Today we’d like to introduce you to Tameka Navarro.
Tameka, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My earliest memory of seeing the art of jewelry construction was seeing a group of women beading together on Virginia Beach one summer as a kid. I stared at them so long that they invited me to come closer and let me add some beads to their string.
I saw the reflection of the beads in the sunlight and water and it was just a moment that stuck with me.
Years later while shopping with my nephew at an arts and crafts store I came across the bead aisle and decided to see if I could make something, I’ve been creating ever since.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been easy. This is a very expensive endeavor. There have been many times I’ve wanted to quit, but I actually love creating and designing jewelry so much that those feelings never last.
I’d tell anyone on this journey that patience and consistency are key. Don’t create what you think people will like. Make sure whatever you make is meaningful to you and brings some kind of joy to your life. That energy transcends.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about URBANELLEGANCE JEWELS – what should we know?
I’d like to think I specialize in Unique, meaningful, one of kind pieces. I cringe at the thought of making a piece more than once although the only time I won’t re-create an item is if it’s a custom order and the client has asked that it not be duplicated. I’ve had some major highs during this journey but, honestly, my most memorable moments were designing for and meeting my 1st celebrity clients Raekwon the Chef (of Wu-Tang Clan) and R&B Singer Adrian Marcel. I thought they’d want big flashy pieces because they were famous but they wanted pieces that were more intimate and meaningful to them. That really gave me a different perspective on creating. You learn so much about a person when creating something exclusively for them. It’s very rewarding to see people who you are fans of wearing something you made for them, that people now want because they have it. It’s very surreal. My most recent high was the release of my latest collection “The Dharma Collection” this past month during the RawArtists Showcase in Atlanta. This collection was a 3 year project I worked on simultaneously while creating other collections and projects. For me it’s honestly been a mirror of how far I’ve come in my craft.
Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
When finding a mentor, make sure you do your research. Don’t go on appearance or just online presence. Make sure they are a leader in that field. Obtain as much info as you can find. The last thing you want is a mentor who is no farther along than you. When networking, look for brands that are willing to cross-market with you to extend your reach, but make sure it’s a brand you feel good about promoting and a person you feel good about doing business with.
- Bracelets 40 and up
- Earrings 25 and up
- Necklaces please Inquire directly
- Custom Orders Welcome
- Website: www.urbanellegance.com
- Email: UrbanEllegance@gmail.com
- Instagram: @urbanellegance
- Facebook: Facebook.com/urbanellegancejewels
- Twitter: Twitter.com/meedymeek
Rfvisuals Maria Jara, Sheree Swann
Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.
July 11, 2018 at 11:01 pm
Great interview with an amazing artist. the jewelry is DOPE and the grind is inspiring!