Tigertree co-owner Josh Quinn

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Tigertree specializes in classy threads from across the globe and a unique line of wallets, buttons and belt buckles handmade from old books by boutique owners Josh and Niki Quinn. Josh Quinn spoke more about motorcycles, making cool things and being included last year in Esquire's Big Black Book.

Name: Josh Quinn

Age: 26

Day job: Co-owner, Tigertree

Neighborhood: Westgate

Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina

Web: shoptigertree.blogspot.com

I was born in Asheville, North Carolina, but I grew up all over. My dad worked for the railroad, and we got transferred a lot. Norfolk-Southern. I basically would live a year everywhere growing up.

I've had a motorcycle license since I was 18. I had a friend in college who had a bike, and he loaned it to me and let me ride it around the town. I just got a Royal Enfield Bullet.

I went to school at the Contemporary Music Center in Martha's Vineyard. It was a small conservatory - sort of. There were 30 students. There were 15 business track [students] and 15 in the artist track. You'd be paired up with business students, and they would work to promote you.

All four members of my band were accepted together. One year, we went to Los Angeles instead of going back to school. It was like The Kinks, Zombies, mod rock. We toured pretty constantly for about six years based from L.A. [It became] just the standard story of hating each other from being in a band for so long.

When I was in L.A., I acted in commercials. I did a Pepsi commercial for the Super Bowl a few years ago. It was ridiculous money and really easy. I was lucky enough to book things, so between tours I'd get residual checks.

My favorite one was this commercial for Renault that we shot in Italy. There's this Italian saying, "with the weight of a cat on your testicles." It's supposed [to mean], like, you hate whatever you're doing so bad that you've got a cat hanging on your balls. So the whole commercial was this animatronic cat hanging off my trousers. Then, you're so relieved to get in your Renault at the end of the day that you wrestle the cat off.

My wife, Niki, and I were in a long-distance relationship for about six years, and that's actually how the whole business got started. We crafted gifts back and forth to each other a lot. Books just became a popular medium. I think the first thing she made out of a book was a picture frame.

The books we use for our line come from all over. We have a couple book stores that are always really good resources and know exactly what we're looking for. We try and do library sales or school book sales or things like that as often as possible to use books that would be destroyed.

One benefit of owning a business in Columbus is that I really feel like retail can have an impact on your community. In L.A., it can't. You're just fighting for viability against all the other stores.

A few months before The Big Black Book came out, they called Niki just to check the facts and tell her about it. Honestly, we had just kind of forgotten about it. We didn't realize what a big deal that was going to be until we got the preview copy and a letter from the editor.

The worst male fashion trend is over-designed T-shirts. I mean, that is beyond dead. I don't know how these muscular dudes think it's cool that a Bedazzler blew up on their shirt.