Lots of hard work. That’s our takeaway from Myrtle Avenue shop owner Sherap Wangmo’s story for how her store came to be. Her Clinton Hill boutique 21 Tara, which she co-owns with her husband, has become one of the neighborhood’s most popular shops, selling clothing, jewelry, home goods, and spiritual items crafted by artisans from around the world. And it all started on a folding table at a NYC street fair.
FROM THE BEGINNING
Being raised by a single mother who had fled Tibet after the Chinese occupation in the late 1950s, Sherap grew up with a role model who demonstrated the power of hard work and sacrifice. She recalls her mother working before she would wake until well into the evening – weaving carpets, making rice wine, teaching in a refugee camp – always trying to provide for her family. When she was 17, Sherap immigrated with her mother to NYC where they found an apartment in the East Village. Getting to work right away, and putting off finishing high school, Sherap began to do odd jobs around the city and eventually settled at being a nanny. This brought her to Fort Greene.
She remembers walking around the neighborhood one day with the kids she was watching and coming across a vacant storefront near Myrtle Avenue. This became 21 Tara’s first storefront location, tucked behind Putnam’s restaurant on Clinton Avenue. It was a big move for her and Tashi, who has been manning the table at street fairs and sidewalk sales in Manhattan, where they had been selling their hand-crafted wares. After just one year in the new storefront, they were able to move a block away and directly onto Myrtle Avenue, where the increased foot traffic helped their business thrive. Just last year, the couple opened their second storefront location, on Smith Street in Cobble Hill.
For as long as she can remember, Sherap has had a love for textiles and the artistry involved in weaving together beautiful linens and garments. This love for and skill for sourcing beautiful textiles shows when you look around the store and see all the beautiful pieces in stock. When Sherap looks around her stores today, she says she has exactly what she had pictured in her mind all those years ago when she and Tashi first decided to start selling artisan made goods. When reflecting on the store and what it means to her, she says she is “so grateful to be able to share this culture and to support artists from the around the world.”
When we asked Sherap to name a woman who inspires her, Sherap said she was “inspired by all women who are hard-working, brace, risk-takers, and who promote culture.” Using that standard we can easily say that we are inspired by Sherap!
21 Tara, 388 Myrtle Ave, (347) 916-0045