Sun | Dec 11, 2016

The Mrembo One

Published:Monday | August 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM
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Krysta Anderson, Lifestyle Writer

Fashion is an expression of who you are, and for social media specialist Rachael Callaghan, it was her keen sense of fashion that led to the exploration of entrepreneurial opportunity into all things accessories.

The half Kenyan, half Jamaican explained to Flair that when she returned to Jamaica from Kenya, she carried beautiful pieces of jewellery with her. "When I go out with my friends, they would wear my jewellery and not return them, so since they loved them so much, I decided that maybe I could branch out into selling them."

Since then, she worked assiduously on making that dream a reality, and it was from there that Mrembo African Accessories was born. Mrembo, which means the beautiful one, specialises in one-of-a-kind, hand- pieces - bangles, bracelet, rings earrings and necklaces, clutch bags and handbags, as well as leather sandals done to order.

All her pieces are from Kenya, and they appeal to the more mature woman looking to add a touch of sophisticated chic to her wardrobe. "My clientele ranges between 18 and 50 years old. Younger women lean towards lighter and brighter pieces while the more mature prefer elegant pieces that are traditionally African by nature. But for the most part, my regular customers are between the ages of 22 and 23 - people who have left university and are going into a more professional sphere and seeking the career woman look."

This venture for Callaghan has been a one-woman show. With no background in fashion, and fresh out of college, she relies heavily on natural talents and research to keep up and stay ahead of the fashion industry. Thus far, her speciality in social media comes in handy in promoting and selling her pieces. Facebook is her new best friend and word of mouth generates more views to her page.

connection

"The reception has been good so far. When they find out about the brand, then they get the opportunity to touch and feel the pieces, they don't want to let go. People love the product because they connect with it." She continued, "I don't use traditional marketing in any shape or form, so it can be positive or negative, and business tends to be a bit seasonal. Christmas is a busy time, but any opportunity women get to dress up, they will buy a piece - summer, Mother's Day, birthday, special occasion or month end."

Now that her business is two years old, she is looking forward to trading in those training wheels for some big wheels for her fashion cycle. She hopes to get things a lot more mainstream. "Right now, I don't have a store, so people have been sending me photos of their outfits and I set a few pieces of jewellery for them to choose from, or we meet up and go through everything together."

Aspiring to have her time management down to a science, she expresses gratitude for reaching this far and is moved by the fact that people have embraced the African difference. Her advice for upcoming entrepreneurs: "Just go for it. Have a plan before you invest. Keep your eyes and ears to the ground, talk to people about it, but take that chance because you never know where life may lead you."

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com

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