Suzanne Taylor’s knack for designing handcrafted jewellery and accessories started out as a leisure interest, while she was in medical school, some 11 years ago.
At that time, she enjoyed making the items just for herself and a few other friends and family members.
Following the advice of friends and family, the hobby has now materialised into an entrepreneurial journey, with the establishment of a handcrafted jewellery business known as QuziSu Accessories.
QuziSu is a play on SuziQu, the name by which she is affectionately called by her father.
The business specialises in intricate handcrafted jewellery , including earrings, bracelets, waist beads, necklaces and rings, which can be customised. The pieces can be viewed on the business’ social media pages under the name @quzisuaccessories. “When I was doing it as a hobby, I had started to learn wire wrapping, so most of the jewellery pieces were mainly stones or beads utilising different wrapping and weaving techniques,”
“I have expanded into doing a little more metal work – hand stamping and making bracelets from copper tubing and wire sheets. I still do bead work but primarily wire wrapping and metal work,” she adds.
Over the years, the business clientele has grown from being mainly women who love jewellery and handmade personal designs, to now include men, or persons who are just looking for gifts.
“It could be college age to young adults (who) tend to be the majority of the clients and then there are a few slightly older persons buying gifts for themselves more on the side of the personalised, dainty jewellery items,” she shares.
Dr Taylor says the response to her products has been very good, particularly when she markets at a physical location.
“I get a lot of feedback about what products they prefer. I get to see the ones that are selling really well and then I tend to produce more things along that line but the response has been very good generally,” she states.
QuziSu’ marketing also involves social media, face to face at pop-up shops and craft fairs, and by placing pieces in a physical store front for a limited time.
The items were recently on display at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) exposition focusing on the ‘orange economy’ at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
The ‘orange economy’ is a term coined by the Inter-America Development Bank and is used to describe the cultural and creative industries. It includes activities such as architecture, audio-visual arts, digital services, fashion, graphic and industrial design, handicrafts, music and software.
In 2012, the income generated from the global orange economy was estimated at US$547 billion.
The JBDC, an agency of the Government has been very useful in assisting the small entrepreneur.
“I signed up to be an exhibitor at their small business expo (earlier) this year and through being there, I have been able to interact a lot with the members of the JBDC particularly those relating to the Things Jamaican store,”.
In the aftermath of that experience, her products are now being sold in the agency’s Things Jamaican Stores at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.
“I’m hoping to also get further assistance from them in the future. I have to do more research on my part. They have specialists and persons who can advise me once I’m ready to come in to get some advice on how to improve my products,” Dr. Taylor says.
The entrepreneur is also exploring the possibility of working with the JDBC to increase the competiveness of her business and to employ best practices as it relates to managing a small business, developing a design identity, and using the appropriate marketing tools.
Balancing her fulltime profession as a general practitioner and her love for jewellery designing and manufacturing is no easy task, but Dr. Taylor explains that time management is an intricate component on her entrepreneurial journey.
Keeping a checklist and writing tasks that need to be done, helps her to keep on track.
“On a weekly or monthly basis, I just have to decide how much I want to get done with my jewellery business and then based on what I want to get done for the month, I have to block out days out of that week or a specific number of hours each day and break down the overall task into smaller tasks to just to get it done,” she shares.
In the meantime, Dr. Taylor is encouraging Jamaicans to explore avenues of monetizing their marketable skills.
“It doesn’t have to become a fulltime job. In my case, it is not my fulltime job currently but every ‘mickle mek a muckle’. So, if you have a skill, just do your research, find out how you can monetize it, and put in the work,” she adds.
Creative enterprises such as Suzanne Taylor’s are receiving increased attention and support from the government.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange announced recently that the Government will continue to pursue strategic policies and initiatives geared towards advancing the cultural and creative industries for the benefit of all Jamaicans.
“Recently, we got the green light to begin operationalising the National Cultural and Creative Industries Council. It represents a next step in providing meaningful support to our creatives, to ensure that they earn from their creations and abilities,” Ms. Grange states.
The Council has been charged with the establishment of a digital distribution and promotion platform for Jamaican music, video and fashion; the establishment of a Kingston Creative Media Village for increased visibility and accessibility of creative practitioners; the establishment of the Creative Skills Council, and the establishment of a Culture and Creative Industries Fund for Jamaica.
Share your passion with CVMTV, email us at lifestyle[at]cvmtv.com
CVM Television Limited (CVM TV) broadcasts 24 hours of scheduled programming each day. CVM TV aims to maintain high quality, first-world broadcasting standards and ongoing coverage across the entire island at all times.