My Past, Present & Future

After earning my BFA in graphic design from Daemen College in Amherst, New York, my career took a path very different than I had ever imagined. Interestingly it was the concept and execution of my senior project that led me down that path. I wanted to explore our perspectives on “used” and secondhand products, making people aware of the amount of household waste we generate while also showing them the possibilities for giving used items new life. I devised the concept for an entire store and created compelling branding and materials, a process that took several months. By the end, I was on a mission to create a community solution.

I have always loved creating things and interacting with others. I also never seem to want something simple, and I hate being told I can’t do something. The mixture of my personality, my love for design, and my passion for the concept behind my senior project whipped up the perfect storm, which resulted in me and my fiancé taking OffBeat Emporium into the community as a business.

Co-owner Samantha Tagliarino in OffBeat Emporium
Co-owner Samantha Tagliarino in OffBeat Emporium

We opened our first store in 2011 in Elmwood Village in Buffalo, New York. Not long after, we opened our second store in the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, New York. There are no words that can describe the amazing people I met along this journey. My fiancé and I owned the company jointly, and together we continued to develop its concept. We had an amazing staff and the opportunity to work with so many local artists!

OffBeat Emporium Elmwood Village location
OffBeat Emporium Elmwood Village location

I will never forget the first time we had a customer who had never had the experience of purchasing a “used” piece of furniture. After expressing how she never had “used” things in her home, she purchased a piece I had personally refinished. Delivering it to her home was beyond rewarding.

Monthly art shows featuring local artists and DIY classes were just some of the experiences that evolved in connection with the store over the years. Unfortunately OffBeat Emporium closed in 2016 after the sudden passing of my fiancé.

Buffalo local artist Ashley Kay hosting painting class
Buffalo local artist Ashley Kay hosting painting class

So, you might be wondering what I did with that graphic design degree? Well, I will say I have no regrets about opening the store. I had the opportunity to create something unique with someone I love, and those experiences are priceless. I may not have taken the expected path for a designer, but OffBeat Emporium was its own kind of creative endeavor and allowed me to use my skills in a new way.

Currently living in Nashville, Tennessee. January 2018 was my one-year anniversary of living in Music City. Throughout the past year I have made some amazing friends! I would love to say that it’s been a year without obstacles, but years without obstacles do not exist. Finding yourself in a new city can be hard. For me, even though I wanted to move and to have a fresh start, I was still holding on to so much from my past and not fully letting myself embrace the new city. So I had to ask myself, “Why did I move?” I wanted to experience something completely different, something fresh, and to allow myself a completely new beginning. Well, living in the South is definitely different in so many ways, and now it’s time to really embrace Nashville. As I continue to explore the city, grow my creative portfolio, and make new memories every day, I feel like the possibilities are endless.

I Believe in Nashville mural at Marathon Music Works
I Believe in Nashville mural at Marathon Music Works

I always thought I wanted to have my life planned out, to know exactly what was going to happen next. Everyone’s life journey is different. It’s like dieting—the same thing won’t work for everyone. Although there are plenty of benefits to a structured, planned lifestyle, in my personal experience when things didn’t go as I planned, it threw me for a loop. I had the constant feeling of always picking up the pieces and trying to fix something. So moving forward, I am now more open minded, working on living in the moment and enjoying right now.

5 thoughts on “My Past, Present & Future

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  1. Well done!!! Great story!!!
    I agree with you. Everyone’s path is so unique and that can be both what is so exciting and scary about life. My own life has taken turns that I never saw coming and so everyday I do my best to go with the flow and some days are easier than others. You are an amazing young woman and I know great things are in your future and I will always be there for you my beautiful daughter. I love you!!!

  2. Hi Samantha: Just now seeing this as, for whatever reason, it went into my Spam folder which I’m just now going through to see if there was anything worthwhile that ended up in there by mistake … Like This Message from you …
    So beyond words tragic and unfair what happened to your dear fiance …

    I’ve wondered here and there – as I drive down Elmwood somewhat frequently and pass by your old shop location – how you were / what you might be up to – as I always enjoyed dropping off a new piece to you guys , hanging out , talking a bit.

    I really haven’t been doing any furniture since then .. as I’ve been concentrating on smaller, wall-hangings and such. Just recently someone mentioned I should approach the Burchfield – Penny Art Gallery gift shop { big place on Elmwood right around the 33 ramps } with some of my pieces. A thought that has popped into my head now and then.

    So .. Yeah .. Sounds Like A Plan !

    Well … Huge Kudos to You for .. Moving On .. Exploring your Own Self …
    Ahh .. This Thought Just In :

    Not certain if you were born & raised in Buffalo .. nor if it still holds a special place in your Heart .. BUT … IF it Does ..and you would like a little reminder of same …
    PLEASE .. let me know .. and I’ll pick out a few of my choice Buffalo – themed pieces .. send you some pics and .. if you just LOVE ONE .. let me know which .. So I could send it along to you as a : Thank You For The Experience of having met you & Darrin { sp? } and .. an ‘ All The Best To You and Your Future ‘ as well …. in the meantime .. take care, Peter

    1. Hi Peter! I had taken some time away from my blog while I was going through some transitions in my life. Time got away from me and I am just revisiting my blog now. This is the first time I am seeing you comment and it means so much to me that you reached out! I hope everything is going well for you. I still can’t get myself to get back into refinishing furniture, it’s still too emotional for me. One day I hope to return to refinishing.

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