BIS Alumni – Sri Luce Rusna
Born in New York City, Sri Luce Rusna, spent her early years living between the bustling streets of Manhattan and the quiet rice-paddies of Bali, Ubud.
From a young age, Sri was deeply inspired by the work of her mother, designer Suarti Luce, who at the time was designing and crafting collections for QVC USA and UK.
Working in the family business, Sri learnt the tools of the trade with a special focus on Quality Control and Production Management of hand-crafted jewelry.
In 2007, Sri began her own creative journey and opened the Tulola Jewelry Studio. Sri has won several awards for her designs and continues to find endless inspiration from the culture and heritage of Indonesia.
1. A brief description of your career; current occupation, title, and company.
I am the founder and creative director of Tulola Jewlery. Tulola is a direct to consumer luxury brand that designs, crafts and sells Artisan Crafted Jewelry. Our design work bridges the gap between the traditional metal smithing traditions and contemporary jewerly.
2. What led you to become a jewelry designer?
It is in my blood so to speak, both of my parents where in the jewelry industry. When I moved back to Bali in my early twenties, I felt strongly, that I wanted to create a business that celebrated the exceptional talent of Indonesian Gold and Silver Artisans. I set up a small studio in my car garage in Ketewel, and with a few tukangs open and willing to experiment on new kinds of designs, we made our first Tulola pieces.
3. What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your line of work and how did you overcome them?
In the first few years, the central focus was just to craft, design, and solidify our design voice. Parallel, as our body of work become stronger, our community of tukangs and customers also began to grow. Accidentally, we had turned our garage studio into a business. There are many challenges, to building a retail business out of Ketewel. Based on our location, we had to think out of the box on how communicate and sell to our customers. To overcome this, Tulola became a digital first brand, focusing on chat sales over messaging platforms, and creating art exhibitions in major cities to exhibit and sell our work. We opened our first Bali Store in 2012, which is still our flagship brick and mortar location.
4. How do you keep yourself motivated in your profession?
Working on new projects or events and getting a chance to connect with customers is always motivating and energizing. The story is always changing so the work is always evolving which make its exciting.
5. Do you have any advice for BIS students who would like to pursue a career in design?
Something I would like to have done early in my career, would have been to apprentice under someone who was already in the design field. To learn under a mentor how to face the challenges of focusing creative energy and talent as well as motivating and leading a team of creatives. These were skills I had to learn by trial and error. My advise would be for any student looking to be in the design field, would be to take the opportunity to intern or apprentice under a creative professional.
6. What are some of your favorite memories of your time at BIS?
I have beautiful memories of being a BIS of the teachers, the teaching staff, the friends and families. I made friendships and connections that are still part of my life today. There is so much shared history on campus and its great to see some of those same faces that welcomed me to school 20 years ago, still welcoming students today.
7. What was the most important lesson you learnt from your time in school?
During my time at BIS I had friends from all over the world, as well as being part of the Balinese community, which taught me from a young age about different cultures, languages, and traditions.