Tara Shoucair - Something to Sip About

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT

Monday, April 30, 2018

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SHE has always had the artistic streak growing up, and channelled her creativity through writing, mainly poems, even though she excelled at visual arts.

“While at Immaculate Conception in art class I found myself always thinking outside the box in terms of creativity. I never did everything the teacher said to the 'T'. But I was also drawn to the liberal arts and did a lot of poetry to express my creativity,” Tara Shoucair told All Woman.

This interest didn't seem unique, however, as her mother and sister are also artistic and did a lot of art work in her formative years. And so, on leaving Immaculate, Shoucair never thought about pursuing the arts as a career.

So at the University of Hartford in Connecticut she pursued a psychology major, having become keen on seeing how the mind worked.

“I always wanted to see why some people were better at chemistry versus art, for example, and this really sparked something in me. No one is made the same, and I wanted to explore that,” she explained.

But upon completion of the programme and returning to Jamaica, Shoucair was faced with the reality that pursuing her newfound passion would be difficult without a graduate degree.

Not deterred, she went to work with her uncle and eventually landed a job as the assistant to the editor-in-chief for Kuya Magazine — a publication of Coldwell Banker Jamaica Realty, where she pointed out that she once again found herself utilising her creative side.

During this period, she said her mother, knowing her capabilities, encouraged her to try painting, and in 2013 she decided to try her hand at hand-painting wine glasses “for the sake of doing it” without thinking it would spiral into something big.

But it did.

Today Shoucair is the owner and operator of Something to Sip About — hand-painted wine glasses. Her work can be viewed at www.instagram.com/somethingtosipabout/.

“People started to gravitate towards it and from there I started building and I've done several expos, dinner parties, brunches, weddings, baby showers and regular gifting, and I am usually busiest during the Christmas period,” she said.

One key feature of Shoucair's hand-painted wine glasses is that they are 100 per cent her inspiration and creativity.

“Anything people would like done on the glasses I do, but I don't take specific things or designs. I speak to clients, hear the colours they want and the words and what they are aiming for, then I apply my creativity and create the product. I'd rather they allow me to release the creativity in the product than box me in,” she said.

She added: “So far it has been well received and I try to keep my price range decent to ensure I am not just catering for one type of market, but everybody.”

Shoucair, who eventually hopes to branch into things that complement her glasses, such as wine bags, wine stoppers and also apparel and jewellery, also encourages others not to ignore their talents.

“It was an outlet. In the beginning it was for my own purposes and I saw that people were gravitating towards it and admired what I did. Then it became word of mouth and then one thing led to another. There are many creatives like myself who just need to be encouraged to go for it,” she said.

“My aim is to be the Lolita (glass designer Lolita Healy of Designs by Lolita) of Jamaica. Lolita started doing the same thing — wine glasses — and eventually became so big that she got a manufacturer and now she just designs what goes on a glass, sends to her manufacturer, and they create the product. Move past the fear. Everyone may not like your work but you will be surprised at how many others you can inspire. Our gifts, our passions and talents are given to us to be shared and inspire others. In return we end up feeling a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment through them.”

This young entrepreneur is also big on child advocacy, particularly nutrition and children's mental health.

“I hope to work on a programme with some of the major health players to teach our children about labels, and help to get courses on nutrition from a young age. Many people tend to think health is boring but we need the buy-in to see a difference,” she said.

“I would love to speak to others, especially young girls who may feel as though they are only given a specific role in life. If I can touch or inspire even the life of one other individual through my own works, then that alone makes me feel like I have done an amazing thing,” she said.

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