Kamelia Griffith grew up surrounded by family members who “make stuff”. This inspired her to become a fashion designer and although things were a bit “difficult” when she started, she absolutely loves what she does.
“I choose fashion designing because it’s in my genes. My grandmother Karen, Aunt Margaret, cousins and even my mum, Pamela, could make stuff so I decided to try it. I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, but to find something that I really love to do was most important. As I got started, it was a little difficult, but I did classes and kept making stuff. As I got better people started asking me to make stuff for them,” she told Today’s Fashion.
In November 2015, at age 19, she did a beginners’ class. “I had no clue how to make anything and most of the people in my class were older so they had some type of experience while I had none. So that was a bit difficult for me. My first skirt I made was awful… like everything was put together yes, but it was so tacky so I then worked on my straight lines and cleaner insides.
“With practice, practice and more practice, I was finally able to stitch. I did a dressmaking advanced course and a beginner’s and advanced in Lingerie. I worked in a clothing factory for about six months, which helped with my speed and learning different techniques. I also did embroidery and a little screen printing there. As my business grew, I had to quit my job as it was getting a bit hard to manage the demand I was getting for work.”
The business Kamelia refers to is Enchanted Designs, which she started on February 10, 2016. It is located in Silver Hill, Christ Church. She chose the name because: “If you are enchanted by someone or something, they cause you to have feelings of great delight or pleasure and that’s what I hoped to get with each client,” she said.
The 24-year-old said she experienced some challenges initially, but she has no regrets since she is convinced she is doing what she was meant to do.
“I had some challenges as I was getting started. Space was one of them. I had to make stuff from my room and the fittings were done in my bathroom, so it was kind of hard getting everything done in a small space. Also, being able to communicate with clients because I found it difficult to speak to people I don’t know. I know there are all types of people and I tried to be able to satisfy each person.”
Enchanted Designs does not specialise in any one particular area. Due to her love of working with stretch fabrics, she will make anything. Services offered include clothing for men, women and children, African wear, alterations, lingerie and school uniforms, for all ages and sizes. Kamelia has done work for weddings, graduations, pageants, staff parties, Crop Over bands, singers, parties and socials.
“I normally base my designs on the event, the timing, the theme and the place. I choose the fabric I’m going to use and then I work on what style I’m going with. I always add my own touch to everything I’m making. I encourage each client to change up designs when recreating styles to make them their own.”
The former student of Deighton Griffith Secondary, who studied Motion Picture Arts at Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination (EBCCI), said she tries her best to make sure every client is satisfied.
“I provide quality work and meet their deadlines. I like to create. Colours, prints, patterns and the smile on my clients’ faces inspire me. The love I have for fashion and [helping my clients decide] exactly what they want bring me joy.”
Kamelia said customer referrals and social media advertising have both helped her business to grow. She said, however, that customer referrals played a great part in helping get new clients. She considers opening Enchanted Designs her “greatest accomplishment”.
During busy times she works early mornings and late hours to meet all her clients’ requests and her family works with her so everything runs smoothly and on time.
The fashion designer, who also does eyelashes and styles locs, would like to sell the Enchanted Designs brand through local and regional companies.
“I honestly don’t think I would ever settle on just one skill. I like to do multiple things. I would love to master all of my skills.”
Kamelia said she is self-motivated: “I have an image of where I would like to be and I’ll work every day until I get there.”
The young business owner’s secret to success is simple. “Practice because all skills take practice. Be willing to constantly learn new ways to do stuff. Explore and get creative because fashion is something that allows you to express yourself. It’s constantly changing and repeating itself, giving you the chance to create something better each time around.”
Kamelia likes to draw, go to the beach, liming, dining, games nights and movies. But for her, none of those activities compares to time spent with loved ones: the ones who matter the most.
“My family and friends matter to me most. They are my biggest supporters, my first set of clients, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. They helped push me at times when I felt like giving up and for that, I’ll always be grateful.” (IMC)
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