Mon | Nov 30, 2020

Tamia Carey’s next move - Designer goes bridal with stylish, affordable collection

Published:Friday | November 6, 2020 | 12:10 AMBarbara Ellington/Contributor
When the pandemic hit, Tamia Carey began making masks. Now the designer is moving into bridal with a stylish, affordable collection.
When the pandemic hit, Tamia Carey began making masks. Now the designer is moving into bridal with a stylish, affordable collection.

The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced businesses worldwide to find new ways of survival. Many have had to lay off staff, introduce shift systems, cut salaries and even terminate faithful employees. While others have pivoted and subsequently grown beyond their wildest expectations.

Among local industries that have taken a battering from the pandemic is the fashion industry. With working from home now the new normal, many garment manufacturers and fashion designers have seen their sales plummet. But some savvy players, like Tamia Carey, decided early in the game to produce fabric masks – and that was a financially sound decision.

Carey began her career in fashion as a trendsetter. She introduced an online store for her line of popular maxi dresses more than 11 years ago, and has not looked back. When things got rough, Carey decided to make masks, and thousands of masks later, orders are still coming in.

“All my family members, from my husband who learnt to cut masks, to our children who trimmed the finished product, threw their weight behind this venture. I trained our gardener to chalk and cut masks, thereby earning extra money; the driver learnt to use the serger and to fix sewing machines and my regular seamstresses simply moved from making clothes to masks, and best of all, no one was laid off,” said Carey.

“I have now introduced the Tamia Carey Bridal line, and in the month since introducing it to my clients, appointments have been steadily coming in. My gowns start at $15,000 and run to $30,000 or so, depending on the style, fabric trimmings, etc.,” Carey said.

White dresses were already a favourite among clients, but Carey saw the need to move forward and after consultation with her team, the bridal line became a reality.

Affordable, not Elaborate

She told Living that her target market focuses on brides who still want to get married during the pandemic but who were operating with a tight budget. The emphasis is on affordable, not elaborate. The dresses were a hit, with her online market couples getting married in 2021 have placed orders.

“I have met many couples who are getting married impulsively with the realisation that during these times, anything can happen. So I will also offer bridal accessories to brides who need a necklace, garters, diamante belts, masks or other items ... all available in Jamaica,” she explained.

Her gowns are ideal for the modern bride who wants the resort, beach or garden wedding setting, and the sizes range from six to 4XL and clients can shop in comfort and privacy at her Ardenne Road store. All made in Jamaica, the gowns are now ready and brides have no fear as there are only two in each design.

Carey took into consideration brides who are unable to leave the island to shop, so 22 designs are currently available from off the shoulder to strapless and long sleeves, but ultimately, there will be 40 different designs to choose from – including two-pieces.

Carey, who also sells to clients in the Caribbean and the United States, says that Jamaica’s only route out of this recession is to export more, and the next generation of entrepreneurs must understand that. She thinks that masks will be around through the immediate future, so she will continue to make them. But her clients can look out for more innovations in fashion.