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Life and Work with Gin Tasulis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gin Tasulis.

Gin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In late 2015, a friend’s 11-month-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. I was trying to think of a way to help raise money for them and thought hand-stamped metal cuffs would be perfect. I bought my first set of stamps, a hammer, steel block, and some metal blanks on craigslist and taught myself how to hand-stamp and form the cuffs. Since I had the tools, I also started making cuffs for friends and family as gifts.

Fast-forward to May 2017 and another friend is diagnosed with leukemia. He was having a fundraiser at a local brewery and I offered to set up a table to make and sell hand-stamped cuffs in order to fundraise for him. After that event is when I decided to make it into a legit business and La Buena Vida Studio was born. I had been bartending for 15 years and was definitely ready for a change. I booked my first market for August 2017 and made it happen.

The past year has flown by, filled with highs, lows, and a ton of learning experiences. I have worked hard to improve my craft, exploring different jewelry designs and adding a new product to keep things fresh and exciting, however, learning the business side of things has been a challenge, as well as keeping up with the website and social media. SOCIAL MEDIA!!! AH! Such an imperative and necessary part of the modern-day small business, but man oh man, is it time-consuming and tricky. With all of that said, I have truly enjoyed every minute of this adventure and I look forward to learning and growing even more.

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road by any means. One thing I struggle with most is underestimating myself and not knowing my worth or full potential. Even after a successful event or a semester at school with a 4.0 GPA, I will still doubt myself for the next event or upcoming semester. It is such a frustrating thing to deal with and this alone has led to roadblocks, emotional struggles, and mental fatigue in starting my own small business. Couple that with being a mom and stepmom, attending California State University San Marcos as a full-time student, and working on campus as a research assistant; the struggle has definitely been real. Looking back on this past year I have seen the growth, persistence, and determination that has enabled me to get to the point where I am today.

Not only do I have a heavy load with everything that I have going on, in January 2018 my youngest son was diagnosed with a rare disorder that affects his eyesight. Since then, he has had six procedures under anesthesia, three of which have been eye surgeries. The past seven months have been a whirlwind, but he is doing well and I couldn’t be more proud of his strength and braveness. I am also lucky enough to have an amazingly supportive partner in life and love, Brent, who not only works hard for our family but has always done his best to accommodate my crazy schedule or boost my confidence when I am questioning my abilities. I could not be more grateful for him and his support in all of my (ad)ventures.

The best advice I can give to other women who are in the beginning stages of their journey is to surround themselves with positive and supportive people who are uplifting and want to see you succeed. It is so important to have that support system in place. Besides my friends and family, I have been able to meet some amazing and wonderful women who are also small-business owners. This has been one of my favorite things about the whole experience of starting my own business. Interacting, learning from, and making friends with strong and determined women have been amazing this past year and I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the connections and friends I have made on this journey thus far.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with La Buena Vida Studio – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
La Buena Vida Studio specializes in custom hand-stamped metal jewelry. This includes cuffs, bracelets, rings, necklaces, and keychains in a variety of metals and designs. I am most known for creating custom items on the spot at local artisan markets all over San Diego County. Customers are able to personalize any item and pick it up that same day, sometimes in as little as 15 minutes. I also host Sip & Stamp Workshops which are hand-stamping DIY workshops held at various local breweries and wineries. Guests are able to learn the art of metal hand-stamping and make and take their very own cuff or ring. This is a super fun event and I love seeing the excitement everyone has when they get to wear something they made themselves.

The thing I am most proud of is the happiness and joy that La Buena Vida Studio has brought to others. I am proud of where and why I started the business and the positive vibes that I have been able to spread around the world. From the happy tears of an Iraqi woman who is unable to be with her love in Turkey (custom cuffs) and a hug from a mother who just lost her child to cancer (custom cuff) to the excitement and smiles of homeless children in Downtown San Diego who got to hand-stamp a gift for Mother’s Day for free (custom rings and necklaces); nothing makes me feel more accomplished and successful than moments like these.

What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
As I mentioned above, a strong support system is important to have. Whether its friends, family, or others in the industry, knowing that others support you and have your back increases confidence and can be beneficial on the road to success. I feel that as women, we often deal with insecurities and unrealistic pressures that can affect our daily lives. It is important to build each other up and support each other. I have found this not only in other artisan market vendors and small-business owners but also in a small-business owner alliance called The MOB. The MOB (Mom-Owned Businesses) is an alliance of women who are balancing motherhood with owning their own business. Although I have only been a member of the alliance for a few months, the amount of support, resources, and benefits that I have already received has been amazing and I am so happy to have found such a positive and supportive group of women.

Pricing:

  • Custom Jewelry $15 – $69
  • Sip & Stamp Workshop $39

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Alexia Ingle, Gin Tasulis, Brent Proctor

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