Armed with $100K grant from People's Liberty, new company Tether will connect local creatives

Bringing people together is owner's passion

CINCINNATI -- What started as a fashion styling blog has led Tamia Stinson to her true passion -- bringing people together within the Tri-State's creative community.

In April, Stinson was one of two people awarded a $100,000 fellowship through People's Liberty. She has since founded the company Tether with a mission to unite the creative community.

Networking has always been important to Stinson. Through her blog, The Style Sample, she's garnered quite the collection of creative contacts including local photographers, fashion and hair stylists, creative directors, makeup artists and models. Because of her connections with advertising agencies, design firms and branding companies, she thought, “Why not create a network where local creatives and businesses can connect?"

Stinson noticed over the years that it's not always easy for larger businesses to find local creatives. When she was a stylist for Cincinnati Magazine, she'd often receive inquiries.

"I had so many requests to have people shadow me or they were just inquiring about the industry here and who they should be connecting with,” Stinson said. “And I thought, there has to be a way. The critical mass and technology are in place, so there should be some way we can move forward together."

>She pitched the idea to People's Liberty, an Over-the-Rhine philanthropic lab that brings together civic-minded talent to address challenges and uncover opportunities to transform Cincinnati.

Those awarded the $100,000 fellowships take a yearlong sabbatical from their jobs to work on bringing their ideas to fruition through mentoring and marketing support. They also have access to local and national contacts in addition to a workspace at People’s Liberty.

By connecting creatives with businesses through Tether, Stinson hopes to alleviate the need for companies to outsource work and instead keep assignments with the talent in the Tri-State.

Since the project started, Stinson has been developing Tether's Sourcebook, which combines a portfolio, directory and magazine. It will also include editorial content and photographs from more than 50 local photographers.

Sourcebook will be distributed to agencies and brands locally and nationally and serve as a resource to connect creatives.

"For example, if a photographer needs to pull together a fashion shoot for a client but is in need of a makeup artist or hair stylist, he or she will be able to find someone locally who would be interested in collaborating," Stinson said.

In her quest to connect the community, Stinson also hosts special events through Tether.

"Through different conversations with local creatives, I've learned that one of the more important needs was to have a place or event where they could connect with others in the business," she said. “It's one thing to like someone’s work on Instagram. It’s another to actually talk with the photographer as an individual.”

The most recent event was a business-practices workshop for beginner photographers.

"My hope is that the events will spark inspiration, provide information and help foster relationships of those within our creative community," Stinson said.

After graduating from Ohio State University with a marketing degree, Stinson studied fashion journalism in London. She also has experience in corporate marketing, project management and magazine styling.

As part of her goal to connect creatives, Stinson also has a podcast, Creative City. For the past four years she has interviewed countless local creatives who share everything from how they got their businesses off the ground to their visions, influences and inspirations.

"I meet a lot of interesting people here in Cincinnati that are working on some really neat and interesting projects,” she said.

While Stinson has a lot going on, her main focus this year is to grow Tether.

“The biggest thing I can do in the next year is connect people in the creative community through the events, the Sourcebook and online directory,” she said. “As long as that exists, mission accomplished."

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