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Rising Stars: Meet Tanya Bradwell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tanya Bradwell.

Hi Tanya, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I have always had a love for the arts and creativity. Whether it was admiring paintings or photography or enjoying a live production of a stage play; I have always been fascinated with the idea of people having a creative idea and then bringing that idea to life as a visible or tangible thing. In my younger years I was heavily focused on my academics and I did not seriously explore my inquisitiveness of crafting or creating. Being the oldest of 9 children and a member of a large family, the importance of education was instilled in me by my mother and my grandparents. I wanted to make them proud so that is where I put my energy.

With the values instilled in me by my grandparents and parents, I went on to earn my bachelors and masters degrees from my illustrious alma mater, Florida A & M University. Then, while beginning my professional career as a Professional School Counselor I continued my education and eventually earned a doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology. Now, I have been a full time educator for the last 20 years.

I began more intentionally exploring my love for the creating a few years back as a form of self-care. Initially, I explored making items for our home and photography as creative outlets. Then one day, I ordered a beaded gemstone bracelet from a local business. When it arrived I looked at it closely to admire the beauty of the beads and discovered that the knot that closed the bracelet was visible; which should not have been the case. This really piqued my curiosity so I did some research and learned how to construct beaded bracelets. At that point, I was only making them for one of my coworkers, Jakarra, and me. From there, I began making jewelry for friends and family and eventually started a small business making custom jewelry.

This led to me teaching jewelry classes and expanding my business into making other crafts – as TanyaBCrafting. Under that name, I make crafts and teach others how to use the Cricut machine to make various crafting projects. In the midst of the Covid pandemic, I have been doing these classes virtually.

In addition, I have partnered with a local jewelry artisan and business owner, Natalie Jackson of The Frazier Stone Company, to develop online/self-paced classes for small business owners and crafters through The Crafting Club. The Crafting Club has a member subscription group and a private Facebook community. These courses are designed to provide people with access to high-quality instruction in a user-friendly and organized professional platform.

Alright, 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?
I am not a full time entrepreneur. I am a part time entrepreneur with a full time professional career and an amazing family. My husband William and my daughter Timiyah are so supportive. They just let me do my thing.

Finding the balance in giving my all to my full time career, my family and the desire to have a successful small business can be quite challenging. At times it can feel downright impossible. The truth of the matter is, having a business requires some sacrifices along the way. There is no way around that. And while the stress of doing all of this can be managed, it will continue to be a part of the journey. For me, it is best managed with having boundaries and goals. The older I get, the more I value having those boundaries and goals.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As UCBeadz Custom Jewelry LLC, I create gemstone jewelry with a speciality in medium to long length gemstone necklaces. What sets me apart from other designers is that I am not afraid to mix patterns, textures and colors to make a piece that really stands out.

In addition, my pieces are bespoke to the customer, in that once a person orders one of my pieces I gather their measurements and adjust the necklace to the customer’s desired length. I am rather tall so what would be a long necklace for me, would not be an appropriate length for someone who is much shorter. This builds a relationship between me and my customers and ensures that when the product arrives, it will fit just right.

In addition, I only use high-quality gemstone beads and real metals (gold, sterling silver, stainless steel). The jewelry I make is made to last a lifetime. Should anything happen to that necklace over the course of time, the customer can return all of the pieces and I will reconstruct it at no charge.

TanyaBCrafting is where I create custom handmade items and teach classes on how to use the Cricut cutting machine.

In the last year or two, I have transitioned into supporting other jewelry artisans and crafters by providing skills based classes. What I love about these endeavors is my ability to connect with other jewelry artisans and crafters. There are so many people out there who want to get started with making custom jewelry or using the Cricut machine but just do not know where to start. The stories that they share about how they got started allows us to bond and create relationships beyond the class.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
People may not know that I have only been making custom jewelry for a little over 4 years. Oftentimes when I meet jewelry artisans and we share our stories, they are shocked to know that I have been in the custom jewelry business for less than 5 years.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Peymac Media

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