The Vibe's Journey


There’s a shop on 1st street in downtown Sarasota, that people swear only just
popped up.
“When did you open?” they ask with encouraging smiles, confident of an answer
like, “Earlier this year”, or “Shortly after the pandemic.” It gives the sales people a
noticeable swell of pride when they respond, “We just celebrated our 18th
anniversary; same owner.”
Same owner.
What began as a lifelong passion passed down from her father is now Tatyana
Sharoubim-Stewart’s empire, though it’s an empire founded on authentic
expression, community engagement and, especially, love.
Working in her father’s famed shoe store, Georgiano’s of Raleigh, NC, from the
tender age of 3 set the stage for Tatyana to become the master of style she is
today—a skill you really have to be born wielding, though her rich and varied
background in high fashion gave her an eye that both her clients and
collaborators know is one in a million.
But it’s not just about the looks for Tatyana, or that magical feeling you get from
snagging a great pair of shoes. It’s all about people.
Growing up in fashion from earliest memory, Tatyana spent some of the most
formative summers of her childhood attending private seasonal footwear and
accessory viewings in NYC with her father, visiting with designers like Via Spiga,
Delman, Phyllis Poland, Ralph Lauren and Donald Pliner—at a time when email
and the internet weren’t yet a thing but live shoe models and polaroid cameras
Tatyana once recalled to me the feeling of attending those showings, staged in
someone’s mid-town Manhattan high rise. Walking around the well-appointed
living room. Live models, standing statuesque in couture-quality shoes against
the backdrop of the city seen through a window. And the designers all aglow with
their sample books of leathers and skins, while her father would be snapping

away with his polaroid camera, for that was the only way to make a record of
next season’s coveted shoe order.
Those trips into the city with her father made a unique impression on Tatyana. An
impression that has only refined in the years she has owned T.Georgiano’s.
And it all comes down to the importance of human connection.
This mission, to foster human connections, has been like the flag Tatyana has
waved over T.Georgiano’s since the day she debuted in a shoe box-sized space
in the Rosemary District in 2005, shortly after the untimely passing of her dear
father and the inheritance of a legacy he had built with her in mind. With almost
no formal business training and a bounty of learned wisdom for customer service,
she left her degree track at Rollins College to open a small showroom for luxury
footwear (like a shoe museum, she once called it). She threw a handful of
successful events that first summer, then built a website, coded by a friend and
long before the convenience of Shopify templates. It was clear from the very start
that she had stumbled upon a niche which the women of Sarasota were
desperate to fill. By 2007 she had settled into the space in the 100 Central
Building where her shop still resides.
It’s fitting that Tatyana herself is a surfer, for it’s the metaphor of dodging and
cutting through briny waves that best exemplifies the journey she has taken with
T.Georgiano’s, not only through the recession of 2008, but also the pandemic.
These challenges caused her to recalibrate, rethink, and readjust her branding,
merchandising, and message, much like a surfer who must shift her weight and
stature on the board in order to navigate a gnarly swell.
This keen ability of Tatyana’s to make limoncello out of lemons means
T.Georgiano’s has finally found its stride as, “The right amount of everything,”
offering affordable luxury brands for the woman on the go. Locals who are in-the-
know make their ritual weekly visits, and lucky tourists wander in, as if
discovering some magical treasure box of surprise. Even in the wake of great
change—change that shuttered so many small businesses over the course of the
last 18 years—her big WHY hasn’t changed.

I have argued the point—and with great feeling—that the very reason we are
here on planet Earth is to find one another and to connect.
This same ethos permeates the identity of T.Georgiano’s; it informs the work
Tatyana does in the community; and it has inspired her debut brand, “True Blue
Vibes” which is all about living authentically; living you.
Her deep commitment to being real and true is apparent the moment you step
foot into her shop. Her employees are generous and helpful and seem very much
at their ease. A sure sign that the one at the helm is leading by example. Tatyana
herself would give you the shoes off her own feet. Such is the love she carries for
her clientele, who quickly become like family in the boutique-salon environment
that Tatyana has cultivated, year after year.
I have spent a significant amount of time behind the counter in Tatyana’s shop.
I’m blessed by this on several accounts, but especially because it means I’ve
gotten to spend so much time with this woman. Never have I laughed more in
recent memory than I have sitting on a bench in T.Georgiano’s, or felt more
empowered just to be my fabulous self (with the outfit to match.) And never have
I known a person in business who cares about people first as much as she does.
No wonder the clients adore her, ask for her, peering around corners with hopeful
anticipation that she will suddenly spring to life behind one of her beautiful
displays of merchandise. I’d almost feel sad when I’d have to tell them, “You just
missed her,” for they’d invariably sigh and frown, but stay and shop anyway,
because how can you not?

Essay by: Natalie Woociker