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Bags galore with Thelissia Dian

Published:Sunday | April 14, 2019 | 12:00 AMJessica Harrison - Gleaner Writer

When it comes to completing a look, we often think about bags that are unique statement pieces, and Donna-Gay Uter, CEO and creative director of the brand Thelissia Dian, is an expert in the field. Thelissia Dian is a four-year-old Jamaican brand that designs and produces leather bags for the trendy but elegant person.


“I wanted to make something that was a need for everyone. I used to admire church people who wore broad hats along with complementing shoes, and I figured I could custom-make bags that work with each of their outfits,” said Uter.

She said that she started out filling small orders for her friends whenever they saw beautiful pieces. They would then take pictures and ask her if she could remake it, with a twist. Since then, the business grew by word of mouth once people saw the finished product.

Uter works along with her brother, Winston Uter, who is in charge of branding and marketing. Together, they make the dream team of success, and watch the brand blossom into a household fashion name.


Like everything in life, challenges are a surety, but that does not stop Uter from producing the quality expected from her clients.

“One of my biggest challenges in this business is finding quality bag accessories locally. For example, zippers. I’d love to implement different closures, but they are also not locally available, so working with what I have access to, while keeping up with quality, is hard. When I am through, however, I am extremely proud of the product and the client will never be able to tell the difference”

Wherever there is quality, Uter ensures that is where she shops to maintain consistency and quality.


Most of these beautiful bags are hand-cut and sewn from natural leather, while some are leatherette and sewn on machines. Most of the bags are custom-made, and no two bags are exactly the same. Uter enjoys incorporating mixed material. Pairing leather with fabric is perfect for uniqueness, and just a little swatch of colour makes a world of difference.

“Just seeing how people gravitate towards leather when colours and prints are added, is enough for me to keep my mind open to the fact that people are different and always evolving. Hence, my designs have to evolve with them.”

Uter beamed with pride as she explained why her daughter is her inspiration to keep being unique. As her child grows, different aspects of her personality will change; moving from immaturity to a wholesome adult. Uter tries to mimic that growth in her designs, telling the story of who Thelissia Dian is ... always evolving and rolling with the times.