Tarica Phung Navarro
Years at Bangkok Patana: 9
Graduating Class: 1997
University: BA Communication Arts, University of Southern California, 2000; Interior Architecture and Design, University of California at Los Angeles,
Currently: Founder, Kinn Home.
It has been more than 20 years since Tarica left Bangkok Patana School as part of the first graduating class in 1997. Tarica was drawn to art and design, and moved to the US to attend the University of Southern California. Although she knew she wanted her career to be in the area of art, she found it difficult to nail down her focus. This led her to explore different areas such as advertising and photography before finding her niche in Interior Design.
After finishing her university degree, Tarica worked as an interior designer on projects in Los Angeles, Bangkok, New York and Austin (Texas), mostly on high-end residential and hospitality projects. Some of the projects she enjoyed best were those with restaurants where she was completely enamoured by chefs and their creations. Although she was an avid home cook, she realised that her place was not in a professional kitchen. However, still drawn to kitchens, Tarica was looking for ways to make connections between her career and this interest she had developed with kitchens.
In 2015, Tarica and her husband opened Kettle and Brine in Austin, Texas. The retail business offered implements and accessories for kitchens and homes. The carefully curated selection of functional and artistic items impressed many people, even leading to an article in the well-read Austin Chronicle newspaper. The business was founded on four values: Function, design, Earth-friendly materials and the use of minimally processed and non-toxic materials. Some of these values are a reflection of what Tarica said she took away from Bangkok Patana.
“Patana formed the foundation of who I am as a person today, from my love for all things creative (I learned how to shoot and develop photos in Patana’s very first dark room) to my passion for sustainable living through Environmental Studies class. The diverse programming helped me to cultivate a mindset for entrepreneurship where I can pull together my various skill sets and become an effective leader.”
Kettle and Brine is now evolving into a new venture called “Kinn”. With Kinn, Tarica and her husband have developed and are producing their own line of tableware and are moving to serve a larger market by adding online sales.
Tarica spent nine years at Bangkok Patana School. One of her favourite memories of the school is the International Day parade. She said that being part of an international community greatly broadens a person’s perspective and teaches empathy and tolerance for different ways of living and thinking. “Besides, I could never get enough of the Onigiri rice balls [in the Food Hall].” she added.
In ten years’ time, Tarica said that her BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) would be seeing Kinn a leading brand in sustainable living and design.
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