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Luna’s designs impress Africans

Tudor Carolann

Luna’s designs impress Africans

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LUNA DESIGNS is set to take the African diaspora by storm, if all goes well within the next year or so.
The lucrative jewellery business, caught the eyes of almost all attending the ninth Annual Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAAM) or passing through the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre over the last week.
Not only did Luna Designs present unique jewellery but what also attracted those in attendance is the fact that the underlying aim is to empower women.
Owners Ernesto Neira and his wife Gloria Plata-Neira, who were on hand to promote the jewellery pieces, said the business offered single mothers the opportunity to work from at home, while looking after their children and still earning an income.
Located at Hillaby, St Thomas, Luna Designs has been operating for the last 17 years, and teaches women how to make necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more from the seed of palm trees (vegetable ivory), which is then coloured by natural dyes.
Gloria, who is the manager and designer of Luna Designs said the designs were created according to the colour trend of the year, and according to themes.
“Every year we change our theme. Last year it was Galaxy and depending on the theme the colours will come naturally. This year’s theme is Shapes And Colours Of The Caribbean,” she noted while pointing to the many blues, purples, pinks, and greens on display.
“We also have other accessories. We carry women’s handbags and we are currently looking for more women to make these handbags. We have also started the papier maché line which features accessories and home items.
“Already it seems it is going to be very successful,” she said of the small and large bowls, mirror frames and picture frames, all created using paper.
“We haven’t launched the line properly but so far we have plenty orders to produce. Our overseas clients and local clients are very interested,” she said as she watched her husband packing an order of paper bowls for export.
But it was the jewellery concept that caught the eye of Nigerian and Ugandan delegates attending the ninth WAAM session.
The director general/chief executive officer of the National Centre for Women’s Development in Nigeria, Fatima Hassan, who was one of many who visited the booth during the conference, told the SUNDAY SUN she was quite impressed with the work being displayed by Luna Designs.
“The fact that he is using local materials and employing single mothers, it is something we would want to emulate back home. I am hoping that we can bring them to Nigeria on our invitation, to come and teach our students there, because the jewellery is one of a kind.
“We have not seen that kind of jewellery at home before. We use wires and other items, so it’s quite different and we have similar climates,” she noted.
Luna Designs currently exports to more than 19 countries and hopes to expand into the African continent. (CT)