Cool Friends: Tanni Xu
How did your objects & homewares company, RARO begin?
My parents are small business owners, I have always loved to create & make things, and I knew that I wanted to start a small business at some point in my life (aside from my high school venture of selling hand-painted vans). My goal for starting a company was to solve problems through designing and producing functional objects. Eventually, RARO was created in 2019 after many months of hesitation and a gentle nudge from a career coach (a connection made possible through my day job). I had been working on developing The Straphanger, a portable subway handle and RARO's first product, for a while and I didn't really fully commit to it until after I set up the business. Once all of the legal stuff was taken care of, I became super invested in the process and ended up launching The Straphanger in September of 2020. I'm really excited about what's to come as I continue to explore creating useful objects and also delve into the homewares space.
What's your favorite part about the New York creative community?
The diversity! Not only do I love the cultural diversity of the creative community here in New York, I also love the diversity of work and skills that exist in the space. It seems like everyone is creative in NYC. That really does rub off on you, like creativity osmosis. The amount of unique & specialized small businesses that exist here is really mind-blowing. That's what makes New York special, I think, with everything (somewhat) within reach.
What's inspiring you right now?
Woodworking videos on YouTube, paintings by Henni Alftan, foldable & convertible furniture, the HBO series How To With John Wilson, ceramics by Picasso, and bojagi textiles. I am definitely inspired by different types of media at the moment.
@raronewyork on Instagram