Jewelry designer Tia Neyman jokingly refers to herself as the great and powerful Oz, and that just adds to her charm. She’s serious about business but not about herself. She doesn’t pretend to be all-knowing, but after eight years in business, she knows plenty. "We’ve made every mistake you can make in business, every blunder you can make,” she said during a visit to Ruth Meyers Inc. The one constant is an extremely well-made product. Tia Mia, named for Neyman and her daughter Mia, started as an 18-karat-gold pearl and diamond collection but has evolved more into a fashion line for people with "very good taste on a realistic budget.” "There’s no reason to spend an obscene amount of money,” she said. Neyman was making jewelry as a hobby when she and her husband, an Enron executive, had to make a major lifestyle change. She found herself in the enviable though unfamiliar position of moving her business forward. Soon, her pieces were in elite boutiques in Houston and across the country. Her collection is extensive. She must lie awake at night dreaming up designs. "There’s nothing here I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing casually or on date night,” she said. Neyman retains the title of head stringer, and she taps the girl-dynamic workplace as one reason for the company’s success. "We’re seriously fun,” she said. While reasonable prices for pieces made of pearls or semiprecious stones trigger sales, Neyman also has a knack for being intuitive. "As the economy has changed, we’ve changed. We’ve seen this coming and have been scaling our prices down.” What sets Tia Mia apart from other jewelry lines? "We’re known for our approach to color,” Neyman said. "When I work, I’m not doing a piece that’s not going to enhance me. This is the one time that I can get away with ‘it’s all about me.’ If I’m spending money on it, it better look good.” Along with unquestionable quality, other constants in the collection are the color lavender and pearls. "I’d rather have a big honking pearl than a diamond,” she said.
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