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Meet Tiffany Zadi of Heist in Little Havana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Zadi.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Heist officially began as a jewelry company in 2004 after I graduated from college. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in my parents’ jewelry store where my Dad taught me a lot about the technical side of jewelry making as I experimented with designing pieces for myself. After I graduated, I figured I would try it out officially by launching my own line. I continued making jewelry even as I moved to Boston to attend law school. After I took the bar, I started doing legal work until I made the decision to take a break and focus on Heist. Once, I decided to devote myself to the company full-time, I started seeing more and more momentum and eventually I made the decision not to return to the legal field. In 2012, Heist expanded into leather goods which is now the bulk of what we do.

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely hasn’t always been a smooth road and, as every business owner knows, it’s constantly up and down. But, I believe in the concept of “failing forward” and becoming better because of your mistakes. When I first started out, pre-Etsy and Instagram, it was difficult to build a website and develop a brand. Now we have the opposite problem, it’s so easy to create an online business that it’s hard to stand out from the masses. I’ve made the wrong decision plenty of times, participated in events that were a waste of time and money and been taken advantage of but it’s all a part of the process and there’s always some sort of lesson to be learned in the end.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Heist is an ethical leather goods company that exclusively uses free-range bison leather as well as salvaged materials. I wanted to create a leather goods company that didn’t support factory farming operations, which turned out to be much harder than it seemed. I had to do a ton of research to find the suppliers I now work with and it’s still not always easy to find exactly the right hide for a project I’m working on. But knowing that the leather we use comes from an ethical source makes it all worth it. I’m really proud that we made it work without having to compromise on our values.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think there are both pros and cons to owning a business here. It’s a little cheaper here than other big cities so it’s (slightly) easier to support yourself. I also love the community of creative business owners here as almost everyone subscribes to a “community over competition” mentality and there is so much collaboration and support. However, I do think our appreciation for handmade and ethical goods is lagging behind other cities. Also, just our location being so far south makes it harder and more expensive to travel for shows and events.

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