Meet Tanea Smith. This mom, risk taker, and Woman You Should Know is the Founder of She’s Got Papers, a growing stationery empire she launched against all odds. Designed to counter the increasingly impersonal nature of our tech-obsessed world, Tanea’s female focused collection celebrates the magic of putting pen to paper, while honoring the classic art of etiquette with modern wit and sophistication.
“Dream big, write down your intention, and execute.”The road to entrepreneurship was not a direct or easy one for Tanea. Born in Brooklyn, NY to a single mother, she found herself pregnant at 18. It was a life changing moment, one that she says taught her to “depend on myself and no one else.” She subsequently spent time on welfare, but worked her way up and out of the system to a successful career as an executive assistant on Wall Street.
But even while juggling the demands of motherhood with her busy professional life, Tanea kept a dream in her sights, determined to one day cultivate her true passion… PAPER! She was mesmerized by visits to Papyrus and Hallmark. She was intoxicated by stationery, handwritten notes, and cards. She had a deep appreciation for what words could do for you or someone else when you took the time to write them out on paper.
After brainstorming with her sister about creating a stationery brand for and about modern women that had etiquette and self-expression at its foundation, Tanea’s vision for She’s Got Papers began to materialize and officially made its debut four years ago. Since, she has continued to run it as a flourishing business while still working full-time on Wall Street, proving that you can pursue your dream while bankrolling it with a primary career.
While she offers all the quintessentials of classic correspondence in folded note and flat card styles, she also has unique themes that speak to a range of contemporary women’s interests, professions, and talents, along with special sets and singles for tweens and girls. Each of her elegant, yet modern, designs features hand drawn images with empowering messages that are “equal parts classy, sassy and inspirational”.
In order to accomplish what she set out to do, Tanea needed to be fearless, dogged, and resourceful, qualities that come from within but also from the positive influence of those closest to her. She attributes her tenacity to her mother, her appreciation of proper etiquette to her grandmother, her entrepreneurial spirit to her grandfather, and her drive to see her dream through to the encouragement of her sister. The result is an inspiring and evolving legacy this WYSK is creating for her own children.
What’s equally as impressive is that the impact Tanea is making reaches far beyond her own life and brand. With the goal of helping other women and teen girls realize they can accomplish anything, Tanea now lectures throughout New York City about her journey from welfare to work and the importance of chasing your dreams.
We are so inspired by this Woman You Should Know! See her in action here: