Dawn Bacchus is a Vincentian native who recently brought her small business, ironically named Immense Bags, to foreign lands for the first time. Although it’s just across a small channel, thanks to the Trade Export and Promotion Agency in Saint Lucia she was able to display her creative handmade bags, hats and jewellery in our island. During the three-day TEPA Expo, she told the STAR that she would definitely consider her trip a success. Here’s the story of how Dawn’s unexpected business began.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
Dawn: Because of the size of the bags! I started by making some really big bags. It was actually my son; one day I was wondering, “What am I going to name this?” and he suggested ‘Creative Something’. But I didn’t want to call myself a creator; I ain’t Jesus! [Laughs.]Then he told me to call it ‘immense’. Immediately I asked, “Why immense?” and he said because every bag I made was so huge.
What inspired your business?
Dawn: I was in Barbados for medical reasons and I wanted a bag to go into town but all I had was a small side bag. I wanted a big one, so I went into town, bought some fabric and cooked something up. It was a Japanese-styled bag, where you make it but don’t sew it. When I went into town again with my new bag I began to notice the different types of fabric available, especially burlap. I didn’t even know there were so many different colours of burlap in yards. I started buying so many types. The other bag that I made after that was a leatherette bag which I sewed by hand. Then when I went home, my son noticed my bags and he asked me to make him a messenger bag. I did that too. And that’s how I started doing bags.
Do you make only bags?
Dawn: No. Right now I do all sorts of bags as well as jewellery and hats. I do the jewellery in my spare time.
Tell us about your hats.
Dawn: Well I was inspired to make hats that don’t disturb your weave. So what I do is able to surround the hair-do and provide shelter to your face. I do other hats like bucket hats as well. No matter the size of your head or your hairstyle, I have something that can fit. I’ve been using my son as a mannequin for new designs.
Do you have any other jobs?
Dawn: No, this is only what I do presently. I’ve gotten so much support and requests for new stuff I don’t have time to do anything else. When people buy a bag I smile, and I go home smiling while making another one. They always come unique though, I never make the same bag twice. It wouldn’t be nice to see two people with the same bag.
How has business been so far?
Dawn: Over the years it’s definitely grown. Some time periods are slower than others but that’s how it is. Right now I’m only producing and selling in Saint Vincent.
What brought you to Saint Lucia?
Dawn: I was a part of the group Vincy Klus that TEPA contacted to get businesses to come to Saint Lucia to showcase.
What has the response been like in Saint Lucia?
Dawn: Well it’s just like exhibitions at home. A few will come in and buy and a few will look at something but are still hesitant. But considering here is not home, I’m encouraged by the response from Saint Lucian locals.
Do you think that it’s something you will continue doing?
Dawn: Yes! Once people continue to love my bags, I will continue to make them for as long as I can.
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