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One-of-a-kind craft


One-of-a-kind craft

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RHEASHADELL is the name of jeweller Rhea Morris’ business. She has been operating for about six years, and while she is pleased with its progress, she wants to do more.

Speaking with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY at the recent Agrofest, she said that after studying welding, which she liked doing, she decided to use her skills and expertise in this area to make her own jewellery.

She got into crafting her pieces simply because she did not like the what was on the market, because “everybody had the same thing”.

She wanted “something that represented me” and suited her style.

“I did welding, mechanical engineering – basically anything to do with metal. When I changed jobs, I decided to scale it down to jewellery to make it more accessible; more compact,” she said.

“I went to school at Foundation and from third to fifth form, I was the only girl in the metalwork class. I studied welding at Foundation, got the mechanical engineering and technical drawing certification and then I went to sixth form at The Lodge School. Afterwards I attended the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, spent a year at Structural Systems and then taught for a little while after that.”

Describing the progression from welder to jeweller as a natural one, the businesswoman said she started with earrings before making broaches for her mother. People saw and liked the items and started making requests.

“At first people said ‘your stuff looks really good, why don’t you go sell?’, and I said that I was now starting out and I did not want to bite off more than I could chew. Gradually, I reached a standard that I am happy enough to offer for sale, because I’m always tweaking and trying to get better,” Morris said.

She said she would go on the Internet in search of tips and techniques and she also bought books to fine-tune her craft while making copper and sterling silver pieces entwined with metal and glass beads, stones and crystals.

Morris said sterling silver was now rather expensive and she would therefore be sticking to copper.

Morris said it was “best to find out things for yourself” as it allowed “your creativity to come through”.

Morris admitted it was a friend who persuaded her to turn hobby into a registered business, but even after doing so she still did not get into it full-time; she was otherwise employed and still had to take care of her sons.

“I’m now getting back into the groove of things and . . . I’m at Agrofest. I made the rings and earrings to target the younger demographic and I brought some sets and pieces – samples of what I do. I don’t stockpile.

“I like to talk to my clients and then personalise a piece. When I do a something, I don’t like to repeat it; I try not to duplicate.

“When you’re socialising, you feel good knowing you’re wearing something unique. That’s my aim,” she said.

Morris even does pieces specifically for bridal parties, but it is dependent on the number of people and intricacy of the pattern.

“The more intricate, the more time to source the materials and get them done. If it’s simple, within one or two weeks I can have it ready,” she said.

As the business grows, Morris hopes to set up a shop to showcase her wares, but for now she attends trade shows, and posts images on her Facebook and Instagram pages. She also wants to do more.

“I crochet, so that’s my next challenge. I’m making afghans and baby items and I want to see if I can get a market for crochet jewellery once I’ve perfected it,” she said.

While her busiest period is Christmas, she picks up sales throughout the year from teachers at her sons’ school, and presentations at business places.

Desspite the frustrations that come her way, Morris pledged to continue offering quality handcrafted jewellery as she makes her mark. (Green Bananas Media.)

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