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Creativity Through Craftsmanship

May/07/2023 / by Pratika Yashaswi

Jewelry designer Paulomi Debnath combines original thinking with sustainable design

Jewelry designer Paulomi Debnath

Paulomi Debnath is a globetrotting jewelry enthusiast and designer with an eye for color. She has vast experience in hospitality and working as part of an international event management company.

Debnath has traveled the world and seen firsthand how vibrant nature can be and how rich and varied the world’s art is. This inspired her to launch Handmade by Tinni in 2020. It is a modern textile design brand using locally-sourced biodegradable and sustainable organic cotton materials.

Her designs reflect exotic places she has visited, and echo her soul’s call expressing itself through art. Her efforts have paid off. Debnath was named one of the UK’s Top 100 female entrepreneurs in 2022 in the f: Entrepreneur ‘#ialso100’ campaign.

Her signature is her use of traditional rope knotting crafts and processes reflecting a bold personal style with statement jewelry without any guilt or waste afterwards.

The pieces are handmade to order. They use organic cotton because Debnath is committed to sustainability. Her brand has even partnered with Ecologi for over 21 months. That resulted in the planting of 217 trees in Africa, and reducing 14 certified tonnes of carbon dioxide.

SEEMA sat down with Debnath (called Tinni by her family) to learn more about her experiences and her passion for jewelry.

You have a background in luxury travel. How did you get from there to jewelry design?

I was born in the mesmerizing city of Kolkata, India. I studied sales and marketing and started my career in hotel sales in India. In 2004 I met the love of my life, and we got married two years later. Soon after, I joined my husband in London to start a new chapter of our lives together.

Fast forward 16 years, I now hold a senior position in hotel procurement at my day job. I have worked with hospitality market leaders like Hilton, Starwood, Radisson, Corinthia, Thistle and Guoman.

Amidst all this, there was something more I wanted to do to fuel the creator in me. I wanted to find a way to bring together my passions for colors and jewelry. I wanted to create something that speaks to both my creative eye and fashion sense. Handmade By Tinni was born in one of the most challenging times that our generation has seen, back in 2020. This was also the year I turned 40.

It has been a challenge being a senior buyer at an internationally renowned strategic meeting management company, a wife, and a mother of a 12-year-old boy (who always keeps me on my toes). You need to juggle a busy work and social life with loads of multitasking.

However, when it came to my passion, I didn’t want to resign to a life of missed callings and dreams. I knew I could lead the way for other budding female entrepreneurs and make them believe that it is possible to hold a demanding job, have a fulfilling family and social life, and still have the courage to live their dream.

Why jewelry design? What about the craft and profession draws you to it?

I have always been passionate about handcrafted unique jewelry. Being an Indian, I have been spoiled for choice and inspiration. I am very drawn to the art of repetition. I love the amazing world of knots, the comfort of repetition it involves, and the oozy happiness when you create something with it, especially jewelry.

Mixing and matching different knots excites me, some of which I learned when trekking in the Himalayas. I can identify with modern knotting that has come down from traditional sailors’ knots or mountaineering knots. We add a contemporary touch to them now.

I learned many knots over time. I spent a considerable time sourcing the perfect organic variety and the right cotton with lots of color choices (28 and counting). Thus began my rope-knotting journey.

Today, my designs have an inherent chaos, and the repetition of patterns balances it. I am an impulsive designer who carries her sketchbook and drawing pen everywhere. Nature, bright colors, and patterns are my biggest inspiration. Most of my designs combine them together to create something unique.

Tell us about your commitment to the environment and your tenet of zero-waste design.

One of the best things we can reduce our impact on the environment is to reduce waste. My zero-waste collection showcases unique items made from leftover rope from other designs. By using every scrap of material, it is possible to transform every offcut into a treasure.

As a small business, I ensure I’m eco-conscious in every decision. My vision was to create statement jewelry and personalized art for the home that brings joy. I have been blessed with love and appreciation from customers and press alike.

Do you have any advice for women who might want to go the solopreneur way?

Here are some key lessons I’ve learned:

  1. Invest in intuitive digital and social media strategy. Have an online presence and make it memorable.
  2. Adapt sustainability into your business values and ethos. It is an important business trend that is here to stay. Not only does your customer value your ethical brand values, it also means more than a business to the founder.
  3. Be part of a community with like-minded business owners and be open to training, mentorship, community support, and collaboration. This helps with our knowledge and growth.
  4. Never stop pivoting and learning. We are in a forever-changing economy where nothing is permanent. Being small enables us to be nimble and fast-changing, giving us a huge advantage over larger organizations.
  5. Lastly, every failure is a stepping stone to bigger successes. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race.

Anything new you’re working on now?

I am working on three new designs for the upcoming festive period. One of them will be a twist to my all-time bestseller, the “Love Necklace.” This is made of gold, glamour and glitter.

Next are a new pair of earrings inspired by the roses in my garden. Smaller and lightweight, these will be perfect for day and night wear.

Finally, I am also working on a statement hair accessory aligned to the festival season.

I am getting these pieces ready for the new product photoshoot. Then I will launch them on my website, followed by my UK and US stockists.

Click here to visit her site.