By Sarina D. ’19
Tara Alizadeh is both budding entrepreneur and a creative designer, and she’s found an outlet that allows her to combine her passions and communicate her ideas to the world. At the beginning of 2019, the Crystal senior founded Expectations, a brand that sells handmade, semi-precious jewelry pieces to consumers in the Bay Area via social media. Tara decided to start Expectations after finding inspiration while interning at a popular streetwear jewelry shop in Los Angeles.
“I have always been interested in fashion and jewelry,” she told Gryphon Gazette. “And at my internship, I was exposed to the behind the scenes of starting a company, making jewelry, marketing, and modeling, and that prompted me to start something of my own”.
The process of getting an Expectations piece to the consumer themselves is complicated, but it starts with Tara sitting at her desk and thinking. She asks herself questions like what’s missing in the market, what consumers are looking for, and where her designs will fit into the industry. With a paper and pencil in hand, she transposes her ideas into sketches and designs. After the brainstorming phase, Tara will start prototyping. “I start putting the pieces of jewelry together and trying out different lengths,” she explained. “Then I make the jewelry and price it based off how expensive the chains or the charms are.” Expectations pieces are customized- you can choose between colors for your band, you can get a charm with the letter of your first name, and you can even mix and match at times. Tara handcrafts each piece from her own materials, allowing the consumer to receive a personalized experienced tailored to how they envision the piece fitting them.
But creating the physical jewelry- which Tara does by herself- is only a half of the process. The rest involves taking high-quality photographs, keeping up with social media posts, and spreading the word about Expectations through every forum possible. Marketing was the skill that both challenged and surprised Tara the most throughout the process. “The designing is pretty straightforward,” she told us. “But the most difficult part was marketing because I thought I needed a professional photographer. It’s really hard, especially for jewelry, to take solid pictures that show off the pieces. I sometimes feel like I’m not keeping up with the marketing aspect of my brand.” But even so, Tara has worked hard to develop her brand. Her Expectations Jewelry Instagram account has hundreds of followers and she regularly posts photos of consumers wearing her pieces. To buy a piece, a customer picks the earrings or a necklace that they like on the Instagram and reach out to Tara to reserve it, either through direct message or in person. Just a few days later, they receive a custom-made jewelry piece delivered to them. Tara has continued to acquire more followers and regular customers, some of which include up and coming bloggers. She now also tags her Expectations Instagram account in photos she posts on her personal Instagram with over 1,000 followers as a marketing tactic. “More and more people that I don’t know from around the Bay Area have been reaching out to me to buy an Expectations piece,” she told Gryphon Gazette.
Expectations isn’t done growing. The future of the brand includes a men’s collection which is already in the works, and a website where consumers can select options to customize their piece and see an organized selection of all the jewelry pieces for sale.
To reserve your Expectations Jewelry piece, head over to the Expectations Instagram. Payment is through Venmo at @taraalizadeh or cash, and delivery is by mail or in person.