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tarina tarantino...

As my friend and I tip toed into the back of a UCLA lecture hall, I couldn't help but feel my nerves kick in. There I was: back in college. Only, this was a lecture I wouldn't receive a grade in... just a goodie bag!

When my friend Tarina Tarantino invited me to her Q & A for UCLA's "How Does She Do It?" series, I was psyched to revisit the past.

The evening began with a video introduction... Spots on Fox, Extra, Access Hollywood, even Oprah...

Watching Tarina's press clips brought me back to my early high school years when I first discovered her accessories line. At age 14, I'd spotted her sparkly, insect inspired hair clips on Access Hollywood. I was immediately hooked! Unfortunately, I lived time zones away from her Los Angeles based business and didn't have access to her line.

Intrigued by her pink hair and her story, I called Ms. Tarantino's office for an interview. When Tarina learned how young I was, she obliged and, much to my surprise (and joy!), a friendship began soon after.

That was nearly ten years ago. Since that time, Tarina's built her small business into an accessories empire. She has a large fan following in Los Angeles, in the United States, and around the world -- including in Italy, where her Milan boutique thrives. Next up? A boutique in NYC's Soho.

During Tarina's Q & A session, I found myself inspired, once more, by her success:

Tarina's lifelong loves include Sanrio's Hello Kitty and Mattel's Barbie, two characters she's been able to coordinate into current collections. In fact, Mattel and Sanrio gave her the greenlight to give the characters her own original twist.

Celebrities adore her -- Paris Hilton and Hilary Duff included. Both ladies have personally approached her to gush about the line. (Tarina accessorized Hilton for LA Fashion Week while Duff approached Tarina at a NYC Fashion Week show to tell her how much of her jewelry she owns!)

During the seminar, Tarina emphasized the importance of a positive attitude and hard work, which is clearly her own approach to business... and to life.

Tarina is a mother to two beautiful little girls -- Chloe (age 4) and Olivia (age 2). She works alongside her husband Alfonso, who acts as a partner in the company.

It's a fairy tale story, but it's far from reaching it's end. After all, success isn't a destination; it's a journey. A fact I was reminded of while taking a trip down memory lane.

My Favorite Tarina Pieces

 Click on photos for product information.

New Pieces from the Barbie Collection

 Click on photos for product information.

>> last feature: the sub-urban brands >>

photos courtesy of TarinaTarantino.com

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