This week, I shared a photo on Facebook of myself and long time friend, Tamara Prosper. Tamara, also a graduate of the University of the West Indies (UWI), is an artist, innovator, business owner, and business adviser who has managed to become one of Grenada’s most accomplished and recognized entrepreneurs.
Tamara is the owner of the award-winning, eco-friendly business Tambran by Tamara and has a passion to see other people grow into what they want to be. Added to her drive to succeed and to be the best she can be, Tamara is a warm, friendly and very positive individual who will encourage you to keep at it until you succeed! She was also kind enough to share her inspiring story on how she became an entrepreneur. She also allowed me to model her pieces for this post! 🙂 Please read below:
1. What is the name and nature of your business and when did it get started?
The name of my business is Tambran by Tamara. Tambran by Tamara is an eco-friendly jewelry and accessories business that specializes in the creation, designing and production of jewelry and accessories made from recycled materials and from the natural indigenous materials found in Grenada. Tambran strives on innovation which allows our products to be one of a kind and luxurious in nature. Tambran produces earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, clutch bags, etc. The materials used are predominantly seeds, plastic bottles, ends of wood, used vinyl banners, etc.
2. What was the inspiration for your business?
As a thrifty and highly creative person from an early age, this business was birthed because of my love for art and craft and business. While at UWI St. Augustine, Trinidad, I noticed with anxious eyes that the university used lots of banners for promotional purposes. It was also noticed that these banners were designed by excellent graphic designers thus their aesthetic appeal was excellent. So, I started using them (banners) to make clutch pursues and shopping bags. Upon the successful nature of these first products and the support of the University, I then started making wooden earrings from the ends of wood at the carpentry shop at the University. Eventually a whole line of various jewelry and accessory products emerged. Wonderful! I love every piece of work that I do!
3. What were your initial goals?
My initial goal was to do what I love. Meaning, do art in the most expressive way I can as well as to combine it with my love for business, which is basically my need to do what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. Hence I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, to do more, and to add value to my life and the life of someone else. I also intended to make quality products that would bring joy to customers. I got the boost from being in such an entrepreneurial country (Trinidad and Tobago) filled with necessary resources.
4. What were some of the challenges you faced in the initial stages?
The challenges I faced included lack of finances as I was a university student. I had a vision of the final product, packaging etc, but I was limited due to lack of finances, so I innovated and used what I had in the best way possible, still maintaining a high standard. Believe me, I would not produce and sell something in a state that I would not buy it.
5. What helped you to overcome and keep going?
I worked part time and studied. I loved this business so much and the independence that it brought that when I got paid I would always buy something towards my business instead of buying clothing or go partying or whatnot. Encouragement I always got from my friends on campus etc. They were always very supportive.
6. What services do you offer?
In addition to my eco-jewelry and accessories, Tambran by Tamara offers the following services:
- Wedding Aisle rental and customization
- Hand Painted Wedding Invitations and other accessories
- Face Painting
- Mural designing
- Business Strategy Advising
7. What would you say is unique about your business?
Hmmm… at Tambran by Tamara, I try to be unconventional, unorthodox in order to have that differentiated nature and to be ahead of my niche. Our products are made from materials which would not ordinarily be used in the way it has been used. For example, customers are always astonished at the Tamarind Seeds Stopper Earrings. They are just in awe since Tamarind seeds are not traditionally made into earrings. Additionally, our designs are never 2 exactly alike, each piece has its own mastery and cannot be duplicated due to its hand painted nature. Customers really appreciate this aspect of our products in addition to the fact that they are doing their part to help in environmental preservation.
8. What were some of your recent projects or activities, if any?
Korea’s Global Entrepreneurship boot camp- June 27th– August 28th
9. What are some of your upcoming events? Where can we look for Tambran by Tamara?
- Real Value Showcase – Spiceland Mall, Grand Anse, St. George – February 6th, 2016
- Independence (Made In Grenada Showcase) – National Stadium – February 7th, 2016
- St. Paul’s Independence Extravaganza – February 8th, 2016
- OAS Showcase
- SGU Family Weekend – January 2016
- Rock Me Promotion – Spiceland Mall – March 5th, 2016
10.What is your vision for your business? Is there any potential for growth? Do you have plans to expand in the near future?
To take it to international markets such as Europe, North America, etc in a very impactful way!
13. What are your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur managing your business on a small island?
- The population size
- The small purchasing power of the people
- Their now growing appreciate for locally made items
14. What important lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur and what advice can you give to persons looking to start their own business on the island?
To believe in yourself and your product. Always seek to develop and make the product better. Once there is passion, money will come.
15. What was one of the most important pieces of advice you have gotten from a fellow entrepreneur or mentor that changed your life?
Money will always come, so take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship. Creating wealth is one of the greatest feelings along with that of financial independence. Additionally, it is said that we must think like employers and not like employees.
Tambran by Tamara Achievements:
- OAS Scholarship Recipient – Kookmin University Global Entrepreneur Boot Camp, Seoul, South Korea- June 27th 2015- August 14th 2015 3rd Place CEO
- Winner of the Eco Challenge Caribbean Award at the Talent and Innovation Challenge of the Americas (Paraguay), Business Accelerator and Entrepreneurship competition- United Nations Development Organization, Young Americas Business Trust, PEPSICO (June 2-3 2014)
- Business Award Recipient (Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce) – Environmental Excellence (December 2013)
- Winner of the UWI/NEDCO Business Plan Competition 2013 (July 2013)
- Finalist at the Talent and Innovation Challenge of the Americas (Antigua Guatemala), Business Accelerator and Entrepreneurship competition- United Nations Development Organization, Young Americas Business Trust, PEPSICO (June 2-3 2013)
- Winner of Best Environmental Entrepreneur Award
Did you enjoy this post and have you purchased any of Tamara’s pieces?
Let me know by commenting below.