Cherise Ashby was only eight years old when she first discovered the utility of marrying her creativity with making money.
No wonder then, that in 2011 she actively pursued a career in designing and art.
“Fashion and Art chose me. This is what I was put on earth to do and no greater joy comes from doing it. What motivated me was my understanding and knowledge of looking at drawings I created when I was younger and feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment. I knew this was my destiny,” she convincingly told Today’s Fashion.
She recalls: “My journey began in primary school around eight years old when I would cut my church socks and make dresses for my dolls then I would draw designs for my classmates and charge a fee. A young entrepreneur in the making! The real journey began when I was in college in the year 2011 studying Fine Art. I needed extra money for art supplies so a friend showed me hair accessories because that was the fashion then, I taught myself how to make them and began to sell them to college and secondary school students.”
The 26-year-old is now the owner of Cher Designs & Art which was officially started in 2016. The business is located in Keizer Hill, Christ Church.
“After officially starting in 2016, my challenge was learning how and what to budget for because I furthered my skills into stencilling T-shirts which took up a lot of hours on one shirt sometimes. The challenge I faced in Fine Art was and still is marketing and finding time to focus on promoting art. I have no regrets with my business because I live by the saying, ‘everything happens for a reason.’ I’m always growing and learning more.”
Cherise, who studied Fine Art and Fashion Design at the Barbados Community College (BCC), said her clientele range from few months as a baby with the majority of clients falling between age 20 and 35 years.
“I specialize in what the majority of my clients want and because we live on an island that is mostly swimwear and casual wear. Other services I provide are Semi-formal wear, currently working on my activewear collection. I do a bit of printing on t-shirts, throw pillows and sashes and on a small scale I do flower crowns, halo chains and bow ties.”
She continued: “I come up with designs from what I was taught during my years in Fashion at BCC where we would draw 100 rough sketches and choose the best ones. I don’t do the 100 now but close to it. I also feel my mood and balance that with music and go from there.”
For the young artist and designer, this isn’t her sole career. She is a bikini fitness competitor on her way to become a professional athlete. It is a disciplined career which she loves.
“Waking up every day with air in my lungs is just enough to motivate me and to make the day count. I love nature and flowers to inspire me professionally. My personal motivation comes from working out in the gym because that stimulates the mind and body and keeps me energized throughout the day.”
The former student of Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School and Deighton Griffith Secondary hopes that her brand can go international one day.
“My major career accomplishment would be the fact that I never gave up and my clients recognise and appreciate my talent. No one knows the future but hopefully, I would have a big enough studio for both fashion and art so clients can come relax and be blown away by my talent. My next career goal is to showcase abroad and sells items there as well, Cher Designs and Art will be going International.”
Cherise pointed out that with every job she strives for each client to leave with a smile on their face and a sense of satisfaction. This is the case whether the attire is for personal use or to be showcased professionally.
“My first fashion show was at BMEX in 2015. I’ve also showcased and modelled at Betty West Fashion Cabaret and 12 Days of Christmas by Walter. Other fashion shows such as Girlfriend Expo, CAFA and Emerald Models management party to name a few. I’ve also made a number of promotional wear for events. I had the pleasure of printing the Miss World Barbados 2018 sash and others such as Mr. & Miss Barbados Talented Teens and Mr & Miss Barbados Caribbean.”
Cherise, who said her second choice career would have been to become a Marine Biologist or anything along the lines of working with animals, confessed that time management is key.
“The past few years the business has grown and is continuing to grow via word of mouth and the big platform, social media. I also model my designs to keep clients interested. I manage my peak periods by noting every order and having a cut off time. When it gets really hectic, the gym has to go on hold so I can out in more hours for quick turn overs which shocks clients at times. It is all about time management.”
Cherise said her other passions and hobbies are reading and writing adventure stories.
“I loved reading Nancy Drew and The Famous Five when I was younger. A beach is also a favourite place where I collect shells and intriguing rocks. Meditational or R&B soul music with lavender oil or herbal tea is always the best way to unwind after a long day.”
But what matters most to Cherise?
“What matters most to me is my mum Marita Ashby and being happy. Sounds like an understatement but as long as you’re happy you look at life and circumstances a lot differently,” the designer said. (IMC)
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