Beads by TT, a locally-run nonprofit, is the product of Tara Armijo’s extra free time, urge to be creative and desire to give back. In under a year, she’s gone from beading bracelets for a few friends to donating more than $10,000 to local causes.
Armijo’s company sells bracelets and sunglass cords that double as mask chains. “During the height of the pandemic when we were all locked inside our homes, I was left with extra time on my hands to get back to my crafting roots,” said Armijo. “I quite literally ‘dusted off’ an old box of beads and made some bracelets to send to friends, since there were no plans to see them in person anytime soon.” Those friends quickly started asking her to make jewelry available to purchase, leading Armijo to create an Instagram and start taking orders via DM. Once her inbox started to overflow, she built a website and eventually got registered as a nonprofit organization.
Armijo’s favorite part of running Beads by TT is donating money to a new charity every month. Since becoming “Instagram official” in June, they’ve given to The Loveland Foundation, Gyrl Wonder, A Precious Child, The Alana Faith Chen Foundation, A Friend of Jack, Bienvenidos Food Bank and The Boys & Girls Clubs of Denver. Armijo is particularly excited about their March partnership with Girls, Inc Denver. “Since they inspire girls to be ‘Strong, Smart & Bold,’ I have made a ‘Strong, Smart & Bold’ collection,” she said. “For every bracelet sold in the collection, I plan to make a second one for one of the girls in their programming in addition to donating the proceeds from their other items.”
The entrepreneur describes herself both as a fundamentally “creative person” and a philanthropist. “I have always had a philanthropic heart (which feels weird to say about myself),” Armijo said. She was passionate about raising money and supplies for food banks and homeless shelters from elementary through high school, even running a program called ‘Small Hands, Big Hearts’ with her mom. “I was craving to get back to doing something like this and Beads has been the answer, as I am able to give back at an acceptable distance,” she said. Armijo cites her mom as a source for her creativity as well.
“Because of her I grew up loving to draw, paint, sketch, cut, design, play and test every different type of craft out there,” she said. “I never considered myself particularly excellent at any of these things, but that’s the beauty of art, right? It’s so subjective, with no right or wrong answer. I just did it because it made me happy.” She cites Ornamental Beads, a local Denver bead shop, as a big help in her jewelry-making journey. Armijo works full-time in marketing, but now jokes that Beads by TT is her “full-time night job. But I wouldn’t have it any other way!” she added.
While Beads by TT is still a brand-new company, Armijo is looking forward to the future. “Plain and simple, I just hope to grow, so that I am able to make larger contributions to these amazing organizations from month to month,” she said. She’s also hoping to improve her website, along with “more integrated partnerships with these organizations” and “fun new product releases.”
All photos courtesy of Beads by TT.