By Lakhram Bhagirat
Venturing and putting herself out there for others to criticize has never been a part of Christine Persaud’s modus operandi but her love of the experiences and the creating items has eventually pushed her out of her comfort zone.
Through her brand Christine’s Meraki, she has been providing more than just products and services to her clients. She has been providing quite the experience.
The 24-year-old mother of two has two boys for balancing family life and building her empire but gave all the credit to her supportive family – mainly her “hero” father.
She grew up seeing her father work hard and had a childhood where her mother was well-balanced caring for the family and building her life even when Christine’s father was absent. Her father worked at sea so there would be times when he would be out of the picture for weeks with no contact but her mother would never allow his absence to be felt.
The same strength that Christine is now drawing from as she grew up with her own family and balanced the building of the Meraki brand. Meraki covers all the products and services Christine offers and is a wide variety that includes craft, henna designs and decoration.
She lives up to her slogan: “Show me what you want and I’ll do it.”
However, as stated earlier, Christine never had the confidence to put herself out there and explained that, despite being a student, she was forced to explore her creative side more deeply due to their lack of financial resources . She has always been quite reserved.
“Being a small business owner really surprised me. I had no plans for starting a business because I was always afraid of new ventures until now where I challenge myself on a daily basis. All thanks to social media, I was encouraged by friends (online) to pursue my talents, ”he said.
Growing up, Christine always lacked creativity and art. She remembered taking markers and drawing on her hands, creating designs similar to henna patterns. Though she thought no one noticed, her first revelation came as a result of ducking on her hands.
“One day, I decided to try the henna cone itself and post the results on Facebook. A friend of mine saw the mail and asked me to do the same over Eid. I told her I have no experience and little knowledge. But she still insisted that I was capable enough. So I gave it a shot.
“She was very pleased with my work and decided to recommend me to a relative and that’s when I made my first married henna. Subsequently, constant recommendations and practice led me to become a professional henna artist. It was fun to start from scratch and have a beautiful creation as a result, ”he said.
That led him to his quest for craft and started with something as simple as a desk organizer then moved on to paper flowers and further into cake tops and so much more.
She said being a full-time mother to two boys and a woman makes it challenging to leave home every day to work so the option of being home and earning is one that has proven to be attractive to her.
There is no doubt that building a brand is a difficult task, and there have been and challenges in Christine’s development of the Meraki brand.
At first, the biggest challenge was finding the money for investments and while her husband was always there to support her, there were times when she thought a failure was imminent and wanted to put the best for her. Also, when she started making henna designs, she was four months pregnant at the time so having to sit for hours doing extravagant wedding henna designs took a toll on her.
“I have some moments where I want to give it all up but my love for what I’m doing has been my fuel to keep going and keep pursuing the goals because there are people who have inspired me and I also people that I hope to make proud one day.
“The local market response has been amazing. My products and services have traveled to most parts of Guyana because of the excellent support from so many people who have the trust and faith in me. Also, I have a huge appreciation for my social media followers who may not be buying anything but still dropping something similar and sharing or some kind of encouraging words on my posts. There are also some real pearls that would message me privately to share some constructive criticism that really helps to make me better at my job and fix my mistakes, ”he said.
Christine offers henna designs for every occasion and would visit homes. She makes decorations and event planning for any event. For the crafting aspect, if you can anticipate it then it can try to implement it. Currently the best booksellers are customized items, whether they are key chains, wine glasses, pillows, T-shirts, wooden lettering. There is also a wide selection of fashion items depending on the occasion such as flower crowns, floral headwear, corsages, and a new line of jewelry items has recently been added. The best part is that it does almost everything it provides.
“My henna cones are usually handmade and filled on that day of use just because it’s more freshly mixed and delivers better results. Most of the materials for other aspects of my business are not readily available in Guyana. This can be a struggle at times. These items would have to be transported from other countries, thus delaying production time. At the moment, I have no employees, so basically it means I’m doing everything from design, cutting, assembly and packaging. This makes production even slower which is why there are only smaller orders per day. “
Over the next five years, Christine hopes to be leading a team of talented individuals and building her brand.
“Your dreams may seem strange or military. Some people may even tell you that you are never going to do them or that you should stick to a 9-5 job. But keep believing in yourself. Experiment and practice as much as you can. No matter how many times you fail, once you have a love and passion for what you do then it will shine through and also remember that it will not be easy but it will be your greatest achievement, ”he said.
If you want to contact Christine then you can do so at 692-0443 or visit her Facebook page, Christine’s Meraki.