and her brand Trashcatmade. As a fan-favorite among the Nena community, TrashCat has joined forces with us to bring its iconic, clay snake charm to AOTM subscribers. This is a very exclusive accessory– one that will surely bring a One of a Kind spark to any Nena bag.

Get to know Lindsay

As a female entrepreneur, how did you come up with the idea to create handmade clay snakes?

I grew up in a crafting household, always watching my mom create beautiful things.  Sadly, my mom passed away a few years ago and not a day goes by I don’t think of her.  One of my favorite things I did with my mom was watch and read Harry Potter together.  I grew up on those books and movies, and we bonded over the new release of each new part of Harry’s story. I am from Slytherin house, and so my love for snakes and what they symbolize is what led to my clay charms.  I originally made tiny clay snake earrings, which naturally progressed to work as a purse charm.

What made you turn them into accessories for purses?

I have been drawn to handmade items for as long as I can remember.  My love for handmade bags, and especially Nena, inspired me to make my snake charms to hang from my bags! I had a few close friends who loved them as well, and encouraged me to keep making them.

Could you give us a sneak peek into the clay snake creative process?

When I’m preparing for a drop of new product, I usually like to base it around a theme.  Whether that’s flowers, a certain color palette, etc. When creating my snakes, I love that they are all uniform in their shape, but constantly think of new ways to “embellish” them to keep growing my skill set and my craft.

For example, because of how tiny the charms are it’s very difficult to paint them. I wanted to make “tie-dye” inspired snakes for a drop, and played around with different ways to achieve that look.  Finally, using pastels, I scraped tiny amounts of the pigment onto the snakes and was able to create a watercolor effect using my fingers to smudge the colors into the clay.  There is a lot of trial and error when trying new things, but that’s one of the most fun things about the creative process in my opinion.

What other handmade items do you create?

So many, it’s hard to keep track! I have dabbled in lots of crafts, but I would only consider myself skilled in my clay making and my crochet. There will be a day that I focus more on crochet and projects that involve fabric and yarn, but for now, my clay snakes are something that I’m still learning from and growing.

Okay, we have to know more about the name. What was the inspiration behind TrashCat?

The saying “one man's trash is another man's treasure” is one of the inspirations for my business name.  All of my little crafts, my crochet, resin charms, clay earrings, clay charms, they may not mean something to anyone else, but to me, I love everything I make. It’s special to me because nothing is mindlessly made, and I treasure my love for making one of a kind things that I know my mom would be so proud of.

As far as the “cat” part, well, I love cats. So TrashCat was born!

How were you introduced to Nena?

I was in a very small handmade jewelry group, and a lady asked what everyone else loved to collect.  She posted a photo of her OOAK CDB and linked the Nena Love facebook group! Once there, I was in love with the aspect of handmade, one of a kind bags and haven’t looked back since.

What makes you love to support Nena?

My favorite part of supporting Nena is the fact that the traditions and artistry that I may never have known about otherwise, was accessible to someone like me.

Do you have a favorite bag? If so, what’s your favorite Nena bag and why?

I might have a couple! I have an OG MCDB in a beautiful tulip huipil that reminds me of my mom.  I also have the same huipil in a MTPB that was gifted to me by a member of the Nena community that I will cherish forever.

We’re so excited to collaborate with you on an AOTM! What was the inspiration behind it?

The inspiration behind this AOTM was the beautiful artisan Pitahaya! I wanted to incorporate the colors of this artisan along with the womanhood symbol that we have all come to know and love.

Is there any meaning behind the colors you chose?

The colors I chose for this AOTM remind me of an Arizona sunset (where I’m from) and I wanted the black moon phases to pop to compliment the Nena x TCM bucket bag!

What would you say to someone looking into the AOTM Club?

The AOTM club is more than just receiving an accessory every month.  I love that Nena has found a way to create products each month that are so unique. 

Any advice for other female entrepreneurs looking to chase their dreams?

My biggest piece of advice is to stay true to who YOU are, create something that you can be proud of, and never, ever take your customers for granted.  Without the love and support I’ve received over the past few years, TrashCat would have never made it this far.  I doubted myself so many times, and looking back now, I can’t help but smile at all I’ve learned compared to the nervous, insecure, “small shop” owner I was when I started.  For someone who had a small idea of a clay purse charm, I can honestly say that anything is possible.

What’s your favorite mantra right now?

"Must Go Faster." (Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park)


Check out this blogpost to learn more about the Accessory of the Month Club and how to join!