I may be biased but it has to be said, Trinbago people well creative. Ah mean you only have to take a look at Carnival to know, but if pretty mass is not your ting then think about the music and fashion industries and fine arts. You must know know about a Trinbagonian making his or her mark. Then it dawned on my, why not celebrate the creatives I’ve come to know in my expat life?! First up is Thalia-Mae Nero, founder of TMBoutique. I had the pleasure of meeting Thalia-Mae at a house party at my dear friend Debbie’s (of DNA Design).  Since then, we’ve been following each other on social media and chatting. 

This is Thalia-Mae’s interview.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourselves?

Hi I’m Thalia-Mae, owner of TMBoutique – an online shop showcasing handcrafted jewellery and accessories. I was born and raised in the beautiful twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago and migrated to the UK over 10 years ago where I live with my husband and son.

I have a great affection for creative, artsy things. With an addiction to fabric and buttons, I love using these materials to create unique pieces for my shop. When I’m not creating, I’m busy at my 9-5 job and enjoying being mommy to my active 5-year-old prince.

  1. What inspires your work?

My diverse Caribbean background greatly inspires and influences my work.  I grew up in a multicultural society and would often participate in the various cultural celebrations in Trinidad. The vibrant colours and the creative artworks found in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean are a huge inspiration. The jewellery and accessories I create are quite simple in design but the bold colours and prints used for each piece truly reflects my Caribbean heritage.

  1. Who is your ideal customer? What is she/he like?

To be honest, I’m still trying to pin my ideal customer. I use the various social media platforms and craft markets I sell at, to determine the persons who are interested in my products. Because I use a wide collection of fabrics in my designs, my customers (mainly females) come from different ethnic backgrounds. As my jewellery and accessories are created using bright, bold fabrics and prints, I believe my ideal customer would be the lady who loves being unique and enjoys making a statement through vibrant colours and patterns.

4. What has been the best customer feedback you have had so far?

Since creating my brand, I’ve received fantastic feedback through my etsy online shop and the various social media platforms I use, which is always encouraging. However, the best was from my mother! She knows exactly what she wants and will let me know if she doesn’t like some of my ideas. My mom recently commissioned me to create 60 souvenirs for her. I was a bit nervous doing the job particularly as it was the biggest customer order I’ve done. When I was finished she said “Thalia I love it!” And that meant the world to me…(phew!J)

5. Where do you see the business in the next three years?

Owning a business, I’m realising every day, is a long and sometimes difficult journey, particularly when I am unable to commit to it full time. However, in the next 3 years I hope to see my business growing beyond the craft markets and perhaps realising another dream which is to have my own brick-and-mortar shop. I also want to reach out to more stockists to have my products available in fashion boutiques.

And in the next three years, I would have nailed my ideal customer 😊.

6. What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs?

Do Not Give Up. Many times you may feel like throwing my hands up and saying “I give up”. I’ve been there and I’m still there sometimes. But if you want your business to succeed, you can’t afford to give up now. I’ve realised the most important thing is to love what you do, have faith in yourself and Carry On! I’m trying my best to live by this because I trust all will be well.

You can find TMBoutique on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For product information please visit the website.