To keep the celebrations going for International Women's Day we spent some time with some women who inspire us.
First up is, Taira Barron Cran owner + designer for Salty Western. She grew up on the North Shore of Oahu and surfed before she could walk. Everyday revolved around the ocean, though her love for horses and the country life grew just as strong.
We hungout with her on a warm January morning at the Waialua Sugar Mill at her studio, where all the magic happens. She gracefully walked us and photographer, Alana Spencer, through her craft, shared her story of starting the business, talked about her dive into real estate, and how her ties to us go way back to childhood days with the Spencers. Her space is complete with all her essential tools for design, newly created items and old prototypes, an industrial sewing machine, coffee & some treasures from the sand.
The wall above her desk is draped with vision with a variety of prints, quotes, old cards of encouragement & dried lei. It’s the kind of space that makes you notice every detail, knowing that they all lead to a glimpse of who she is. You can sense there is a piece of her heart draped in every stack of leather & woven into each paper posted up on the wall. It is a reflection of where she is and where she’s headed.
Travel with us to the Sugar Mill and read through our interview with Taira Barron Cran, an inspiring female designer and the owner of Salty Western.
Introduce yourself! Where do you live and what is your craft / profession?
I am Taira Barron Cran born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu. I currently reside there and go back and forth to the Big Island. I am a leather craftswomen and full time real estate agent. I worked with leather for over about 10 years now although didn't actually launch my business until very later.
When did you decide you wanted to be a designer - what led you to that profession & passion?
I have always been creative from sewing, painting, drawing etc... since I was a little girl. I got into horses in high school and then eventually moved to a 30,000 acre cattle ranch when I was about 22 and this is where I picked up leather. The cowboys on the ranch made their own tack, saddles and did leather work as a hobby. This is when I was first introduced to leather. I then started doing the same thing and eventually it just stuck with me.
What or who has grown you into the woman you are today? As a designer how do you stay inspired?
Living on the Big Island for a lot of my younger years and between my mothers's influence on me created me into the woman I am today. Hawaii continues to inspire me daily but going on trips definitely creates a new perspective for me. I went to Colorado about a few years ago. Here I was a part of an outfitting company where we were hunting guides for elk, deer, bear, mountain lions in the cold rocky mountains. This trip gave me inspiration for a whole new line.
When not designing/creating, where can we find ya! How do you refuel?
When I am not creating or banging on some leather I am usually on the road in between showings and writing contracts for my clients who are either buying or selling real estate. Honestly real estate can be full-filling and draining at times. Leather gives me an out. It is definitely something I enjoy and a way to express myself as a creative person.
It doesn't take me long to step away from leather then want to come back at it again haha if you know what I mean.