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This Local Brand Crafts Sustainable Handmade Jewelry for Every Filipina

Namì gives you your own story to tell through their one-of-a-kind timeless jewelry.

by Jam Nitura | Mar 12, 2019

"Filipino craftsmanship is the foundation of our vision. We take pride that each piece is handmade by Filipino artisans."

It seems best friends Cath Sobrevega and Ina Tirthdas have been attached at the hip since childhood. It shows in the comfort and ease in which they move within each other's spaces while getting their photos taken, one perfectly balancing out the other, all the while carrying the fine accessories adorning their person with unbothered sophistication. Perhaps it's this quiet confidence and unbolstered comradery between the two that perfectly define and set the tone for NAMÌ, the jewelry brand that they co-own.

Established in 2016, Namì is the result of Cath and Ina's long search for everyday jewelry, whose designs could pique their fancy; they should also be unique and affordable at the same time. Coming up empty-handed, the two decided to take matters into their own hands. Thus came Namì, a brand that takes pride in its covetable high quality jewelry, handcrafted by Filipino artisans. Most importantly, local craftsmen of whom they've grown to trust and formed a deep connection with over the years. Namì's pieces, fit for the everyday, provide for both an understated elegance, and an eye-catching statement that every Filipina can attain and identify with. "Namì is simple and straightforward—founded on the principles of timeless jewelry," Cath tells Preview. "We want the brand to feel familiar [so] anyone can find something they can relate to—and wear, of course."

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ON CATH: Chocolate turtleneck, P7685, JOSEPH, SM Aura. Trousers, P7985, IN GOOD COMPANY, SM Makati. ON INA: Blazer, H&M, SM Mega Fashion Hall. All jewelry from NAMInami.ph

Learn more about the jewelry brand that's slowly but surely making its way to every Filipina's vanity box as Ina and Cath tell us about Namì, its roots, advocacies, and what we can expect from them in the future.

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What is Nami? How did it all start for you?

I: "NAMÌ is a jewelry brand that we launched in December 2016. We have always loved how pieces could tell stories without words. The brand draws inspiration from the familiar, some by our personal jewelry—pieces that mark certain memories. It’s the same with most of the women in our lives, their jewelry tells a story. We want to make that accessible."

C: "The process of building NAMÌ was very organic. It started as an idea of wanting to build a jewelry line in early 2016. This is because we both love jewelry and we're searching for something that we can wear ourselves—but we noticed that there was nothing in the market that a) we were drawn to in terms of design; and b) we could afford. We wanted high quality everyday jewelry, something that felt special and unique."

I: "We just jumped in—did everything ourselves, sourcing, shipping, etc. The hardest part was finding the perfect jewelry maker for the brand, but once we found one, everything rolled out pretty easily. Fate, and a little bit of luck, we think."

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"An excerpt from our brand bio:

"Nice.

"It is the word we use to fill in sentences, break an awkward silence, react to a clever jab. But it is also the word we use when we wear jewelry that fits us, when we feel good about a piece of gold or silver that contrasts our basic white T-shirt. 'Nice' is when we get more bang for our hard-earned buck. Nice is namì in Ilonggo. NAMÌ is us."

What is your brand's overall aesthetic? What kind of Filipina are you dressing?

C: "Namì is simple and straightforward—founded on the principles of timeless jewelry. We want the brand to feel familiar so that anyone can find something they can relate to—and wear, of course."

I: "The Filipina—the Nami Filipina appreciates tradition yet is not afraid to try new things. She is independent and very confident but she does not have to be at the center of attention. She is comfortable with being herself and is very proud of her roots."

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C: "She's drawn to classic pieces, but also doesn't mind making a statement once in a while."

I: "The Nami girl loves life and appreciates the little details. She believes in quality and lives accordingly."

C: "Also, we are not limiting Namì to women; Namì is for everyone who believes in the same values as the brand."


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Does your brand have any advocacies? What makes your brand proudly Filipino?

C: "Filipino craftsmanship is the foundation of our vision. We take pride that each piece is handmade by Filipino artisans, ensuring that we remain ethical in our work, and we source our silver and gold from the Philippines. Our jewelry will last a lifetime, thus making it environmentally sustainable, too."

I: "We're so happy that more people have embraced the idea of 'slow fashion.' Having the pleasure to create something beautiful with responsibility and with awareness makes us feel so good."

Why do you think it's important to cultivate a local brand?

C: "So many reasons! I don't even know where to start. Well, first and most obvious would be because it helps our economy thrive. And how it encourages local businesses and creates jobs, reduces environmental impact (all these are super important and also people SHOULD know this already) etc., but I'd like to point out—the community."

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I: "Yeah, that's true. It's important for us to point out that when you cultivate a local brand, you help cultivate the community. I think it's wonderful that consumers recognize that now. Take for example, stores like Tropa (also a Nami stockist)—the brands we are with there are all local brands with amazing products. And we love that it's really a community—one that believes in the same values. We help each other out, we share ideas, and cross market our products."

C: "And it's great not just for us but for the consumers, too. Because they get to know us more—our process, our beliefs. We get to talk to them, hear their feedback, give them better products and better customer service."

As a brand that’s been up since 2016, what initial impressions did you have about having an online business and what has changed now?

C: "To be honest, I really had no expectations building this brand. We just really wanted to build Namì because we love jewelry so much and there were a lot of pieces that we wanted to create and wear. I also thought having an online business was easy—NO. It was a bit bumpy and tiring at the beginning but now that we have developed a system in the company, we've built better processes and so far, so good. Also before, it was just the both of us, so after our day jobs, we would stay up late and do all the packing. Now, we hired a studio assistant, Connie, to help us run Namì smoothly and we are very thankful for her."

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How would you describe today's Filipina in terms of fashion?

I: "I like where the fashion is going. I’m really happy that Filipinos now understand what it means to support local—we have become more aware and conscious about where our stuff comes from, how they're made, what they stand for."

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C: "We just simply care more and it's wonderful."

What do you envision for your brand in the coming years?

C: "Two years ago, we were asked what’s next for Namì and we said—men’s jewelry and NAMÌ fine (solid gold pieces). We made both happen and we couldn’t be happier. We want to keep that going—want to have more collaborations with different artists, and we also eventually want to do engagements/wedding. So many dreams—we'll keep you posted, guys."

Please tell us something about yourself. Apart from growing your online business, what else do you do during your spare time?"

I: "Cath and I love conceptualizing so we spend a lot of time thinking about what we're doing next!"

C: "I’m a fashion stylist and I have been since 2010. Recently, I've been doing flower arrangements for friends, too—it's my form of therapy."

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I: "I work as a project manager for Canva here in the Manila office. In my spare time, I work on Namì of course, and we try to visit the production studio as much as we can. I also consult for some brands for branding and PR. When I'm not working, I'm sleeping or at the beach."

Produced and Styled by Yanna Lopez

Co-produced by Jam Nitura

Art Direction by Mark Buenaobra

Photography by Tarish Zamora

Hair by Jan Edrosolan 

Makeup by Patrick Alcober

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