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Meet Tara Tonsor

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Tonsor.

Hi Tara, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Midwestern vibes, nature-enthusiast, and a curious wanderer. This is Lost & Found Design.

I started this company initially taking apart found jewelry, hand-me-down items like my grandmother’s charm bracelet, and thrift store sales. I remember enjoying the thrill of finding rocks or seashells that had the perfect hole to attach to a chain.

Later, I discovered laser cutting. Blending my graphic design & illustration degrees, I translated my hand-drawn artwork into new technology techniques.

Using natural materials such as wood, leather, stone, and brass paired with modern design, Lost & Found Design has now branched from jewelry into home goods. I can also work with custom designs and can personalize items. Recently I have branched out into stained glass and I’m excited to try combining more mixed-media elements into my work.

Happily stumbling along in my sketchbook, I am encouraged by nature’s never-ending rhythm of lines, patterns, and geometry. My muse is outside.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’ve always enjoyed being creative. I can’t imagine myself not keeping my hands busy. But, I don’t think I realized how to turn my creativity into profit until I tried a craft show. It definitely motivated me to see I could make money from my creative ideas.

It all sounds simple, right? Not quite. I think the struggles come from a mix of having jobs and juggling schedules so that I can continue my business. You’ve got to really want to spend hours in studio making and creating.. and you gotta fit that in with all the other life responsibilities too…It’s hard when you see your friends out having a good time or life distractions, but you’ve got to balance it all out and still put in the time if you want to succeed.

I still work part-time jobs, but I work with my own friend who has a creative tea towel business (GreenBeeKC) as well as SouveNEAR which have local products (including mine!) in vending machines inside the Kansas City airport! So combining these jobs with my creative endeavors has definitely been rewarding! Plus, both of my employers are female-owned businesses.

I think struggles always remind me to stay humble, work hard. I’m just slowly starting to work smarter.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m proud to specialize in combining technology techniques like laser cutting with traditional techniques like woodworking and soldering.

I was originally known for creating a few simple designs in wood using my design skills and lasercutting. My first designs were a honeycomb shaped necklace and earrings, and also the shape of Missouri with a heart cut out in the KC location. Since then, I have created some KC inspired items like earrings, necklaces, coasters, key chains, and bottle openers all made out of wood.

But, my brand has evolved a lot since then with nature inspired designs and imagery. Some of my favorite images now are moons, crystals, and plant shapes for example. Also, I’ve also always tried to incorporate a hexagon shape into some of my work. It’s my favorite shape in nature right down to the molecular level.

I think what sets me apart from others is my drive to try new ideas and materials and combine elements. I always learning and curious. Process in art-making is so rewarding, and I never want to lose sight of my own curiosity.

Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I have a hard time taking risks. Change is hard for me. But, my goal is to run my business full time, and I am slowly taking steps in that direction. Perspective in business ownership is knowing where your audience is and how to grow it. It is also putting value in your customers and offering quality products. I think risks feel less like risks when you are confident in what you make and sell.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Wildly Creative Co. – Trista Taylor

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