You could say that Taya Koschnick ’05 forged her own opportunity. Two years after Reed, she and her sister, Silvija, founded Tasi Designs, a distinctive line of jewelry made from ethically sourced stones and antique components such as ancient Roman glass and recycled gold.
“People have always been drawn to adorning themselves, and it’s exciting to repurpose some of those pieces,” said Taya. “I love making jewelry that will last a long time.”
Taya grew up in rural Ohio, where her mother, a jeweler and silversmith, ran a bead shop. Some of her earliest drawings were of spring ring clasps. An English major at Reed, she also dabbled in making jewelry, selling occasional pieces to professors and friends. Her work has since adorned thousands, including Hollywood actresses and several Reed bridal parties.
When Silvija left to pursue new opportunities in early 2012, Taya became sole proprietress. She credits a stint managing the Paradox Café as integral to her success. “Managing the Paradox is the only business class that Reed offers,” a former manager once told her.
Biology classes like plant evolution and developmental biology inspired her designs. Research skills honed writing a creative thesis helped her locate small business grants. “I definitely feel like the intellectual curiosity that comes from Reed is transferrable to owning your own business,” said Taya.
Her gratitude to the communities that helped her succeed compels her to give back. Each year, Tasi Designs donates 10 percent of online holiday sales to charity. Taya recently moved her studio to the outer Woodstock area and plans to offer internships for students and job opportunities for graduates.