Founded by Tara McKee in 2018, the Creative Den is intended to be a community of creativity.
My name is Tara McKee. My mother is a seamstress, an artist, a baker and can create damn near anything she wants. My father was a self-employed businessman. His dedicated room in our house growing up was “the den,” while pretty much every other room was transformed into my mother's craft room. We would laugh hysterically as my father described stepping on lost needles in the carpet and finding threads everywhere! She fostered creativity in both me and my brother, a talented artist himself.
Growing up, my interests always fell somewhere between art and math, which might explain my odd career path. I studied architecture, mechanical engineering, and ended up in fashion merchandising. A few short years as a buyer in the fashion industry led me to research analysis at an investment bank. From there, I met Brad Katsuyama and, in 2012, joined him and 7 others to start IEX, the 13th U.S. Equity Stock Exchange. Being a start-up means wearing multiple hats and doing various odd jobs, and once you get a taste of it, it’s hard to give up.
After living in NYC for 13 years, my family made the move to Glen Rock, NJ and we instantly fell in love with this community. From the guidance and influence of my parents growing up to my experience in my professional career, I knew that my new venture, Creative Den, would be the perfect fit for Glen Rock.
Creative Den is a maker's space where people can stop in and work during the day. Artist's work is showcased and sold in our store. Artists can teach their craft. The community can learn and sign up for a workshop. In addition to the 2 long work tables, comfy couches and chairs, we have a commercial kitchen where bakers, cooks and caterers can rent the space to make or to teach a cooking class.
On a personal level, creating and crafting has become a big part of my life and healing process. When my father was battling cancer, I found the greatest form of therapy in stitch-work. As I sat next to him, I began helping my mom with a redwork quilt. Stitching can be a methodical, calming, and ultimately, a therapeutic form of healing. Not only did it distract me from the unimaginable heartbreak of losing my dad, it reconnected me with my mother and renewed my love of doing something creative in my spare time.
So that’s my dream. For everyone to support local talent and also to find their own talents, some of which they didn’t know they had. Life-long skills or just a few hours to yourself . . . It's never to late to learn something new.