February 2017 Art Collector of the Month: Eva Smith



Eva by her "La Flor #15" in her boutique Urban Loft in Houma, Louisiana.

Eva tells us about her dream of owning her own clothing store and the struggles and joys in her life.

I love to get to know my art collectors a little bit more, so every month I will be sharing with you the profile of one of them.

The purpose of these interviews is to provide examples of women who have had the courage to follow their heart, some to become mothers, wives, stay at home moms or wives, professionals or entrepreneurs. They did it by overcoming fear of criticism, failure, or both. Each person measures success according to their own dreams, so it is very personal. There is no dream too big or too small. For the month of February, my art collector is: Eva Smith.

- Age: 47

-Location: Larose, Louisiana

-Marital Status: Formerly married

-Kids: My daughter Shay is 25 and son Dante' is 23

1. What is your current position?

Owner, Operator and Buyer of Urban Loft

2. How did you get to where you are professionally? Is it what you always wanted to do?

Through lots of blood, sweat and tears, much patience and total support from my family I am where I've always wanted to be doing what it is that I am so passionate about. I knew from an early age (4th grade, yes-that young) that I wanted to be in the fashion industry. Looking at fashion magazines made me happy and I didn't just play dress up, I dressed people up! My first design was my 9th grade prom dress which lead to designing for others as well.

Upon high school graduation in 1987 I moved to Dallas, Texas to attend (what is now named Wade College) Miss Wade's Fashion Merchandising School located in the Dallas Apparel Mart. I was given the opportunity (it was actually required) to work market four times a year which allowed me to meet some wonderful people and talented designers . Little did I know at the time that this opportunity would give me the experience I needed to open a clothing boutique. Working market means the hustle and bustle of showing groups of garments in their perspective delivery dates. Being a buyer at market means you're the lucky one choosing what you think your customer would like to buy.

As a student often times we were given design projects to be completed within a twenty four timeframe. I believe it was at this time I realized that designing may not be my greatest talent, but I definitely belonged in the wonderful world of fashion. I also volunteered to do window dressing for some of the permanent showrooms in the Apparel Mart. Another opportunity of experience in owning my own boutique.

Upon completion at Miss Wade's Fashion Merchandising School I attended Nicholls State University studying Business. I later married, had children and temporarily put my dreams on hold to raise my family.

3. Did you ever have any doubts that you would accomplish it?

Absolutely not! I always knew I wanted a family and my family would come first. Once my children started school I worked different jobs that allowed me to work around their schedules. I was everything from Class Room Mom to PTA President to Carpool Mom. My kids graduated from two different high schools. Shay attended John Curtis and Dante' went to Vandebilt. Needless to say I was quite busy. These were incredible times and if given the chance I'd do it all over again!

4. When you were little, did you have any dreams about who you wanted to be when you grew up? Did any come true?

My Mom (one of my biggest role models) is a retired school teacher so I would often come home from school, grab her teacher's manual and teach my imaginary students. That didn't work out for me like it did for my sister.

I always loved dressing up, matching outfits together and being around people. These things did work out for me!

5.Hobbies?

Plenty! I love cooking (and eating), trying out different restaurants, traveling, swimming, reading, going to the movies (at Canal Place where they bring you food and cocktails upon request), gardening, go kart racing, listening to music, mediation, yoga and of course collecting artwork!

6.What are you passionate about?

I'm most passionate about this wonderful thing called life and the people I have in it! I believe we must live each day to the fullest and hold the ones we love most dear to our hearts.

7. Give us three instances that were particularly hard in your life:

At the age of 15, my best friend's Dad took his own life. It was extremely difficult as this person was such a father-figure in my life. He and my own Dad had been best friends in school. My Dad worked overseas to provide for our family and was literally away half of the year.

Going through a divorce is never an easy situation especially when children are involved. This was a dark time in my life and although it was a mutual agreement I would not have made it without the grace of God. The silver lining was that I learned a lot, got stronger and now are able to support others in the same situation.

I recently learned of a loved one who suffers from substance abuse and addiction. Nearing death this person reached out and asked for help. Although its acceptance is extremely difficult as well as the tough love that comes with it, it's the fact that my loved one will fight this battle always.

8. Do you believe that they were life lessons for you? And if so, what were they?

I most definitely believe that every misfortune is a lesson in life. My faith in God has always been strong and in every challenging situation I feel closer to Him knowing He is always present. When having the urge to ask 'why" or "why me" I have to recognize that it's part of my journey here on Earth. I've become a stronger woman because of it all. I've also learned to never take one moment for granted.

9. Mention three events that have been the happiest in your life so far:

I've had several happy moments in my life, but the top three would be:

Giving birth and raising my children. They truly are my treasures and I couldn't imagine life without them!

Opening a clothing boutique and following a dream that I never gave up on is also on the top of the list. It's been an adventure and one for the books! I've had the privilege of meeting some of the most amazing people!

Almost a year ago I witnesses my daughter giving birth to her own child. I have never seen something so beautiful and amazing before! And of course Baby Knox is just the cutest baby ever! (Yes, I have become that person who thinks her grandchild is the most beautiful baby! Seriously though he was born with long, dark lashes and a perfect heart shaped mouth. Ok- I'm stopping now...)

10.Have you discovered your mission in life? If so, please share.

I really believe my life's mission is to help others. Whether it be to helping people to look their best and finding a style that works well on them or listening to a problem and helping to find a good solution. I've always had a passion for people, people of all types. I love having friends and have never met a stranger.

11. Provide your top three values in life. Example: honesty, passion, etc.

Live- Live life to fullest, each moment of every day. None of us are promised a tomorrow. Live with no regrets!

Laugh- Laugh loudly and from deep within the heart. Laughter is one of our greatest natural healers. Laugh even when you want to cry. Always remember the strength your inner soul carries.

Love- Love God, thy brother, thy sister, thy neighbor, family, friends, kind people, unkind people, those struggling in life's journey, happy people, unhappy people and this list could go on for days. The gist is to love freely and openly!

12. What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In February of 2016 the Cut Off location of Urban Loft closed its doors due to an economic crisis. I'm hoping to reopen that location as well as one other location. I'm hoping to still be following my dream. I pray that I still believe life is lesson and treasure people with much love. I plan to take one day at a time and live it, like really live it!

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