To anneal is to temper, to toughen, and to thrust the ore through the fire. As the warmth slowly dissipates, you are left with a serene material, pliable and strong enough to become anything that you want. That is Meg Danielle Tarrobago’s story at CINTA, previously known as ANNEALED, a thoughtful jewelry brand in the Philippines.
Once upon a summer’s day
It was the summer of 2014 when Meg, CINTA’s founder and jewelry maker, conceptualized the birth of the business.
“It’s a byproduct of fast fashion overload.”
After growing tired of seeing low-quality accessories tarnishing and warping within jewelry boxes and drawers, Meg decided that it’s time to stop the cycle of buying and throwing them away after few wears.
Even buying high-priced quality accessories can be daunting, considering they are usually priced way outside an average buyer’s budget – almost 800% more than the base price of its materials and labor.
“I thought to myself, ‘There must be a better way of accessorizing!’”
That curiosity led her to begin a journey as a metalsmith. She started studying on her own, after which she jumped on an opportunity to study with an independent metalsmith in Singapore.
“It just made sense for me to learn from a maker too, rather than in a formal school with numerous students. It made the learning process more personal and intimate, and I liked it. I am a strong believer that traditional metalsmithing should be preserved. Someday, I wish to pay it forward by teaching the basics to others too.”
Through that in-depth learning, the truth about the conventional mining industry came to light. At present, the industry is mired in unethical and inhumane practices that do harm to both the environment and society.
The injustice being done at a global and domestic level is not something the customers nor the makers want to be part of. That is why Meg vowed to do things differently at CINTA.
The original name, ANNEALED
It took around two years to develop a concept, a name, and a brand until the launch in 2016. Soon after, Meg started collaborating with a set of passionate people who believe in her jewelry.
The previous name, ANNEALED, derived from a traditional metalsmithing process, is much closer to the sequence of human life than one may think. We go through the same process – putting one’s self out there in the heat of daily living, getting caught up in hardships, danger, and misfortune, yet we grow stronger after the fact.
One could say that we are annealed every day. It is a slow process for most of us and some don’t even survive. However, many rise from the ashes and become better people. They adapt to changes faster and they become strong enough to withstand the next challenge that comes their way.
“It is fascinating to know that we, humans, also go through such a heating process in the form of adversities, challenges, and mishaps. As we cool down, those experiences allow us to be reformed and be strengthened in the end. Now, isn’t that beautiful?”
The beauty that is CINTA
CINTA draws inspiration from nature, geometry, and architectural design. Meg does her best to combine the three to produce simple pieces, with a touch of personality.
“I appreciate lines, curves, and all shapes in general. When I need a break from monotony or feel the urge to add a new design, I head out to walk around our neighborhood, spend time at the park. Other times when there is an opportunity, I go out of town with my husband and our toddler. Pleasantly, I usually come home with something in mind. I believe that nature really has this certain force or energy which helps me in my creative process. And for that, I am grateful,” says Meg.
CINTA offers a chance for men and women to invest in jewelry that is stylish and sustainable. It is jewelry that surpasses time and allows people from all walks of life to get a chance to accessorize without having to worry about buying a new one to compensate for the changing trends of opulent accessories and degrading the quality of low-end pieces.
Clients mostly want local, handmade products. The same people who are tired of fast fashion and those who like to keep their accessories minimal, yet tasteful. Most of all, they appreciate simple and season-less style.
“For now, most customers like our pieces for its simple aesthetic. Hopefully people will get to appreciate its deeper purpose and the message we wish to get across. Because it isn’t just your ordinary jewelry; it’s so much more than that.”
The beauty in CINTA goes beyond the look. When you buy from CINTA, you are acquiring a piece of jewelry made from reclaimed, recycled, and ethically mined metals. CINTA /ˈsin-ta/ means love.
How to make the business solid, beautiful, and honest
CINTA is a business driven by the purpose of positive change. Unlike most commercial jewelers, CINTA emphasizes the need for ethical metal sourcing, minimizing carbon footprint, and promoting artisanal practices that are borne from the heart. At CINTA, each piece is made from metal mined from companies that are mindful of the surrounding ecosystems.
The jewelry package is reusable, recyclable, and biodegradable. Whenever possible, CINTA uses bike couriers to deliver the merchandise to the buyers to reduce the carbon footprint.
It doesn’t end there. A generous percentage of CINTA’s net profit is donated to different charities. Since their launch in 2016, the brand has donated to the non-profit organizations such as Rainforest Trust and Fashion Revolution International.
The reality of business is not always kind to the good intention. Finding the right metal supplier may have been Meg’s most difficult task. She also faced a few challenges working alone, as she produces all of CINTA’s jewelry herself.
“Good thing my husband is there in times when I need suggestions or a listening ear. I’m also very thankful for those whom I collaborate with.”
Meg wanted to quit a couple of times. She doesn’t hide the struggles she’s been through so that she can inspire other entrepreneurs to be honest and aware of the challenges they might face from building a business from the ground up.
“Of course, having the discernment as to when to pack your bags and move on to the next is also important. During those moments of downs, I just keep reminding myself of the message I want to get across with CINTA. It is so important to me that is why I keep on fighting for my vision.”