Tara Lihn: Store Manager, Dance Instructor

Spotted at: 4th Street, Berkeley

Occupation: Store Manager, Dance Instructor

What are you up to today?

I'm on my lunch break—I'm one of the managers at Anthropologie. I was buying a bottle of wine for my best friend who just got engaged.

How did you get started as a store manager?

I've been in retail for a while. I love being around people and helping them so Anthropologie seemed like a good jump. I used to manage a store in San Francisco, a baby store. Then I lived in North Carolina on a year abroad, I say "abroad" because North Carolina literally feels like a different country. Being 30 and covered in tattoos . . . it just wasn't the place for me. So I moved home, which is here, and I started working at Anthropologie in April.

You grew up in the area?

I'm originally from Northern California, but I've lived all down the coast—I tend to stick to a giant body of water. I've lived in Santa Barbara, Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Humboldt County, and now here.

What's your favorite thing about this general area?

I love that it's so easy. I live really close by, people are really great, and everybody is just an individual and can really do their own thing. It's cool that I have a bacon tattoo and that's totally normal. No one bats an eye.

How did the bacon tattoo come about?

I was a vegetarian for 10 years. I'm the daughter of a retired chef, so when I became a vegetarian my dad lost it. He was like, I can't believe that I raised two daughters and now they're both going to be vegetarians. I was home from college, and he had done a really good job of making vegetarian food, when I woke up to him making bacon jam. He had three pounds of bacon that he had diced up and was frying in batches, then he would let it dry—I just had to eat it! I walked in the kitchen, and he was sitting there, frying bacon by this giant pile—literally a mountain of bacon—and I started eating it. In silence. And he's looking at me sitting there, face full of bacon. Finally, I broke it by asking if there was any more. His reply? "You just ate three pounds of bacon! No, there is not any more, now I have to go to the grocery store and buy more bacon!" I fought him and said, "I did NOT just eat three pounds of bacon!" But he was adamant I had consumed a full three pounds.

I assumed I was gonna be sick, but I wasn't—I was totally fine. So of course I thought, "it's totally meant to be!" And for the next three years I was a bacotarian, i.e., I maintained a vegetarian diet . . . but with bacon. Then within the last three or four years I've gone back to eating everything. So, I have tattoos from every year. Since I've turned 18, I get one annually based on where I'm at in my life, and I think of it as a map of who I am. When I was in North Carolina I thought, what better thing to commemorate North Carolina and the south than bacon?

What brought you to North Carolina?

I had a mid-life crisis two years ago and decided that I didn't know if California was the right place for me. So I picked my favorite baby clothing company from my old job and called them up and asked "Hey, are you guys hiring?" They were like, you know we live in North Carolina, right?
But I said, yeah, well I'm single, I don't have any family—I can uproot myself! So I moved to North Carolina and lived t

here for a year with them. I loved the job; I was helping design baby clothing, which was awesome. But I missed my family and I missed having people around. Honestly, I was really lonely. So I moved back around Christmas last year and spent some time figuring out what I wanted do next.

One day I was walking around and decided, I love Anthropologie, I love all their clothing and I've been shopping there for a really long time, why not work for them? So I walked in, gave them my resume and they called me the next day, hiring me the day after.

What are you favorite things to do in your free time?

I used to be a professional Salsa dancer, so I try to go Salsa dancing two or three times a month. And when I'm not working at Anthropologie I teach ballroom lessons—I teach couples their first dances for weddings. And I like to see movies . . . I also watch a stupid amount of Netflix.

Where do you teach dance?

I just do private lessons. There's a small studio around the corner from my house, and I also teach out of my living room. It's always a word-of-mouth thing. I bring my card to the weddings of people whose dances I've choreographed, so I build up a following through the domino effect. Because I work full time at Anthropologie, I don't have a ton of time for it but I can be a bit selective, which is nice.

What's some good advice you've gotten lately?

Hmm . . . I talked to my mom recently, complaining about how four of my old roommates just got engaged—how is that at all possible? And why am I still single? She told me that in order to find somebody you're going to want to be with, you have to be A. OK with yourself, and B. you have to do the things that you love in order to find people who love the things you love, too. My mom started dating somebody a little while ago, after being married for 25 years, and now she and her boyfriend are super in love and they met doing things that she likes, too. If it worked for my mom, it can totally work for me!

Let's hear a little bit about what you're wearing today! I love the skirt.

Thanks! The skirt is actually vintage Anthropologie so its from probably about three years ago.

What about your sweater?

The sweater I got at a thrift store, it's from a Swedish company.

And those boots?

The boots are from Target, they were $20. I love that they have a little red zipper in the back. Usually I'll put on a pop lipstick, but it's my lunch so I took the lipstick off. And also since I've moved around a lot, I don't have any earrings that match anymore, so I just wear random mismatched earrings.

Those are earrings really cool. Are they handmade?

Yeah, my sister made them! She does a hodge podge of stuff.

I just noticed that interesting braid you have going on—super pretty!

I did it myself; I got the idea from a werewolf show that I watch.

The design of that wallet is nice too.

It's Urban Outfitters. We do bag checks every time you leave the store, and I had a HUGE purse filled with everything. So every time I left the store they had to go through it and it got to be so time-consuming that I downsized. Now all I have to do is unzip it.

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