Greeting cards convey a special expression and sometimes varied feelings of love and emotion, joy and celebration, support and encouragement and other attributes passed on from one person to another.
And while people from the region have grown accustomed to purchasing cards for one reason or the other, often times, they are imported products.
However, a young Saint Lucian female artist had other ideas, since according to her, the allotment of cards on display at the local stores did not appeal to her.
And so, Zeleta Weekes set about with the idea of producing her own unique brand of Caribbean authenticated greeting cards.
About five years ago, the Ti Colon resident, in the quarter of Castries decided to spend her free time involved in doing something substantial or should I say worthwhile.
Weekes recalls walking into a store to purchase a card, but felt that the wordings on the card to be a bit “blunt” and so, “I found myself still buying one, but having to add my own words in there.”
It was then that Weekes came up with the idea of creating some ‘personalised cards’, in an effort to complement the imported products. “So then the idea came up and I thought, what if we were able to get persons cards that they can now put in their words, what they would really like to say and personalize it as well. And that’s where the idea came,” she explained.
And so Zeleta planned on moving forward with her innovations.
“At first when I started to create them it was just cards, but when I decided to add the wording and everything, I started with my own writing,” said Weekes. “And then I offered persons the opportunity to put in their own words”.
“So now persons could write exactly what they want to tell the other person, which is an amazing feature,” she added.
The business name – ‘Zeenovations’, is a concept with a mix of the artist’s name and the word innovation.
Added Weekes: “It is really just an innovative way of just creating and designing paper products. So, our goal for the business is to allow persons to really utilize some of the products that we have to offer, such as, journals, bookmarks, greeting cards and anything of that sort …and they can now put in their words, or we can create their own personalised designs. So, it’s definitely something you can’t walk into a store and buy.”
She explained that the company uses imported pre-designed paper to produce their goods, and some cards are embedded into an already crafted pattern “and so that adds a feature to the design and quality of the cards.”
Weekes utilizes different tools to create her designs, such as , cutting stencils, a pre-cut machine , laminating machine , and other ‘accessory designs’ apparatus “you want to use , to kind of uplift the design of the cards.”
Assessing the status of the business on a production scale, and their current standings, Zeleta says: “Currently, I still cater for individuals, like for someone celebrating a birthday, anniversary and so forth … but the business is more like a personalised thing, so it is not something that you would create randomly.”
She adds, “However, we have gone into supplying the market with general cards.”
With the Yuletide Holiday season in the air, Weekes feels it is also an opportune time to offer persons these greeting cards.
“I think what really changes the meaning of the card itself, is that it’s personalized …and it now has the words of someone in there,” she explained. “We also offer for persons to have someone’s photo imprinted on a card.”
And with the Yuletide season on, Zeleta agrees that it is appropriate to add a West Indian or ‘Caribbean touch’ to the Christmas greeting cards, since some of the cards are also distributed overseas.
“We actually do a variety …and we also produce a fusion of the international and Caribbean trends. And we do have some cards that come with a nice ‘Piton’ background or a picture of the beach, to kind of remind persons overseas of what you’re missing.”
On her participation in the Sandals – Handmade Saint Lucia – arts display, for the second time, Weekes said: “I think so far, the feedback that I have been getting …a lot persons have been buying into the idea, and a lot of persons appreciate having the opportunity to give a personalised card, and it is definitely something that’s growing.”