Today we’d like to introduce you to Tanya Rustigian.
Tanya, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Trust started on Martha’s Vineyard. I moved to the island for a summer & applied for a job at Citrine…a boutique in Vineyard Haven. At the time, Citrine was selling beads & jewelry fixings along with clothes & imports. I worked a couple days a week to balance out the craziness of waitressing & bartending in such a hectic environment. I loved Citrine because I could walk from my apartment & it was always a mellow, comforting place. Emma (who owns citrine) was my first real friend on the island and until this day she is still one of my favorite people in the entire world. She asked me if I wanted to start making & selling my own jewelry at Citrine. I racked my brain on what I could create. I’ve always loved to create…I also always knew I was meant to be in the creative industry. I collected antique keys my entire life as I grew up in the antique business. I started making necklaces with them & put them in the shop to sell. When they started to sell, I couldn’t believe it. I started selling in another shop on the island. I slowly started signing up for arts+craft shows & local events where I could sell. It kept catching on…I kept approaching shops, selling at festivals & really hustling. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea Trust was going to be a business never mind a career.
Trust didn’t have a name for years actually…I called it Antique Key Jewelry…how generic. When Cape Cod started catching on, I started to not only gain a following but a true love for my local people. To this day, the people of Cape Cod are the people I dedicate where I am in this business too. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support from a lot of people…friends & family…but mostly my local community. After a few years of Trust on the East Coast, I felt drawn west. My dream was to live bi-coastally…I knew with hard work & dedication, it would eventually happen. A lot of inspiration in my trust designs are drawn from adventures, my love for traveling, my desire to explore, meet new people, listen & learn, soak up symbolic energy & coastal inspiration. So many evolving elements including the sun, moon, sea & earth inspire me to think creatively & encourage me to continue moving. I myself, am everything of Trust…I always want to keep it authentic & true to its brand. I still hand make each piece, respond to every email, reply to each message, send each package, communicate with all accounts & hand write thank you’s. It means so much to me to be involved & connected to my customers…I never want to lose that.
Through Trust, I’ve made everlasting friendships & business relationships…I’ve learned so much. I moved to the west coast a few years ago and now just spend summers on the Cape (and holidays!) I would love to eventually end up back on the Vineyard… It would be a full circle… But I’m not yet done soaking up the west coast. So…when I am asked the story of Trust…its always a bit choppy. People ask how I handle everything on my own & sometimes I don’t know how to answer the question. I usually just say I know its meant to be because it evolved so organically & it just works.
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?
Hmm…not quite a smooth road but smooth enough. As I had mentioned, I always know this is what I am meant to be doing because…it “just works.” It “just works” with a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work, a lot of stressful moments, a lot of tears, what-ifs, what-am-i-doings and phone calls home to mom for reassurance. I am 28 & still call on mom for a good pep talk. She is not only best friend but I would say business / LIFE mentor. Anyway… I am grateful for every obstacle I have had to overcome…I wouldn’t be learning anything if it was just smooth sailing.
Struggle 1: Being in the world of fashion. What an industry. Staying on trends, but staying different. Maintaining your brand esthetic & also your beliefs. Designing whats going to sell but not what everyone else is doing. Expressing yourself creatively & hoping people like it…all while staying true to you.
Struggle 2: As a small business owner, it’s hard not to compare. When I moved West, I was a small fish in a big sea. That’s when I really questioned what am I doing. Out here…it seems like everyone has a brand, a clothing line, a small business…its not unique. You then have to figure out how to stand out…or not…I kind of stopped worrying about “competing” with small brands. I’ve been able to shift the focus & appreciate competition…looking it as inspiration & motivation. If anything, being out here has given me opportunities & insight to grow.
Struggle 3: Another struggle is not letting your job consume you. As I said, I am all of Trust. It was really difficult to separate myself from my work for a long time. I’ve now been able to master “shutting off.” Its really been the most simple things…not looking at my phone first thing in the morning (who wants to flood yourself with emails & social media) not when it’s a big part of your job. Even walking down to the beach to catch the sunset after a days work is a way for my brain to shut off. I have a lot of different tricks that work for me but I think its really important to figure that out.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Trust Jewelry – what should we know?
I still can’t believe it when I see people in a shop buying my jewelry. Sometimes I witness it if I happen to be making a shop visit during their purchase. I don’t see that interaction much because I sell mostly wholesale now…so when I do, I am always so surprised. It blows my mind that out of all the beautiful curated shops I sell in, a customer purchases trust…something I created. I still get excited when I see someone wearing a piece of Trust jewelry or someone tells me it’s their go-to jewelry. It means so much to me. Sometimes I need a reminder of what I have created & how far I have come. It’s so weird but when you’re in it, living it every day, you just don’t think of it.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Staying true to myself & always “being me.” I’ve always been good at connecting with people, listening to people & learning from them. I really cherish genuine connections. I’ve met so many people along the way who have helped me grow this business & have given me inspiration to continue.
Being organized & having a really good memory is clutch when you’re working 8 different positions within 1 company.
- Website: www.tanyarust.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @trustjewelry