Co-Dreamer: Tina Tangalakis

We share the stories of people making great dreams into realities to inspire us all to dream big, work hard, and build a better world. Together, our dreams light the future.

Tina from Della surrounded by the Della seamstresses

Open to a new adventure, and unsuspecting of what potential lie ahead, Tina Tangalakis put the Los Angeles design world behind her and headed to Ghana.

She was instantly captivated by the culture; the colors, the landscape, a new way of life and especially the fabric. Tina decided to use some of those inspiring textiles to create souvenirs to bring back home to family and friends, leading her to a local seamstress named Beatrice in the village of Hohoe (‘ho-ho-eh’). It took only 48 hours for Tina to realize what was happening, and she instantly knew that the bags she designed with Beatrice would pave the way for a friendship and international partnership.

After a month in Ghana and with 50 bags in hand, she returned home and sold all 50 in two weeks.

Tina always had a dream of combining art and humanitarianism to create a business that is ethical, responsible and fashionable and today, 3 years later, that dream is a reality through Della. Committed to long-term success in providing jobs and education to Hohoe, Della’s products are all handmade by local women who are economically vulnerable.

Tina’s dream has received rave reviews from notable fashion culture makers such as People Magazine and has now expanded to boutiques all over the United States, even the Anguilla and Virgin Islands. Della’s products range from bags and earrings, to Macbook cases and the sale of all products guarantees a positive effect on the people of Hohoe.

1. Tell us about the name Della.

While dreaming up with the business, I wanted to choose a name that connected us with Ghana, yet was contemporary enough to be the name of fashion line. While reflecting on all my Ghanaian experiences, one person I met really left an impression: his name was Della, the driver for the volunteer organization I worked with.  He was literally the first person I met after getting off the plane and arriving in Accra & greeted me with the most welcoming, warm smile. I hope the essence of the real “Della” shows through our product line.

2. How have you seen the women of Hohoe grow and become empowered?

This has been pretty awesome. I’ve seen members of our Ghanian team become financially independent, more confident and their skill levels have all increased exponentially. I know that our team is very happy to have steady work that supports them, their dreams, and their families.  Several of our employees are single mothers and it is great to know that we are creating opportunity for their family.

3. If the world could be different in one way because you lived, what would it be?

Hm, I’m not sure about this one.  I really think making a positive impact on one person makes a difference.  So if I am able to help one person along the way, I am happy.