By Laurel Mintz INC.com.
From finance to fine jewelry, TARA is changing the bling game by making it buildable.
TARA’s founder, Annette Lasala Spillane, is a Filipina entrepreneur who was determined to share the unique design perspective of the Philippines with the world.
Having come from a long career in finance, she set out to prove that women can create the world they want to live in. I sat down with her to hear her inspiring story.
LM: Let’s start with a snapshot of you and the company.
ALS: I am Annette Lasala Spillane and I founded and run the day-to-day operations of TARA.TARA stands for The Artisan Row Accessories, and we create buildable fine jewelry, with the intention of creating fine jewelry essentials that are modular, interchangeable, and can build on each other.
The company was founded in 2016 on the back of a partnership with a non-profit microfinance company in the Philippines called TSKI. We currently sell our products online and through independently hosted pop-ups and trunk shows.
LM: Tell me about your origin story. How did you come to start this company?
ALS: Believe it or not, my origin story begins in an accounting firm (Ernst & Young) in Manila, Philippines. In 2004, I moved to the US with the firm and built a career there.
In 2014, after having taken a year off from work, I realized I couldn’t go back to a career in finance. I wanted to be out in the world, creating work that was meaningful to me. I wanted to do something which involved highlighting the excellent design and craftsmanship from the Philippines. Specifically, I was always impressed with the artisanal home and fashion accessories made in the Philippines.
I had a real desire to show off , eeverything I love from there. Around that time, I began conversations with the non-profit microfinance company that loaned money to the most entrepreneurial artisans living in poverty. After a few conversations, it clicked, I want to co-develop product with their producers and get their work in front of a global audience.