Thu | Oct 19, 2017

Young St Thomas woman blazes a trail in bag making

Published:Thursday | December 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Some of the bags made by Shanaye Monteith.
Shanaye Monteith, bag designer.
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YALLAHS, St Thomas:

Shanaye Monteith of Yallahs, St Thomas, is a creative young woman who has always meddled in all things artsy. Though not a professional, the young woman is known to have drawn, painted, built and created simple designs from household items.

But her creativity climbed a few steps up the ladder when she began making backpacks.

"I was creating things such as paintings, crafty houses and picture frames from fudge sticks, and once I even tried to sew a jacket. Upon completing the jacket, I showed my friend and she was very pleased and asked if I could make her a bag. At first, it just seemed like a crazy joke, but then I began putting some thought into it and then decided that I would give it a try," Monteith told Rural Xpress.

She added: "I started sourcing the materials needed to make the bag, then searched Google for various styles. After I went on YouTube to watch a few videos and then began working on the bag."

The 21-year-old woman told Rural Xpress that the end result of her creation surprised her and her family and friends.

Friends placed orders

According to her, she was even more surprised when her friends began placing orders.

"They began telling me that they need one of my bags and described the colours that they would prefer it in. It was so surreal. It wasn't a part of my plan to sell the bags or anything, but my sister, being the business-minded person she is, took front row. I'm very shy when it comes on to certain things, but she began sending the pictures of my creations to her friends, encouraging them to buy.

"She's very motivating. Even when I think the bag isn't coming out the way I had imagined and become frustrated, angered and on the brink of giving up, my sister encourages me to exercise my creative mind and has me persevere 'til it's done.

"Since then, I've sold about 10 of the bags, which is amazing seeing that I didn't plan for this," she said.

The bags are made from various materials and come in whichever colour the prospective owner chooses.

Monteith says they resemble school bags, but can also be carried along with you anywhere you go.

"Though I haven't been making any of late, I really hope that I can have my own business manufacturing and distributing these custom-made bags, and that as time goes by, I'll learn how to make other types of bags to expand my options and business," she said, adding that she also makes bow ties.

Monteith told Rural Xpress that the best part of making the bags is the reaction she gets from the buyers.

"I get nervous when I'm to deliver the products. Like, what if they aren't satisfied? But so far, everyone seems to be pleased and it pleases me in return," she revealed.

rural@gleanerjm.com