Alumna combines her creativity, knowledge and diversity to start her own business



Photo courtesy of Nate Cleary. Cleary models her leggings.

Alumna Saija Cleary considers herself creative and has always wanted to be her own boss. Cleary graduated from COD in 2012 with an associates degree in business administration and started her own fashion business. Cleary has combined her degree, creativity and diverse experiences to help her create a new unique artistic fashion trend. Her business is called House of Taru.

Cleary always wanted to become her own boss “My vision is bringing wearable art to life! I like to incorporate art and fashion together; not using your typical canvas but instead having art on clothes.  A way to bring beauty on how we express ourselves,” she says.  Starting a creative fashion business was not easy, it was a challenge. After Saija graduated she was trying to find the best way to design the leggings that are bright in color, artistic and culturally diverse. She says her diversity stems from living in many places around the world including Tokyo, Tanzania and Finland.

In years past designers did not have access to the sublimation printing technology the way they do today. The material that she uses is high quality; it’s a soft yet high-end polyester fabric that is stretchy for any female to wear and thanks to the unique printing method the colors will never wash out or fade. Her size scale ranges from “XS” to “XXL” with a retail price starting at $115. The leggings are not just active wear, they can be worn for any occasion.

Cleary hopes her leggings will help a female feel confident in their bodies. By wearing high-quality material that propounds a woman’s body shape, Cleary’s leggings are fierce with a dramatic artistic spark. With the help of her husband Nate Cleary, he is her professional fashion photographer that contributes tremendously in her business.

All the designs, the idea, prototyping, packaging and shipping are all done by Clearly. She is in charge of design development and with the help of JLD studios, legging manufacture located in Portland Or, the team sews her leggings and makes her clothes. JLD studios are separate from her company and they are a group of women who help make fashion entrepreneurs products become a reality. Cleary says her fashion company is starting off on the right path. With great contributors in Oregon and support from her husband who is also her business partner, Saija has great faith that her dream will become bigger than it is now. Having great sales since her start in January 2019, her company is being recognized. She was invited to show her product in Palm Springs Fashion Week that occurred in Aprill 11-13. Cleary will be expanding her product in other fashion events that she’s been invited too.

House of Taru donates 11% of profits to various causes. Cleary says, “a lot of times, each design or series will support something unique. It was something that I had wanted to do when starting my own company, even though I am small right now, I wanted to make sure I did things the right way and be the company I wished to see. My first design “The Queen Bee Print” inspired that. I always wanted to help support the disappearing bees through my art. Once that design was done, I realized I wanted to make that for all my designs. There is a story to be told with each pair.” Saija is passionate and states it’s been a lot of work but worth everything. She is doing what she is meant to do and by donating to various causes its important for her to give back and support others. “I think it’s important to be able to use those skills to still contribute to good. It’s something that I envision for the future, and yes I am a small designer brand now, but I have the potential to make a bigger impact as I grow.”

Her earliest attempts at blending her artistic talent and fashion were published and featured in the book “Customize Your Clothes” in 2012. You can find her story in this book.  It may not have been pursued in earnest until years later, but the idea of wearable art has been seething at the back of her mind since then. As a COD alumna, Cleary has created a special discount for students who are interested in purchasing their own fashion artistic leggings.

For more information visit her website  and search for contact, or email her directly via Follow her through Instagram: houseoftaru for updates of new products released. Her leggings are available now locally in Palm Springs, at La Mar Boutique on 146 N. Palm Canyon Dr.




Leave a Reply