top of page

From Etsy to Vogue: The Business Girl Mindset with Nina Alston

We chat with Nina Alston, founder of The Messy Archive. We learn about all the ins and outs of building a business whilst juggling sufficient self care.

What is The Messy Archive all about?

Nina: The Messy Archive is a jewellery brand, based in Melbourne, Australia. What started as a hobby to get me through the lonely days in COVID lockdowns, has now turned into my full time job and I am forever grateful. Coming from a creative background, I have always loved art, design and creating and so jewellery making comes very naturally to me. Since our launch, we have created an amazing community of jewellery lovers, collaborated with a range of influencers, models and talents in the industry, amazing press coverage and two runway shows in New York Fashion Week 2023.

Can you share your journey from starting on Etsy to being featured in Vogue? How did you maintain work and life balance along the way?

Nina: If it wasn’t for COVID, I don’t know if the brand would be the same. I was in lockdown and so all I could do was work on The Messy Archive and so an abundance of love, ergo, time and money was spent growing this brand from day one. There were no distractions and no other commitments during this time so I was able to focus solely on TMA. I started selling jewellery I made on Depop and then later started an Etsy account. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew that Etsy had a great platform for handmade items and it worked really well in expanding my audience and achieving a constant stream of sales. The profits made from these sales on Etsy ultimately led me to build my own website.


It has obviously taken a lot of sacrifice and I have missed out on lots of events and key moments in my personal life. However, I think it is really important to surround yourself with people that understand how important your work is and who  understand the sacrifices of building a brand.

What strategies do you use to stay grounded and maintain work-life balance amidst the demands of entrepreneurship?

Nina: Having a routine and sticking to it definitely helps with creating a balance between work and personal life. It is hard to create a daily routine when my tasks as an entrepreneur is always changing, however waking up at the same time each day, scheduling in gym classes and trying not to work after dinner has definitely helped keep a healthy balance. I also always try and have a getaway booked so I always have a decent amount of time off work to avoid burn out. Going away and travelling also really helps with my creativity and designing new items and collections.

How do you prioritise self-care while managing the growth of your business?

Nina: It is really hard to prioritise myself, when every moment of the day I am always thinking of the business and how I can improve The Messy Archive. Recently, I have really prioritised myself and especially my health. I was definitely burnt out, always tired and not eating well and I realised that I cannot function my best when I’m not 100% healthy. I have surrounded myself with amazing people that support me and my vision for The Messy Archive and they understand the sacrifices I need to make, however they also know that I need to be working out, sleeping, eating well and looking after my mental health too.

Can you discuss a time when you faced challenges in balancing your personal and professional life, and how you overcame them?

Nina: The Messy Archive will always be so important me and a huge part of my life and so I was always opposed to being in a reaction ship as I didn’t want my focus shifting from the business. However, now being in a relationship with my extremely supportive and caring boyfriend, I have realised that if someone really loves you, whether that be friends, family or a partner, they will understand how important your business is and they’ll do anything to help you.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs about maintaining balance and self-care while building their businesses?

Nina: It’s harder than I ever thought it would be, but it’s worth every battle for sure. I think it is really important to celebrate wins (even the small wins) and to keep pushing through. I live by the motto, ‘do something today your future self will thank you for’ and this helps me to keep moving forward. Over the past few years of running The Messy Archive I think the most important advice I can offer is, stay true to yourself and surround yourself with amazing people that love you and want you to succeed.

Shop The Messy Archive HERE.


bottom of page