MEET TARA – WORLD TRAVELLER, DIGITAL MARKETING EXTRAORDINAIRE AND OUR NEWEST #SMASHTESSFAM
Ever wonder what starting Smash + Tess really looked like? Or how you can support your friends in making their dreams a reality? Us too! Meet Ashley's longtime bestie and Chief Creative Officer of Kitty’s Co., Tara. Not only is Tara an incredible friend, she’s also the most humble, fun, and brilliant creative we know!
Tara and Ashley’s friendship started long before Smash + Tess came to be, and she was integral in helping Ashley realize her vision for S+T and to make that dream a reality! Safe to say Tara is a founding member of the #smashtessfam, and we hope you love catching up with her as much as we did!
You lived in the UK for a while! So fun! How was that experience?
I lived in the Uk for nearly 14 years. I had initially planned to just visit for a summer of travelling (some of which was with Ashley!), but it just strangely felt like home when I landed in London. I found it so freeing to be somewhere where I had no history or connections. It allowed me to just be whatever I wanted to be. I somehow snagged a job at the BBC which turned into another position in TV production, and suddenly I had a career!
London was good to me. I found my talent, my husband and started my family there. It will always be home.
You've known Ashley for a long time! How did you both meet, and what has the friendship been like?
I met Ashley almost 20 years ago when we both worked as waitresses in Vancouver. She actually saved me when I found myself homeless for a month when a roommate situation fell through. She opened her home and heart to me! We kept in touch even when I went to Europe. I even explored Rome with both “Smash” and “Tess”.
7 years ago, Ash came to London to study at Conde Nast for a summer. She was just starting to develop the idea of Smash + Tess. She'll say that I encouraged her to go after her dream. But the way I remember it, she saved me again. I was in a rut, and Ash has this extraordinary ability to give you energy, support, and encouragement. Our friendship and her belief in me really helped me refocus on designing the life I wanted to live. She really is the living embodiment of Girl Power.
You are the CCO of Kittys. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Kittys is a minority-led, majority female ad agency. We are also one of the fastest-growing Facebook agencies in Canada. Our CEO was the lead growth hacker at Shopify, growing them on Facebook from early startup to IPO. I learn from him daily!
Our focus is on Facebook and Instagram campaigns. Despite all the platform's technical abilities, the most significant impacts still come from great creative strategy, which I love.
We focus on pairing human insights with growth hacking techniques to make truly effective campaigns. I get to collaborate daily with great designers, copywriters and motion graphics artists. And we have fantastic clients, a lot of whom are female-led businesses- like S+T. The work we do can make a real impact on creating business success, which we can see right there in the data. It makes it so worth getting up in the morning!
What is your favourite part of digital marketing?
Being able to really learn what works! After years of creating primarily for TV, it's refreshing and fun to work on a marketing channel that gives immediate and clear feedback. There is little abstract opinion involved. It either works, or it doesn't.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to get into digital marketing?
Specialization. I think it's so important to explore early in your career to find what you like and don't like. But after a while, being an expert in one area and learning everything you can is the best way to differentiate yourself.
Who inspires you?
My son Micah. He is 4, going on 15, and the kindest, bravest, funniest person I've ever met. He makes me want to be the best mom, the best role model, the best person I can be.
What is your fave way to rock your Romper?
Jean jacket with black and white sneaks. Classic S&T!
What does your ultimate Sunday look like?
I'm casual almost all the time now. Tapered cigarette pants- or a Romper paired with a cozy sweater, Atoms sneakers, big curly hair and bright lips.
Fave pump-up song?
If- Janet Jackson. I still know all the moves from the music video.
What does being a part of the #smashtessfam mean to you?
What's so remarkable about the Smash + Tess fam is that it feels exactly like what it feels like to be friends with Ashley. Somehow Smash + Tess took the feeling you get from your closest friends- that comfortable, uplifting, "you got this, you're fab just the way you are" vibe and made it into a community and a clothing line. I love that I can be a part of that.
You can shop Tara's fave Romper below and get that #smashtessfam feeling!