St. Lucian handbag designer makes strides in niche business | St. Lucia News Online
“At first, I was only designing bags and outsourced their production. When I had my son, I realized I wanted to stay home more, so figured I would rather stay home and sew bags instead,” she explains. “One day while selling at a bazaar, I met a young leather smith who was imp
ressed with the bags that I had outsourced. I told him I could not make bags, so he took me under his wing, helped me buy my first machine, introduced me to the merchants and has been my mentor every step of the way.” Thus meme bete Ltd. was developed–and it developed into a much bigger business than at first imagined.
The name même bête comes from a St. Lucian Creole saying that means “we are all the same.” It’s a nod to Nascimento’s heritage. “I was born in Canada to St. Lucian parents, and grew up my whole life in St. Lucia. I moved to Ethiopia in 2006 as an intern working with craft women which is when I got the inspiration to start making bags. The company started in Ethiopia in 2006. Despite being born in Canada, I always refer to myself as St. Lucian,” she says. “I go back to Ethiopia maybe once a year.
I just returned from a trip recently and will be creating a docu-short on my mentor. It is always great to go back and be amongst the root of my inspiration. I particularly enjoy going to the market and shopping for unique finds and embellishments to add to my bags.”
Her St. Lucian heritage and African influences are reflected in her designs. She uses different types of traditional cloths such as African wax print and madras, along with leather. Nascimento operates out of a home-based workshop in St. Lucia where each bag is handmade.
PRESS RELEASE – For Taribba do Nascimento, designing and making handbags turned out to be the perfect side business after the birth of her son, making it a home-based business was a natural move.