Meet Tia Star, one of my latest inspirations. I discovered her online store TiaStar.com this winter when I was searching for a special occasion dress, Over a couple glasses of wine I had a relaxing shopping experience (no stressful parking or trudging around the mall). Instead, my fingers did the walking for me as I perused dozens of beautiful frocks right from the comfort of my own sofa.
But how can you buy a dress online, you ask? How will you know if it fits? Not sure you would take the chance? Ah, but what if the price was right, the person on the other end of the purchase was a lovely woman from Ontario and she offered FREE shipping and returns? Tia Star certainly made me feel comfortable, so much so that I was hooked. In fact, I was doubly impressed when my dress showed up promptly in my mailbox two days after ordering, with a personal handwritten note AND a nifty complimentary knitted scarf thrown in!
Bravely stepping into the world of online fashion, Tia has developed a successful retail business from her home in Bobcaygeon. What I love as much as her excellent selection is the fact that I feel like I actually know her. Tia and I have never met, yet her website makes me feel like I have access to my own personal stylist. I had the chance to “interview” Tia Star online, and just as I expected, she is every bit as interesting and dynamic as her website.
Ruralist – Tell us about yourself, Tia.
Tia – I’m now 31 with 2 cats and an awesome husband. I grew up in Lindsay, Ontario and always thought I’d move somewhere far, far away. I went to The University of Western Ontario (UWO) then lived in Toronto for 6 years and decided to buy a cottage in the Kawartha Lakes. We have so many lakes around us that it feels right for me to live by the water. Since owning the cottage, we have gravitated to Peterborough and ended up moving there full-time. We love being close to our cottage! When we moved to Peterborough, I started TiaStar.com, an online clothing store for women, and have been working hard at it ever since. Peterborough has been a great place to start a business. I have met a lot of awesome friends and business supporters.
Ruralist – Tell us about the name Tia Star.
Tia – My name is actually Tia Star Pivirotto (It WAS Tia Star and people always asked if my name was real. If I was in a joking mood I’d tell them that my parents let me name myself when I was 3 and this is the name I chose). Since getting married and adding Pivirotto I think people take Star even less seriously and think I just added it in the middle for fun! But yes, the name I was born with is Tia Star.
Ruralist – Tell us a bit about your background.
Tia – I studied Economics and Business at UWO. I always planned on owning my own business, but got into medical device sales after university since I didn’t have a business idea yet. The job was great for learning independence and how to sell. It gave me confidence and helped me with problem-solving, too. Competition has always been a part of my life as well. I grew up dancing (ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, acrobatics, etc.) and loved competing and performing. I was also in plays, played rugby and baseball, did art lessons, drama and singing; you name it, I signed up for it.
Ruralist – Tell us about your TiaStar.com lifestyle.
Tia – Well, I run an online business full-time and I’m in the middle of getting ready to open up a women’s boutique in Peterborough as well. I also LOVE to cook and I’m my own biggest fan in the kitchen! I have incorporated meditation into my daily routine and live a positive life. My husband is my best friend and we hang out a lot too. I love going for walks on trails or even in town. I just like being outdoors and getting as much fresh air as possible. I try to eat right and I belong to a local organic veggie co-op where I get fresh veggies delivered every week. I also love going to the market. I also for some reason really want to say that I love cats.
Tia Star photos by Ash Nayler Photography
Ruralist – Any new developments at TiaStar.com?
Tia – I’m opening up my own bricks and mortar store soon! I’m excited that this dream is becoming a reality. My women’s clothing store in Peterborough will be located on Hunter St. beside Spa on Hunter. I also have the finals for The Bears’ Lair (a local business plan competition) this Saturday: I already won the regionals!
Ruralist – What do you wish people knew about you?
Tia – It’s funny because I am starting to hear that when friends of friends know they will be hanging out with me, they are nervous because they feel that they have to dress super stylish. Girls, I love to wear sweatpants, wear my hair messy and no makeup. That’s how I look MOST of the time at home. However you are dressed is wonderful. I hope that my originality and non-superficial “being-ness” comes across in my business and in myself via my blog. I don’t try to be something I’m not and money doesn’t motivate me.
Ruralist – What are some unique aspects of your business?
Tia – I started my online clothing store because I was having such a hard time shopping online and finding Canadian retailers to shop at. None of the stores I saw online had trendy clothing that was unique and at good prices, so I started my own! I have free shipping within Canada and I pay for return postage in Canada too. I like the fact that when women wear clothing from TiaStar.com, they are asked where they got it, which helps with spreading the word about my online store. My business also does not focus on celebrities, brand names plastered on clothing or ‘get this look’. I believe in being yourself and figuring out your style from within instead of trying to copy someone. This gives women more confidence and helps them be who they really are as well.
Congratulations on your success Tia – and thank you for being a great role model for others who want to follow their dreams . We wish you much success in your new Peterborough store!