Please give us your elevator pitch:
Tanora, meaning ‘Youth’ in Malagasy, is an Australian brand of refined, beach-inspired, raffia accessories.
We celebrate Malagasy artistry and Australian way of life with a modern aesthetic and sustainable conscience through our collection of bags, accessories and homewares.
What problem is your business solving?
– Keeping handicraft alive : All of Tanora’s products are handcrafted from scratch in our own workshop in Madagascar, purposefully committed to keeping all aspects of production onshore, not only remaining loyal to our motherland but with respect to customs and laws.
The weaving and crocheting of raffia is part of the traditional Madagascan handicraft culture. These ancestral techniques utilising traditional looms have become increasingly rare in the face of globalisation, becoming cheaper to outsource and mass-produce products through modern machinery. An integral part of our mission is to maintain the human side and artistry of a craft native to our country.
– Deforestation : Since 2020, Tanora has also committed to plant ten trees in Madagascar for every item sold through the Eden Reforestation Project. Raffia is currently one of the fashion industry’s most sustainable, natural and durable materials. We insist the farmers we work with prune (and do not cut) the raffia palm trees, with fronds a minimum of 1.2 metres in length. This ensures harvesting is non-disruptive and that the health of the palm is preserved to produce future crops.
– Consciously made products with nothing to hide : We are natives of Madagascar, we are our own supplier. This specific point is our biggest asset allowing us to consistently create jobs and give back to the community. Tanora commits to an on-going effort to make sure that employees in our workshop in Madagascar are well-respected, fairly paid and over the age of 18. We actively encourage Fair-trade work conditions in an effort to help the people of Madagascar find their own financial independence.
– Educating customers : The past few years, raw fibres and natural aesthetic have gained a lot of attention. Unfortunately misleading information can damage what could be a positive turning point in fashion industry. Raffia is the fibre of raffia palm tree. It is not straw, not a sea grass and certainly not Paper. Majority thinks raffia is the vibe, the look of it.
Tell us three unique things about your business:
– Full management of the entire supply chain :
Tanora is one of the few, if not the only, Australian brand offering raffia accessories that manage the entire supply chain from designing, sourcing the raw materials, crafting, transportation and sales, every step taken seriously and controlled by ourselves.
– The bobbin lace technique :
During French colonisation, the technique of bobbin lace was brought to Madagascar. Local labor cost being way cheaper than in France. Today there are very few women left fully trained and the knowledge is getting lost. We used that precious technique with raffia fibre and the result is definitely unique.
– It is a family business :
Our designs are handcrafted in our family workshop. Aunts and mothers are helped by 24 artisans to develop our collections.
What can attendees expect to see from you at TCS?
Raffia in all its glory! 😀 😀
– Our Laced capsule collection of refined clutches and belt bags.
– Curated pieces of our homeware range including cushions, placemats, planters and one exclusive rug.
– Our cargo net signature stitch used for Bavata tote and Kitapo backpack.
Can you tell us a little about your background and where the inspiration came from for your business?
In Madagascar, issues like access to clean water, to a minimum level of eduction or health care still need to be deal with. The majority do not have electricity, do not own a car, live from their land and have absolutely nothing to waste. Most everything they own they made ; everything they own they need and use everyday until it can’t be fixed anymore or repurposed. Now that sounds next level sustainability haha! But it took us our first trip to amazing Australia to realise that!
We were both born from a mixed union. William’s dad was Italian and his mom is Malagasy. My dad is French and my mom is Malagasy. So we grew up in both sides of the story. Also our mothers work in handicraft and we were always surrounded by artisans.
The label’s vision emerged during a road trip down Victoria’s Great Ocean Road in 2014 where we reimagined the handicrafts of our family raffia workshops in products suited to the beach-loving, eco-conscious Australian customer ; providing sustainable jobs in Madagascar and sustainable products in Australia. A mixed union to make it better for both sides of the story.