Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Renée Smith creates an ‘Exquisite Revolution’ through Crochet Pieces

Published:Thursday | February 4, 2016 | 2:00 AMTamara Bailey
Owner and operator of ‘Renée Natalia’, Renée Smith, wearing one of her pieces.
The very first crocheted dress made by Renée Smith.
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MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

When 29-year-old Renee Smith threw caution to the wind and decided to turn a passion for fashion into a business, it was about more than accentuating the styles of a modern woman; it was also to put into practice the work ethics instilled in her by her mother and to highlight the importance of confidence in self.

Her clothing line 'Renee Natalia', featuring unique hand-made crochet accent was launched late last year and signalled the compilation of persistence and undeniable talent.

"Earlier last year, I was constantly feeling the need to wear more unique pieces, clothes that really spoke to my sense of style, which I was still developing by the way... This desire drove me to crochet a simple dress to add to my wardrobe. I was so happy with the end product that I posted it to social media. I got a lot of compliments, but one really stuck out for me. A local fashion icon told me I could be on to something and encouraged me to pursue it. I did just that and within a few months, I had a registered business and enough designs to launch my brand at the MoDA Market held on November 22nd," she told Rural Xpress.

Having faced harsh economic challenges growing up in a large family in St Mary, Smith was motivated by her mother to use education as the vehicle to propel her out of poverty.

"My mom kept on reminding that I was a bright girl and education could change things. As the first of the seven children, I was determined to make her proud and set an example for my siblings so with her encouragement, I won a scholarship to high school where I did well before moving on to study mass communication and information science at Northern Caribbean University, then started working in media production shortly after graduation before moving into marketing then later corporate communications.

It was during high school that Smith learnt and honed the craft of crocheting by a woman in the community. She had no knowledge that a need to make something nice on a budget would spur this novel idea.

"Though I have started a clothing line, I do have a regular nine to five in marketing. I find that I do need the additional income as I grow my business as well there is still a lot to learn. My professional experience over the years has helped me greatly in getting my business off the ground and persons within my network have offered excellent advice," Smith said.

She added: "Currently, I work with the marketing team of a large financial institution and as a business owner, I am constantly juggling the many roles required to run a business such as accountant, social media manager, marketer, designer, seamstress to name a few. It is hard work! Sometimes, I stop and ask why did I do this, but then a client calls for an order or a more experienced fashion designer praises my work so far and I realise it's all worthwhile. It is a great feeling to know that someone wants to wear one of my designs, and an even more satisfying feeling when I spot someone wearing one of my pieces and I do everything from head to toe."

Completing much work for her brand to be established, Smith is looking forward to starting her second brand soon as well as exploring avenues of her entrepreneurial mindset.

"In the next five to 10 years, I see myself with a successful clothing line that offers a wide array of designs and possible starting another brand. I have always had the dream of being a serial entrepreneur so it would be great to dust off some of my other business plans and make them a reality too."

Smith may be contacted at email: reneenatalia.rev@gmail.com, cell: (876) 437-0980.