When Stacy Yawman, a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, returned home for a visit in 2002, she discovered she wasn’t the only artist in the family. She saw her sister Kristy’s drawing of an electric guitar, recognized the incredible talent Kristy has, and the idea for Taurini Designs was born.
The sisters started exploring ways to combine their talents to create something that could be shared and enjoyed by many.
“When Stacy saw my art, we began talking about starting a business with my artwork,” 35 year-old Kristy Yawman said.
“I make drawings using black Sharpie markers,” said Stacy. “Then I color them in with my markers. My sister, Stacy, scans them into the computer and adds the background colors.”
The duo started using the designs on t-shirts and have now expanded into greeting cards, journals, luggage tags, tote bags, Onesies and framed prints. The finished products are truly a labor of love as the sisters hand make each item.
Kristy, an artist, motivational speaker, dancer, and self-proclaimed drama queen, also has Down syndrome. But that does not define her. In fact, as you read through Kristy’s biography, she doesn’t mention Down syndrome until close to the end.
“I want to do artwork for the rest of my life…” Kristy said. “I look at pictures, the scenery outside and nature helps me create and use my imagination. It calms me down when I am stressed out. Art helps me express what I am feeling. My sister is inspiring to me because she believes in me and my artistic abilities.”
Stacy and Kristy sell their products at Stacy’s salon, Bambu Organic Salon near Seattle and also at a store featuring local artists in Pike Place Market.
For the past five years, they have coordinated art shows at the Salon, featuring Taurini Designs as well as art from four other artists with disabilities.
“The other artists and I come together to sell our artwork. I create a new series of artwork for each show,” Stacy said. “It’s fun!”
“My favorite piece of artwork that I have created is ‘The Tree of Life,’” Kristy said. “It was complicated, and I struggled to make it perfect, but I am proud of it.”
And what is her advice to anyone wanting to start their own business?
“Be confident and never quit. Don’t give up! You must be willing to fight for your dreams.”
And, perhaps Kristy’s most important piece of advice, “I think it is important to always have fun with your artwork!”