Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamara Diaz.
Tamara, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I went to the MAGIC tradeshow in Vegas to see some of my fashion styling printed as huge posters for some clients I had through photographer Don Sercer of Sercer Studios DTLA. There I met @ispyDIY a blogger set up with a table allowing people to learn how to make a simple bracelet of weaving two chains together. I was always a hands-on type but never considered myself to step into the title of jewelry designer. I studied fashion design and visual arts and felt more like a ‘maker’, I was always creating new things to call my own.
The bracelet led me to buy some better quality materials and play around with making some more of them to make for my friends and Rocker boyfriend at the time. I was able to extend the creativity of that bracelet to repeat the pattern of woven chains and make it an eternal textile resulting in cuffs! From there I knew I had discovered something I had never seen before in all my years absorbing fashion like a sponge and studying at all the top art and fashion schools all over the world. I then subletted my place in Hollywood to some friends and had enough money to get myself some bigger chains and things to test making BAGS! From there I was blessed with the beginning of TAMBONITA. I put an ad on Craigslist “A Call to Artists” and created the artist collective that made this whole thing evolve and grow into an actual LLC. It’s a pretty interesting story. The name TAMBONITA just came to me because my childhood nickname was TAMBO and I wanted to grow into a graceful swan so it turned into TAMBONITA a little twist from the “tan bonita” meaning so beautiful or reminding us to be our higher self. To act with unity and harmony in humanity like the bags are woven and infused with the beautiful handmade energy.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think I’ve been very lucky and it makes me feel good to know that I wasn’t given this on a silver platter, that’s something that I needed in my life to feel satisfaction. All that pain and struggle I went through led me to this and I spent a lot of time digging around trying to figure out what I could do in this world as a creative person. It was over all a ton of work to get here, I never stopped studying/working/creating but you know, it’s still the wobbly unpredictable road of an artist. The bags are a lot of work entirely handmade pieces of art than theirs the part of photographing them, selling them, marketing them, going to trade shows, sourcing materials etc. etc. It’s really tough to be a little guy in this industry because lots of factories won’t work with such low minimums. That’s one of the most frustrating things to me, it really limits the options but I try to see all the options we do have and that there’s a sense of focus in what we do that will make us the experts at what we do because it’s purely repetition and the variety exists in our use of color chain, material, size and the shapes we create with our medium. It’s enough to fluctuate with for now.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Tambonita story. Tell us more about the business.
TAMBONITA is an artist collective making hand woven chain luxury handbags and accessories. We weave for unity & harmony in humanity. Our bags are unique, sustainable and made in America. We also offer our customers to get their bags re-woven fresh in a new color or trim. This is our sustainable concept to keep jobs in America and less waste in our landfills. For example you purchase a TAMBONITA rainbow bag and post some pictures of you wearing your bag at an event on social media, you might want to wear that rainbow bag a few more times but we want to give you the option to send us your bag back and get it re-woven in the next seasons trending color or to match your dress for an upcoming event say Valentine’s Day you want red velvet and St. Patrick’s Day you need it swapped to green. We don’t need you to buy another bag to fill your closet with TAMBONITA’s, your one bag can evolve with your style, the trends and events in your life! This is something we are proud to offer our bag wearers and believe it is a GREAT bag to own for this reason!
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I come from a family in the entertainment world who has allowed me to be the artist I wanted to be. My father is in the music industry and my mother an actress of theatre and film. They allowed me to pursue my dream and study fashion and art, this isn’t something everyone has the chance to do. The support from my parents is what I can call “lucky”.
TAMBONITA has been very lucky this year to get into the top stores nationwide as a new emerging brand. We are carried at INTERMIX online, Revolve.com, Free People etc. You can see more of our stockists on our website. Local to LA we are at IN LAND Venice, Desperate Los Angeles East Hollywood, and Spacedust Art Gallery in Silverlake where Miley Cyrus bought one of our first ever rainbow bags!
Speaking of celebs, Sophia Vergara’s manager bought her a TAMBONITA after seeing somebody wearing one at the Grammys, Rene Russo got a custom TAMBONITA bag from a friend of hers in her favorite “Hermes orange” leather; fingers crossed we catch her wearing it & Penelope Cruz has a TAMBONITA bucket bag. ‘
This has all happened organically without PR, free gifting or any marketing thus far maybe just some connections but I’d say that’s incredibly lucky.
I can’t recall any specific bad luck but I’m selectively superstitious about certain things. I love astrology, read into the energy of the sun, moon and stars and I am always looking at numbers and the messages my angels are giving me. I also pray, so perhaps that could have some impact on my luck. 😉
- Website: www.TAMBONITA.com
- Phone: 310-699-7076
- Email: Rose@tambonita.com
- Instagram: @tambonitadesigns
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TAMBONITAdesigns/