Written by: Amadine
Edited by: Jaeho
Graphics by: Summer
RARE, a jewelry label created by Rocio Tambunting, of our very own ISM alumni, is a brand committed to celebrating “confidence, creativity, and individuality.” With a wide plethora of “bold, bright, and eclectic pieces,” clients can “crush the boundaries of their comfort zone,” and explore their style and allure. As a whole, RARE’s aim is for customers to further realize their personality, and become more aesthetically conscious of who they are. The brand donates a part of their revenue to For the Women (FTW) Foundation: a Filipino non-profit with a vision to “create a community of Filipinas in tech that are empowered to break their career barriers.” As a female in the business sector, Rocio is part of the minority in an industry where the majority are men, and she is inspiring females interested in this sector to pursue their aspirations. To gain insight on RARE, I had a conversation with Rocio about topics surrounding femininity, originality, and social entrepreneurship.
A conversation with Rocio…
A: Hi Rocio! So first, let’s start off with a few questions.
First off, what is @ftwfoundation, and what made you choose them as a group you help provide funding for?
R: For the Women Foundation is an organization that funds a two-week scholarship program for deserving women looking to enter the data science field (which is traditionally male-dominated). And even though I’m personally not a very tech-focused person, I strongly identify as a feminist, and being able to support a foundation that warrants women with the opportunity to not only break glass ceilings but also grants them more economic freedom. After FTW’s 2-week scholarship program, women are expected to earn an average of 130% more.
A: Next, what do you want your brand @Rare.by.Rocio to stand for? Would this be your aesthetic or your way of life? How do you define it?
R: I’ve always been a maximalist. As a child, I never left the house without a sparkly accessory and (under the influence of my Bratz dolls) took my passion for fashion incredibly seriously. You see, fashion, to me, is a language of self-awareness, self-expression, and self-love. When someone is in tune with their sense of style, they listen to their soul and fuel the heart inside of them. Some may say I may be romanticizing consumerism, but honestly, there is so much power in conscientiously purchasing and lovingly wearing pieces that speak to your soul—that is what I wanted RARE to be about. I want to wrap people in a feeling, almost as if they had found a piece that distilled their essence in a few beads and charms.
A: Next, with your success in the small business field, which has historically been male-dominated, what motivated you to create your brand?
R: It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment RARE was born because I was always drawn to the idea of starting something of my own, but I can confidently say that moving home during the pandemic augmented the process. Like many during the prolonged Manila lockdowns, I “found my life devoid of inspiration. Every day was monotonous, and I found myself craving a new creative outlet. When I picked up jewelry-making, I immediately became enamored with the process itself—the attention to detail it requires challenged my creative instinct and afforded me a new outlet to express my vision. Like all projects, RARE started out as an idea, a secret. Only when I had my brand’s identity totally fleshed out, I decided to start telling people about it. I find that action, just doing things when you think of it, is the best way to keep yourself motivated when starting your own business.
A: As a female in business, what advice can you give to the female youth when getting into fields that are patriarchal in nature?
R: My most important advice for any woman who wants to start her own small business is this: your dreams are valid. Whatever your ambitions are, no matter how unfeasible they may seem, as long as you put in the work, there is nothing that is out of your reach.
A: Now onto more of RARE’s content. Can you talk a little about how each piece is completely unique and what each piece can represent to someone buying?
R: I touched upon this a little earlier, but each piece is designed to speak to your soul. I want my pieces to find a home in you. Hence, when I started out, each piece was one of a kind. Though I still produce unique pieces for my Instagram drops, I recently came out with a website that features a ready-to-wear line with multiple copies of each piece.
Slowly, the unconscious patriarchal system in the Philippines is making its fall as women continue to defy the culture and cultivate their passions in an act of resilience, but also in an act of liberation. Rocio’s endeavors exemplify this perfectly. But, more than that, she shows the ISM youth that we are all unique individuals capable of pursuing our dreams, despite odds like cultural systems and differences. With our own ambitions, we can carve our own paths to make a difference just like Rocio has. RARE by Rocio is a culmination of Rocio’s passion, personality and experiences—something more than just a brand.
Special Thanks to Rocio! Find RARE’s socials here: