See how this Cincinnati-based fashion designer is making her mark around the world one handmade piece of art at a time.
For a little over a decade, Tara L. Smith has been crafting unique jewelry creations. Tara received her B.S. in Art Education with an academic minor in Art History from Miami University in 2009. While her full-time job is an art teacher at a local Cincinnati high school, her passion for fashion shines bright through her one-of-a-kind Etsy shop.
“I love the fact I am able to still be an artist and make some extra income by selling my work while working full time as an art teacher also,” says Smith on her Etsy page.
The pieces initially started selling through various pop-up shops, and then launching an Etsy Shop was the next step to build the business Smith and her team quickly found that e-commerce dramatically increased exposure and clientele. To date, Smith’s pieces have been shipped to more than seven countries, including Dubai, United Kingdom, Germany and even Japan.
“All of the pieces have so many layers. They have a simplistic look, but each piece has personality and bursts with color and boldness. The pieces do not come from inventory, they come from the customer’s stories, Tara’s mood, and pure wonder. They are each handmade 100%, that is 70% creativity and 30% custom.” says Leah Michelle, fashion stylist and owner of FashionYellow LLC., “Her biggest inspiration comes from her grandmother, who originally inspired Tara to start making jewelry. She loves vintage jewelry and art, so she combines an ‘old soul’ feel in each of her modern and high-end creations.”
Since each creation is handmade, the materials are gathered from local boutiques, thrift stores, online ordering and through global personal connections. Depending on the type and specifics of the piece, customers spend between $75-$500 on an order. “Some pieces are on the lower scale and some are custom, handmade route. It is a great range for anyone to shop in,” says Michelle.
To reach an even broader audience, Smith and her team have utilized both photoshoots and social media to their advantage. “We have a lot of free giveaways on the website and across our social media pages. Our followers tag their friends and have them follow our account for a chance to win. We have found an increase in traffic and customers lately,” says Michelle.
To enhance the image of the brand, Smith and Michelle directed a photoshoot that incorporated all things athletic and chic, the theme for the new spring line of jewelry. “Each look was personally pulled together by me. I mixed Tara’s athletic pieces with womenswear and shoes to highlight her passion for fitness and fashion. We formed the looks around the necklaces to make the concept cohesive and creative. We wanted a mix of bold, bright necklaces and also soft pastels with deep undertones,” says Michelle.
Both Smith and Michelle have been pursuing their passions in both the fashion and business industries for a combined total of 10+ years.
Hair and Makeup: Katie Haggard, Wild Hare Salon.