Several female entrepreneurs recently showcased the fruits of their creativity at a fashion and cocktail event hosted by the Saint Lucia Industrial and Small Business Association (SLISBA).
“Cocktails and Couture”, an annual event hosted by SLISBA, allows members involved in beauty and fashion to showcase some of their work and mingle with potential clients and buyers. This year’s event was held on Friday, March 17, 2023, from 7:00 p.m. at the Romanus Lansiquot Human Resource Centre in Entrepot, Castries.
In attendance were His Excellency Peter Chia-yen Chen and his wife; Mr. Daniel Lee, Head of the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) in Saint Lucia; other TTM officials; SLISBA members and supporters; and members of the private sector.
On show were items from Em’s Creations, Suzy’s Designs, SEAM Luxurious, Tew Crochetz, among others.
A key feature at this year’s event was showcasing the work of the newly-found company, ‘Beautiful You by Caribbean Women’, which was formed late last year after financial support from the Taiwan government. The Taiwan’s support funded the training of 35 women — 20 from Saint Lucia and 15 from St. Vincent and the Grenadines — in soap-making and garment construction through a Women’s Empowerment Project undertaken by the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research & Action (CAFRA).
“We felt the participants of this particular project had done some amazing work and thought they really deserved to be highlighted on a national stage,” said Flavia Cherry, President of SLISBA. “That’s why there was a significant highlighting of the fashion items done by the participants of the Taiwan-sponsored Women’s Empowerment Project.”
Cherry said the event served to highlight the beautiful fashion — dresses, swimsuits, bedroom linen, costume jewellery, hand bags, and purses — and a wide array of soaps, creams, body butters, hair oils and pomade, shampoo and conditioner, and body washes, made by the women.
“Many of these products were actually produced by ‘Beautiful You by Caribbean Women’,” Cherry said. “This was done deliberately to inspire and motivate the participants and get them into the private sector organisations.”
Cherry said that, through SLISBA, many of the participants have been given the opportunity to interface with the private sector, with five of them attending a trade mission to Martinique that was hosted by SLISBA. However, ‘Cocktails and Couture’ was the finale that gave them the boost and confidence they needed having participated in such an exciting project. She expressed gratitude for everyone involved in the project, noting that the generosity of the Taiwan Technical Mission is benefiting women in many ways.
“A lot of support was provided by the Taiwan Technical Mission, especially from Ms. Sophia Jan,” she said. “She was always around and attended every activity, including the training sessions from the very beginning. That was very positive. It shows that the Taiwan Technical Mission also has an interest and was keen to see the work that was being done. So that was greatly appreciated.”
Cherry said that among those who attended this year’s ‘Cocktails and Couture’ was a buyer from Martinique who has already placed an order with one of the participants.