Being sustainable does not only mean changing our actions when it comes to water and energy consumption, as well as decreasing our Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. However, it goes a little further and sometimes it is as simple as considering sustainable fashion options.
Janine Browne, a Trinidad-born Caribbean creative, writer, freelance journalist and the face behind the accessory brand Vena – The Goddess Experience, shows us through her accessories how we can merge sustainability with fashion. Vena – The Goddess Experience is a Caribbean-based accessory brand created for and inspired by the divine woman. Janine says that she is proud of the conscious steps made to use more eco-friendly and sustainable fashion options adding that “Fashion should never be bad for the environment.” The XX Team had the opportunity to hear from Janine on her beautifully crafted pieces and her journey as a local designer. This is what she had to share with us.
Did you always see yourself becoming a designer?
Absolutely not! I always say that design is something I tripped and fell into, but I would never call it an accident because I believe all of our steps are divinely ordered. What started as a random hobby during university, morphed into friends requesting pieces of their own, which further grew into, “Hey! This can be both a passion AND a job”. I also work as a writer and freelance journalist but my fellow millennials, in particular, will understand when I say, it’s becoming more common to have several career interests co-existing.
How did you learn to make these accessories?
Trial and error, literally. I’ve always liked making stuff, something I attribute to my mom who I like to call the Queen of DIY’s. Her mom and my grandmother, Vena Browne (to whom the brand owes its name), also worked well with her hands. So I suppose it’s safe to say, it’s in my blood.
Who or what are you inspired by?
Everything. Inspiration comes in many different ways, and I try my best to leave my spirit open to ALL of it. Sometimes a conversation sparks a new design. I’ve gotten design ideas while running everyday errands, and while sitting in office meetings. Music also helps to channel my creativity. My most recent favourite song which I play while I work is India Arie’s album ‘Worthy’.
How are your pieces different?
Ahh, one of the things I’m most proud about is that the pieces I create are both fabulous but good for the earth. I incorporate recyclable material into each piece and it is cool to see how one can find magic in things that others may be quick to discard.
What has been your biggest struggle thus far in the industry?
Fear, to be honest! Fear and entrepreneurship do NOT go well together. You can have both but definitely not at the same time. Most problems are solved from the moment I adjust my mindset from “What if I fail?” to “I’m going to try anyway, and learn if it doesn’t go as planned”.
As for a more tangible struggle, it would be the fact that there are limited resources/suppliers available locally that cater to jewellery-making.
Do you find yourself being supported by other local designers?
I consider myself a baby of sorts in the business, so I haven’t met or interacted with some of the well-known designers (yet). However, those that I have crossed paths with have shown nothing but love, light and support. I always preach that there’s enough room at the top for all of us.
What can we look forward to in the future from Vena – The Goddess Experience
Apart from more amazing designs, I’ll take this opportunity to share a project I’m so excited about. We’ll soon be launching ‘The Goddess Talks’. The aim is to feature women from all walks of life who are excelling in their own unique way. So stay tuned, you just might see one of your faves being highlighted, or discover a new source of inspiration.
How can interested persons purchase these accessories?
We’re undertaking the task of creating a website, so in the meantime, we facilitate sales through social media. Interested persons can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and via Instagram @vena.tt
Do not be afraid to take up space. Your work is valid and deserving of recognition. Walk in your power and let your work ethic reflect your passion. All that you desire is already yours. Ase!