Inspired by Charlotte
Rachel Thwaites-Williams has cast away her fears and chased her dreams. She told Outlook: "Sometimes people put you in a box. But I always wanted to do everything."
Thwaites-Williams is a medical practitioner in St Lucia, specialising in family medicine. She was, however, born and raised in Montego Bay, St James. While medicine is something that she loves, it does not encapsulate who she is. She had always been a creative art lover, and being an entrepreneur was always in the cards. So when she started dabbling in making flower crowns, turning it into a business came naturally.
"It was after I found out I was pregnant with my little blessing, Charlotte, and was forced to slow down a bit. I started to become more centred and gravitate towards the things I had been missing most nature and creativity. I always felt better if I took a walk in the garden, took in the fresh air, and began to draw up floral hairpiece ideas," she said.
Her daughter is also a nature lover, drawn to bougainvilleas, dirt and leaves. The floral crown was initially created to help her discover her inner child.
Thwaites-Williams named the company Baby Charlotte's. There was a little fear going into this venture, but she mustered up the courage to go further.
"Everything that I hesitated with, was hindered by fear. But what motherhood has taught me was that you cannot have fear," she told Outlook. So she stepped out into creating her crowns.
Thwaites-Williams creates crowns for weddings, bridal showers, parties, photo shoots and individuals "just because". It is something that she is proud of as she gets to express her creative side. She admitted that this was something she felt was in missing from the market while she studied medicine at the University of the West Indies. It was not that she did not love medicine because she did, but she also wanted to be creative.
"Being able now to do everything is good," Thwaites-Williams noted.
Baby Charlotte now offers hand-painted bags, which is a collaboration between herself and handbag line Jovew by Makisa. Her handiwork is also available on select clutches.
But Thwaites-Williams did not stop at that. Her daughter Charlotte's refusal to sit still to have her hair combed, has inspired her in a whole different way.
"Her hair isn't difficult to manage, but she won't sit still. So all I can manage to do sometimes is just get it into two puffs," she told Outlook. It is something that she realised other mothers struggled with. That inspired her book - 'Charlotte and the Two Puffs'.
She also wanted to create a book where Charlotte could see a true depiction of a girl like her. While the story is not one that she wants to be centred around hair, she wanted to ensure that it was a true depiction of a girl of colour - not a black girl with curly hair, but a girl with kinky hair - so that children can see themselves and know that irrespective of their hair type, they are ideal.
Thwaites-Williams remembered as a child not being able to find a book or a doll that looked like her. If they were black, their hair was curly. While curly is beautiful, she wanted girls to know that so is kinky. But she made sure to emphasise that the story was not about hair or hair types.
"It is a fun little book and story about a little girl who happens to be black and identifiable."