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Inside Tal Man’s Jewelry Brand, Founded by the Former Model

Inside Tal Man's Jewelry Brand, Founded by the Former Model

The jewelry industry, particularly the manufacturing sector, has been criticized for its lack of innovation, according to Forbes contributor Andrea Hill. She suggests that a stronger focus on design could bring differentiation to a market that often appears uniform, which consumers are willing to pay for.

Despite the perceived lack of industry innovation, McKinsey & Company predicts a bright future for the jewelry industry. Annual global sales, estimated at €148 billion, are expected to grow by 5 to 6 percent each year, reaching €250 billion by 2020. Consumer demand for jewelry is on the rise, making it an attractive market.

Within this optimistic industry outlook, there are pockets of innovation, and one such entrepreneur leading the way is Tal Man. Tal Man, a former TV hostess and model, transitioned into a jewelry designer, co-founding TALIA Jewelry, a luxury jewelry company that offers uniqueness and versatility to women through a customizable jewelry system inspired by Lego blocks.

Company: TALIA Jewelry

Founder(s): Tal Man, Ronen Berka

Location: Pine Brook, NJ

Industry: Jewelry

Year of Establishment: 2016

Startup Costs: $10,000

No. of Employees: 6 – 10

YFS Magazine:

How did you launch your career as a jewelry designer?

Tal Man:

I had a successful career as a TV hostess and model, but my grandmother was determined that I should get a degree. In respect to her wishes, I enrolled at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design, and Art in Israel. It was there that I fell in love with jewelry design, which eventually became my primary passion.

In 2007, I opened my own jewelry design studio, creating unique jewelry pieces. When I met with customers, I noticed their desire to be part of the creative process.

Fast forward to 2016, with the help of my life partner Ronen Berka and our partner and investor Alon Arabrov, we developed a new concept that allowed customers to create personalized jewelry.

YFS Magazine:

What inspired you to create TALIA Jewelry?

Tal Man: TALIA was born out of the need to fulfill the desires of contemporary, confident women who want their jewelry to be both unique and versatile. They seek jewelry that’s precious yet affordable, classic yet contemporary, easy to wear, and, above all, adaptable. I believe that style is a form of individual expression and self-celebration for women.

YFS Magazine:

What is the design influence behind the TALIA collection?

Tal Man:

The inspiration for our collection came from Lego blocks and their modular nature. Designers understand the significance of geometry in creating a great end product. The Lego concept’s modularity allows for experimentation, exploration, and permutation to achieve the best design. This concept guided the creation of TALIA Jewelry’s customizable system.

Lego, typically viewed as a children’s toy, serves as a tool for overcoming design challenges and offers an unconventional aesthetic. The use of Lego principles has been significant in our design process.

YFS Magazine:

How does TALIA Jewelry’s approach to jewelry design differ from others in the industry?

Tal Man:

TALIA’s design concept stems from the universal human need for renewal. No matter what we buy, be it clothing, cars, or anything else, the initial thrill of something new eventually fades as we get used to it. TALIA’s patented design concept enables customers to co-create personalized jewelry pieces. Each TALIA Jewelry piece features an original, patented mechanism, allowing customers to easily change, rearrange, and expand their designs. We launched three collections of pendants with over 300 charms, which can be assembled in various ways.

What sets TALIA apart is our commitment to ongoing collaborative design. Once a customer has their desired set, they can continually transform their aesthetic by adding new charms and creating various styles without complexity. By occasionally adding a charm, the number of jewelry designs one can create grows exponentially.

YFS Magazine:

How did you meet your co-founder?

Tal Man: My co-founder, Ronen Berka, and I are a couple with two daughters. TALIA is like our third child, our brainchild. We met our partner and investor, Alon Arabrov, during our seed funding round, and we immediately connected.

YFS Magazine:

What are your day-to-day roles within the company?

Tal Man:

I handle jewelry design and the company’s creative direction, while Ronen manages the business side and the day-to-day operations to keep the company running. We complement each other as partners, with a division of responsibilities and tasks that drive TALIA forward. We’ve learned a lot about shared management and effective division of labor.

YFS Magazine:

What design challenges did you encounter during the development process?

Tal Man:

Every day presents its challenges, but our most significant challenge was creating something entirely new that met the desires of potential customers. We aimed to design a jewelry mechanism that would allow modularity without requiring tools, prior knowledge, or magnets. We created and patented a central rod, the heart of our jewelry, to support personalization through the addition of charms. The challenge was to build a mechanism that could be used in all our collections, both current and future.

YFS Magazine:

What has been your biggest startup challenge to date?

Tal Man: Building a team has been the most challenging. It’s essential to distinguish between hiring people who can do the job and building a strong team for the brand. While the former ensures that tasks are completed, the latter approach enables you to build and launch a successful brand. Every member of the TALIA team is a crucial element in our overall success, not just a cog in the machine. There is no room for error when building a team.

YFS Magazine:

What is your approach to growing the TALIA brand?

Tal Man: TALIA was established as a direct-to-consumer, digital-first brand. We invest heavily in building a community around TALIA. We are constantly learning, which reflects in product changes and improvements in our digital channels. Successful brand building involves many facets. From the beginning, we decided that we wanted to be a catalyst for change in both our industry and society.

For instance, we are collaborating with an organization called Girls Inc., a U.S.-based nonprofit that empowers girls to be “Strong, Smart, and Bold.” Our partnership reflects our commitment to giving back to society through the empowerment of women, and it plays a significant role in growing the brand. Our customers will see that our brand is more than just selling jewelry.

YFS Magazine:

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Tal Man: Chase your dreams and don’t let fear or the opinions of others hold you back. If your dream seems far away, set a sequence of achievable, mini-goals that lead you to your ultimate objective.

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