We had the good fortune of connecting with Shaleese Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shaleese, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I have loved accessorizing from a young girl. My aunt Verna introduced it to me(She also makes jewelry). Every time she saw us she would make sure we had some. I came up with the idea to begin my own business when I made decided to make the jewelry for my wedding party. I received great feedback. My brother also showed me a bracelet that he liked and he said he needed one in black. I told him “I bet you I can do that!” Challenge was accepted and it took off from there.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My journey to where I am now has not been easy. I’ve had many setbacks and disappointments. I come from a family of nine with seven siblings. We had to work for everything thing we had. Nothing was given to us. My parents worked very hard to make sure we never wanted for anything. I attended Texas Southern University and achieved a Bachelors degree and still did not quite know what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t have a passion for anything. I jumped from job to job. Lived pay check to pay check. Actually I have not quite figured everything thing out as of yet but I know I am making progress. I have always been good at creating and building things but did not realize that one day I will be attempting to build my own brand. I have always been unique in my style. I dream about a lot of the jewelry before I make it. A lot of times when I am asked to make something, I have no idea what I am going to do. However, once I am finished I am astonished at what I have created especially since I am self taught and still learning different techniques.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend and I were going on a trip it would definitely go to the Maldives. Have I been there before?! Absolutely not. Lol, but I would love to go. It is some where we could chill out, be cute, eat, and have a good time. I love adventure so it would consist of snorkeling, jet skiing, a yacht, water skiing, and parasailing. We would do some island hopping and shopping!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family and my husband are instrumental in my success thus far. They support encourage, and offer constructive criticism when needed.

Facebook: @YAKI

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.