Young St. Lu­cian en­tre­pre­neur and de­signer on the rise!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Faye-Chantelle Mon­de­sir

Miss St. Lucia Tourist Board at this year’s Na­tional Car­ni­val Queen pageant, Laura Bruce, is truly multi-tal­ented and mul­ti­di­men­sional. Those who saw her at the pageant would re­call her per­for­mance - singing while play­ing the pi­ano. Af­ter we came across some of her fash­ion mer­chan­dize this week, the 18-year-old re­vealed to the STAR that she has al­ways been in­ter­ested in the arts.

Born on Box­ing Day De­cem­ber 26th, 1996, Laura is from the com­mu­nity of Gros Islet. Apart from dab­bling in the arts at an early age she also got into swim­ming and as a na­tional swim­mer has rep­re­sented Saint Lucia both re­gion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. Presently em­ployed with Bank of St. Lucia, in her spare time she paints and sells cus­tom­made art work in­clud­ing can­vas paint­ings, cus­tom­ized, com­mis­sioned hand-painted cloth­ing and hand-painted 100% cot­ton bags.

Laura told the STAR, “I come from a cre­ative fam­ily; my mom is very cre­ative, and so she definitely in­spired me. I have never had any for­mal train­ing in art, it’s some­thing I picked up through prac­tise and from work­ing with dif­fer­ent artists. I have picked up dif­fer­ent tech­niques and de­vel­oped as an in­di­vid­ual.”

She gets her in­spi­ra­tions spo­rad­i­cally she says, adding “I just love pat­terns. Things just pop into my head when I am at work, walk­ing on the street, at dif­fer­ent points. I can never just paint, I have to feel like I want to.”

The young cre­ative loves bold colours and solid pat­terns. “I love African prints and I like to cen­tre my work around African and Caribbean cul­ture, the bright colours, shapes, tex­tures which are in­dica­tive of Saint Lucia,” she says.

Laura told the STAR that she ap­pre­ci­ates Luigi St. Omer, one of the sons of the late Sir Dun­stan St. Omer. “He is very tal­ented and I ap­pre­ci­ate him tak­ing me un­der his wing and just giv­ing me guidance and di­rec­tion and help­ing me de­velop my tech­nique,” she ex­plains.

“I am a be­liever that if you have a skill set you should nur­ture it, you should use it to be able to ad­vance your­self. I have a pas­sion for paint­ing and I have been able to de­velop it into a suc­cess­ful enough busi­ness. While it may not be my pri­mary job, it’s definitely a hobby plus a form of in­come,” Laura says with a sense of pride and hu­mil­ity.

Presently Laura sells her can­vas paint­ings at Cap Mai­son while her hand-painted bags are avail­able at the newly opened The Yard at Mas­sade, Gros Islet. She also uses on­line mar­ket­ing to pro­mote and dis­trib­ute her cloth­ing and var­i­ous prod­ucts.

Laura hand-paints all types of at­tire in­clud­ing ladies’ dresses, men’s shirts, bags and gen­er­ally any item her clients would like cus­tom­ized. She has man­aged to gather use­ful sales and mar­ket­ing in­for­ma­tion through her de­sign busi­ness, as well as valu­able life lessons and skills, which she has at­tained through her pageantry ex­pe­ri­ence.

She says, “I be­lieve that as long as you like some­thing, you should pursue it and make the most of your tal­ent. You will find your­self at peace do­ing some­thing you enjoy.”

Laura’s top tip: “Don’t let peo­ple dis­cour­age you, be­cause there are a lot of peo­ple who of­fer ad­vice. When I was first start­ing out, there were a lot of peo­ple want­ing to give me ad­vice and it is nice for peo­ple to give ad­vice, but I kind of got lost try­ing to de­cide what to do. It’s im­por­tant to find your own way!”

Laura feels hum­bled and ac­com­plished when she sees oth­ers wear­ing her de­signs. “I work in my bed­room at a lit­tle desk and hon­estly ev­ery time I see my work on some­one or on dis­play, I feel good be­cause you don’t really ap­pre­ci­ate the beauty of the piece un­til you see it in an­other set­ting.”

This young lady is liv­ing proof that one can take a nat­u­ral tal­ent and de­velop it into an in­come-earn­ing ini­tia­tive or busi­ness while de­vel­op­ing one’s unique spe­cial­ties.

Luara Bruce wear­ing one of her

hand-painted de­signs.

Th­ese young men are all wear­ing hand

painted Tees by Laura Bruce.

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