Melissa selling her craft.<strong id=”strong-8″>.</strong>
STARTING with custom-made masks after the advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Melibeezz Accessories today incorporates much more, attracting women who want to make a fashion statement.
Delicately designed chains, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, made using high-end crystals, metals, and stones are the work of designer Melissa Sunanon-Ramsook.
The full-time mom, who resides in Manchester, started Melibeezz Accessories, which produces handcrafted jewellery and other customised personal wear during the pandemic as a hobby and a way to supplement her family’s income.
She describes her occupation as a microbusiness, which, less than a year old, came out of the demand for personal styling, which is very strong among women in Jamaica.
Metallic Czech fire polished beads in silver with a touch of aqua memory wire bracelet<strong id=”strong-7″>.</strong>
The entrepreneur told the Jamaica Observer, “I saw an opportunity to bring style to the most in-demand accessory that everyone was wearing during the pandemic, which was the face mask.
“I did this by designing and handcrafting mask chains using beads, crystals, and stringing material I already had available in my hobby kit.”
The designs became a hit amongst family and friends, and from there, Sunanon-Ramsook decided to experiment with earrings and necklaces.
These designs were also well received amongst family and friends and resulted in exposure by word of mouth.
Various earrings from Melibeezz accessories on display.<strong id=”strong-11″>.</strong>
High-end crystals, metals, and stones are used in the handcrafted chains, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
Sunanon-Ramsook says, “The most popular items now are my earrings, which are mostly purchased by trendy females over 21 because it’s a great value for money compared to local offerings.”
However, the year since start-up has had its challenges. She told Sunday Finance, “One of the challenges in doing this type of business is time as some of my pieces are very intricate. As mentioned previously, I am a full-time mom so you might set certain goals for a particular day and time, but the universe has other plans. I therefore do most of my work when everyone else is asleep, which can be very exhausting.
Ocean bliss memory wire bracelet.<strong id=”strong-1″>.</strong>
Sunanon-Ramsook, in trying to market her designs, was once told that she could not participate in craft fairs in her parish “ because they seemed too refined to be handcrafted and Jamaican-made”.
She recalls, “Though disappointed at first, I have actually come to see that as a compliment of my designs.”
Sourcing good, consistent suppliers of raw materials, especially when experimenting with new designs, remains a challenge. Her average raw material cost per month is $22,000.
Stainless steel and swarovski evil eye set<strong id=”strong-15″>.</strong>
She explains, “Since most of my pieces are custom-made, raw materials are only bought as needed.”
Still, Sunanon-Ramsook perseveres and is considering expansion by placing her products in local stores as well as internationally via online retailers.
With her target market of younger women in mind, Sunanon-Ramsook has had to utilise social media marketing via Instagram, WhatsApp, etc as well as pop-ups in order to gain exposure. The entrepreneur’s designs are on Instagram @melibeezz_accessories.
The entrepreneur says she has had quite a bit of success in publicising her designs via pop-ups at different locations, including Devon House and through the Made in Manchester Expo.
These have generated more followers on Sunanon-Ramsook’s Instagram page and an increase in orders and sales.
The business is profitable as there has been a consistent increase in profit to expenses per quarter.
The venture, she said, remains a microbusiness targeting fashion-savvy women 18 years and over.
Designs are “inspired by the hottest global trends but tailored for the local market”, says Sunanon-Ramsook.
Czech sky blue bead dangles<strong id=”strong-4″>.</strong>
Swarovski collection set<strong id=”strong-5″>.</strong>
Sterling silver kidney hooks with Swarovski Bermuda blue triangles.<strong id=”strong-6″>.</strong>
Stainless steel chain with crystal key swivel pendant.<strong id=”strong-9″>.</strong>
Stainless steel chain with aromatherapy diffuser locket oval egg.<strong id=”strong-10″>.</strong>
Melibeezz accessories display at Devon House, St Andrew<strong id=”strong-12″>.</strong>
14K gold filled ear threaders with brass turquoise patina dragonfly<strong id=”strong-13″>.</strong>
Czech fire polished beads<strong id=”strong-14″>.</strong>
SUNANON-RAMSOOOK…“I saw an opportunity to bring style to the most in-demand accessory that everyone was wearing during the pandemic, which was the face mask