Brand Ambassador: Tabu Warupi, Tabu Designs
Kina Bank’s brand campaign features three local small-medium enterprises which have partnered with us to help grow their business. As a local bank our brand, inspired by the iconic bilum weave, is a strong reflection of the two-way partnership between Kina Bank and our customers, converging in our common purpose of prosperity.
This article is a feature of our third brand ambassador, textile and fashion designer, Tabu Warupi. She is the owner and creative mind behind the PNG fashion label, Tabu. Tabu’s custom, statement designs are inspired by her Motuan culture, specifically the fishing village of Boera, and Papua New Guinea’s rich natural diversity. The Tabu fashion label story tells of village life and advocates conservation through the garments she designs.
Growing up I always loved to draw and paint. I enjoyed making things, which included making little dresses for my dolls. Throughout high school, I continued with the arts as a selective subject. I enrolled at the University of Papua New Guinea’s faculty of creative arts diploma program after high school but withdrew from studies after my second year of the four-year program. I didn’t think a four-year diploma program was worthwhile compared to a bachelor degree program. Life happened, fast forward, I now have five kids. I didn’t really pursue anything in the arts during the time I started my family.
It was only in 2015 when I really started textile and fashion design work that is now the Tabu brand. An aunty who knew of my passion for textile and fashion design reached out to see if I’d be interested to design for a Miss PNG Pacific Islands Pageant entrant, who won the crown. Since then my fashion label increased in popularity through my family and friends’ word of mouth. With business, having the money to source quality fabrics overseas has been a real challenge, but I’ve learnt to make do with the resources I have locally. Affordable pricing of garments is an unlikely challenge I face due to the costs of fabrics and hired labour. For me, I like to make sure that the average Papua New Guinean can afford my garments.
As a young fashion label, I was keen to partner with Kina Bank to grow together. Especially the exposure for the Tabu brand and fashion label to realise the strong growth that I envision. I formally registered my business in 2018, my sister introduced me to Kina Bank, sorted out the paperwork and helped me open up my first business account with the bank. Kina Bank is fresh, new – more banking options, and I’m excited to have their support to help me achieve my business goals.