For the past two years, Katie Luong went through something any thirty year-old could relate to; she was bored and restless… and she desperately needed a new life plan. While working as photographer in a hospital Maternity Ward, she captured mothers as they first held their newborn babies. Although the awesome wonder of childbirth delighted her, she also began to feel just a little awkward about charging people for sharing such an intimate experience. Thus life, itself, began to take on a different – more personal – sort of preciousness.
“I had no job and I was completely hopeless,” Luong admits.
And that’s why we love her.
With little idea what she wanted to do with her life, she ‘spent several weeks looking – and feeling – that the world was just this repetitious mechanical place.’ Suddenly burnt out with interesting (yet somehow unfulfilling) jobs in catering and photography, she knew she needed to find herself… somewhere very far away.
Born in Ho Chi Minh City, this meant venturing to her homeland, Vietnam. She would stay in Vietnam as long as it took her to ‘figure out what in the world [she] was supposed to be doing here on this earth.’ She followed that trip with a jaunt to Thailand. It was during her stay in September 2007 that she was blown away with the unique handcrafted things from the mountainous tribal regions of Vietnam, home of the H’mong. She also discovered antique tribal items from the Kuchi tribes of India and, in love with their unique beauty, Luong did what any passionate collector begins to do. She collected. Bringing countless pieces home, she then photographed and admired them.
She also kept in touch with the local dealers.
More importantly, “It was an incredible one and a half months of travel and solitude,” Luong reveals. “Being by myself and just seeing how much of an ant I am in this place called earth was eye-opening.”
Fast forward to 2008.
Back in the US, she gathered her fascinating tribal pieces, did extensive research on the tribal jewelry market and voila!
Tribal Matters was born.
Subsequently, she found herself.
Just what every soul-searching jaunt is meant to do.
Pieces are made with 925 silver, brass, or white metal. Each carry the unique handcrafted exoticism captured by the complex indigenous tribes of the always tantalizing East.
For both stylish men and world-wise women, prices range from a very reasonable $15-$250.