Meet Jemima Harrigan, owner of the popular House of Jem. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and this is exactly how House of Jem came into being. To date, Jemima has been the producer of numerous pieces, ranging from one-of-a-kind swimsuits to madras outfits and even special birthday outfits. With a multitude of beach parties sprouting up, House of Jem is never short of clientele aThend you can be sure to see numerous custom pieces designed by Jemima. By this measure, it is safe to say that her success has been immense, and is likely to continue.
How did ‘House of Jem’ come into existence? What was the inspiration behind it?
Jemima: There was a swimsuit I saw on Victoria’s Secret that I wanted to order for my birthday. I put it in my cart but when I came back to check out, it was out of stock. My mind was already set on that look and I couldn’t find anything else that I liked, so I decided to make one. People really responded well to that one swimsuit. Then I made one for a friend and people started requesting them. From there I saw an opportunity and I just ran with it.
How has the creation of this business had a positive impact on you as a person?
Jemima: Well it has definitely made me more responsible and financially conscious. Also it has encouraged me to put effort into the other things I want to pursue.
Describe the experience of being a young entrepreneur.
Jemima: It has been challenging at times. The more difficult things have been funding, to source quality materials at a reasonable cost (so that it does not affect my pricing) and machinery (to improve my standards and to broaden the variety of what I can offer). However, I’ve been managing.
What has support from the wider public been like?
Jemima: The public has been very supportive thus far. Random people always send me words of encouragement and my customers always make an extra effort to promote my work. Even people that are just impressed by my work help spread the word about the business.
Have you collaborated with any other Saint Lucian creatives like yourself, or worked on any joint projects?
Jemima: I have not done any joint projects with any of our swimsuit designers but it is something I would be open
to, if the opportunity arises. I have had the pleasure of working with a few of our photographers and I am
grateful for their work and their support.
Where do you hope to be with ‘House of Jem’ in the next five years?
Jemima: My hope is for the business to be on a regional scale. With the expansion I’m also hoping to provide work and opportunity for other young, talented creatives who are interested in the design industry.
What has been your favourite piece to work on?
Jemima: So far it’s “Red Beryl”. When I first started making the piece, I had no idea where I was going with it. Constructing it was really a free-thinking creative experience and I loved the outcome.
Tell us one random fact about yourself.
Jemima: I’m interested in forensic science. My major at university was actually biochemistry, nothing to do with arts or design.