We had an opportunity to send Talia’s jewelry to a world class celebrity through a mutual friend. The schedules were very tight because we had to prepare everything for her trip. At the time, we still did not have printed marketing materials, but it was clear to us that we were not missing this opportunity. We went into a scramble of work, we worked around the clock, and within a few days, at the last minute everything was ready, and the package arrived at the destination in time. When we first identified the opportunity, we said yes, then we broke our heads on how to do it.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jewelry Designer + Goldsmith, Entrepreneur and Mother of two — Tal Man. Tal graduated from Shenkar — one of the world’s leading colleges of Engineering, Design & Art. After many years in the entertainment industry, including a successful modeling career, followed by a stint in television + radio hosting Tal decided to move forward to her real passion: Jewelry Design. Tal began her design career, working on collections that were works of one-of-a-kind that draw motifs from nature and stillness surrounding us. While working from her studio, Tal discovered that her clientele was very interested in the jewelry creation process and have often asked to add their personal style to the process. Thus the creation of TALIA Jewelry. In her own words TALIA was born out of a need to cater to the wishes of today’s confident, successful woman, a woman who wants her jewelry to be both unique and versatile, precious yet affordable, classic yet contemporary, easy to wear and, perhaps most importantly, easy to vary. This woman who enjoys freely composing and changing her style provides the inspiration for Tal. The jewelry industry, traditional and conservative, is the last to embrace the trend of personalization and hence the idea behind TALIA — the ability to give the customer the opportunity to make its mark and taste. With the creation of TALIA, the brand set out on a journey to build the first collections of jewelry, registering patents, and developing what came to be the first real customizable jewelry system to date.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started my career as a successful TV hostess and model, however my dearest grandmother was persistent on the idea of myself getting my diploma. Out of major love and respect for her, I decided to attend Shenkar an art, design and technology college. This is where I fell in love with jewelry design and to this day it is my biggest professional passion.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I was very surprised by the compliments we received from industry professionals and the way they described Talia as a groundbreaking concept.
I remember one specific case of a leading jewelry designer in one of the world’s largest fashion houses offered us insight and fresh ways of thinking about our products, although we are supposed to be in competition.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
At the beginning of my career as a designer, I created jewelry that were considered one-of-a-kind.
I was surprised to discover that one of my colleagues whom I considered a close friend was copying my designs. I was blind sighted by this. Although Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I could not bring myself to forget the horrible feeling of someone stealing my art.
Nonetheless, lesson learned and when we founded Talia — one of the first things we did was register patents and designs patents, to ensure exclusivity of the concept and design.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Talia is all about personalization. Our concept collections allow the customer to Co-Design their unique one of a kind piece. I’m amazed by the creativity of our customers and the designs they create. It is so exciting to have this feedback from our customers and their partnership in the creation processes.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are currently in the process of finalizing the first three bracelets collections. The bracelets, just like our pendants will be modular, will allow changeability and will allow self-expression through the jewelry.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Listen to your gut feeling. This is a gift, we as women have. Our best decisions, in my experience, are a combination of “scientific” or “research” confirmation of our early feelings.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Encouraging creativity and initiatives is the way breakthroughs are created.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Talia was founded by myself and by Ronen Berka — my life partner and the father of my daughters. While this company is our “brain-child, we’ve been able to balance the challenges of being a couple and working together.
Eventually, Alon Arabov who was the founder of Diamonds Direct, which was recently acquired joined our team. My partners all complement each other, and I feel fortunate the division of responsibilities and tasks between us is what drives Talia forward. We have learned a lot about joint management and division of labor in the most productive way.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Empowering women is one of Talia’s main missions. We donate a fixed percentage of our income to organizations that support women empowerment and also fund design scholarships that have an emphasis on women.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- With every “no” you grow
Find creative ways — if someone closed a door on you — knock on the window! When someone tells me no, I just do not hear it — I continue with more motivation Do not despair of negative answers — the positive answer will eventually come.
At the beginning of Talia, we heard a lot of “no’s” but when the first “yes” arrives, things start to roll. When we met our partner Alon, it flowed in harmony and speed.
2. Do not develop feelings of guilt about your children
You can combine parenting and career. I have two daughters whom I love with all my heart and are my world. My work requires me to travel a lot, to work at irregular hours and not to be at home much. Over the years I learned that quantity is less important than quality. I take advantage of every minute that I am at home to be with my daughters, to play with them to laugh with them and share them in my life and in my career.
When my daughter says to me, “Mom, I’m proud of you, are you fulfilling your dream” I realize how true it is. When parents are happy with their careers, their children are inspired.
3. First say yes — then figure out how to do it
We had an opportunity to send Talia’s jewelry to a world class celebrity through a mutual friend. The schedules were very tight because we had to prepare everything for her trip. At the time, we still did not have printed marketing materials, but it was clear to us that we were not missing this opportunity. We went into a scramble of work, we worked around the clock, and within a few days, at the last minute everything was ready, and the package arrived at the destination in time.
When we first identified the opportunity, we said yes, then we broke our heads on how to do it.
4. Pursuing our dreams
Neutralize the fears of the “unpleasant” or what someone will say … If you do not try you will never succeed. If the dream is too far away, set a sequence of mini-goals — real and possible goals on the way to the ultimate goal.
We wanted to meet with a world-renowned expert in the field of DTC. Someone who is really impossible to get to a meeting with him via mail or without personal connections. We saw that there was going to be a conference where he was lecturing, Ronen got on a flight, came to the conference and waited for the right moment after the lecture and managed to present Talia to him. We knew we were taking a gamble with this trip, but we decided that even if nothing came of it, the very fact that we tried, and we know we did the maximum gives us the satisfaction.
5. Ask a lot of questions
Do not be embarrassed to say, “I do not know” and learn from the answers.
At the beginning of Talia’s journey, I felt insecure about everything related to the business side of the company luckily Ronen, with a lot of patience, helped me bridge the insecurity and taught me what I lacked.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
To put more women in the workforce to develop and empower them. In Talia, we devote a fixed percentage of our income which is being donated to organizations focusing on empowerment of women.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Stay hungry. stay foolish”. Push yourself. Take risks and keep trying to do what others say can’t be done” — Steve jobs
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Unequivocally Oprah Winfrey. She is the greatest inspiration for me. A self-made, powerful woman, who despite obstacles and difficulties managed to get as far as possible.