Tamara Smith-Beckford wiring her way into success
“There is a design in everything you look at; the ripples in the waves at the beach, patterns on the flowers and leaves; how the colours in the sky transition at sunrise and sunset,” says up-and-coming jewellery entrepreneur Tamara Smith-Beckford. She began this journey in 2019 after seeing an ad for a wire-wrapping class at Saana Studios in St Andrew and immediately enrolled herself. Although still balancing her commitments to her regular 9-5 job, she was actively seeking a creative outlet.
The England-born designer of Jamaican parentage and proprietor of Kathyz Kreationz explains: “I aspire to not only adorn women with beautiful hand-made jewellery on the outside but also uplift and add a ray of positivity, hope and drive to their inside beauty as well.” Her current offerings include earrings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, statement rings, mid rings, nose cuffs (which is the current bestseller), ear cuffs and arm cuffs. All the pieces are made using wire-wrapping techniques and quality materials.
On naming the business, she shared that “Kathy was my mother’s name. She passed when I was 16 years old but I knew, no matter what, I pay respect to her”. Asked if she had any doubts initially about opening her business, she said: “I had second thoughts because I struggled accepting that my pieces would be worthy [of being] purchased”. Drawing inspiration from a specific idea and then re-creating, adding and having it evolve into a new piece of art is what I love about designing new pieces. A part of it is seeing the customer’s delight when you give them something that they never envisioned but still love, and it speaks to them. Another aspect of it is just that “nice likkle feeling deh” to acknowledge that you created this with your hands and that God has gifted you with this skill”, she said.
“Growing up, art was always viewed as a hobby, never an area that could be profitable. It almost seemed less than having a traditional career in corporate, education, or medicine. But now, with the upsurge of small businesses and social media, is the time to start, with the likes of ReveJewellery, Jam+Rico, Etal Clothing and Apparel, Storyandmyth, Chrissy’s Coils as well that are on the up and up.”
Making the decision to leave London for Jamaica was something Smith-Beckford had to consider carefully. “After working in England for over 40 years, my parents decided that they were ready to return to my father’s homeland in Jamaica. There was the culture shock of seeing only people who looked like me as opposed to a melting pot of ethnicities. Then there was school, the curriculum, the dialect barrier, but I’m very settled and happy with the decision now,” she explained.
Her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Go towards what makes you happy. I firmly believe in finding fulfilment in all areas of your life. We should not be swayed by what ‘looks’ socially acceptable. Find your passion and pursue it.”