N Touch
Saturday 17 November 2018
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Ageless beauty and more

Donna LaRoche, owner of La Roche Unique Designs, shows her creations to a visitor at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park on Tuesday during the closing Emancipation Parade and Drum Explosion event of the Tobago Heritage Festival 2017.
Donna LaRoche, owner of La Roche Unique Designs, shows her creations to a visitor at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park on Tuesday during the closing Emancipation Parade and Drum Explosion event of the Tobago Heritage Festival 2017.

By Elspeth Duncan

Her radiant, wrinkle-free skin belies her age. At over 50 years old, Donna La Roche is, as she puts it “a product of the product.” Her understandably popular ‘Stay Younger Longer’ cream, one of the treatments in her Angeleyes Beauty Product line, is definitely not just a name.

“I use it religiously,” she says in explaining how her facial skin is like that of a baby’s bottom. “How else can I brag about my product? How else can you see it?”

Other products in her beauty line include Donna’s Luxurious Spa Bar, Stay Fresh Organic Deodorant, Lip so Soft Conditioner and Hair so Nice cream.

Donna is a walking advertisement not only for her beauty line, but also for the Natural jewelry, clothing and body adornments she creates under the name LaRoche Unique Designs. Her largely self made wardrobe is an exhibition of style, colour, Fabric Design Clothing and innovative form—uniquely personal pieces that one would not find mass produced and hanging on shop racks—Afri-Turban head wraps, sun fun dresses, jewelry and leather belts, to name a few.

Born in Tobago, Donna moved to Canada as a young woman and spent approximately three decades there, working mainly in the field of logistics. During this time her creative spirit was not at the forefront, however it naturally emerged when she was laid off from her job in 2007. Thankfully, when she was a younger woman still living in the Caribbean, she had become quite versed in the arts of Cosmetology and Garment construction, with friends and relatives benefiting from her services. In the aftermath of being laid off, these skills and more empowered her to launch LICAPS (LaRoche Image Consulting and Personal Shopping Services)—a name that speaks for itself.

Jewellery by Donna La Roche for La Roche Unique Designs

Today, one of the hats Donna wears is that of Image Consultant, specialising in ABC (Appearance, Behaviour and Communication) colour, personal style, Etiquette and body analysis and the ‘science behind what would look good on your particular body type.’

“What kind of glasses shape would suit you best? What kind of neckline really complements you? I will help you to understand yourself holistically,” she promises. “So many people say: ‘I don’t like this or that about myself’. Well, by the time I’m done with you, you will love who you are!”

On one trip back home to Tobago for holidays, Donna met the man who would become her spouse. It took that love to bring her back to Tobago permanently . . . “and the rest is history,” she says with a laugh.

Since 2014, the enterprising woman has enjoyed a peaceful life with her spouse in Charlotteville, spending her days creating products and venturing to other parts of the island only for business displays, sales and to meet clients or socialize.

Donna recounts what inspired her to venture into the realm of jewelry making—a skill that perhaps runs in her bloodline, as her sister Jacqueline designs jewelry for her enterprise Koko Karibi.

“I was walking in nature one day with my spouse,” Donna explains, “and suddenly everything came alive.”

The same leaves and trees she had always seen in Charlotteville took on a new appearance, their inherent qualities (hearts, lines, curves, colour textures) bursting into her consciousness and inspiring her creative spirit to soar.

Back at home, she embarked upon her first piece of jewelry, using . . . “you know that thing from the palm tree that we would sit on as children to slid down the hill?” She cut it into heart shapes and made earrings and a pendant for a necklace. She subsequently proudly wore this ensemble on a visit to her sister, who realised that her sibling was onto something new and needed help to evolve.

Jewellery by Donna La Rouche for La Roche Unique Designs

Together the sisters walked the beach collecting sea glass, and Jacqueline gave Donna a crash course in wire wrapping. “You can learn the rest on Youtube,” she then told her.

Donna would stay up all night experimenting, churning out pieces and stocking them, but not yet selling. That aspect would come later, guided (as she is with everything in her life) by Spirit.

A woman strong in faith, Donna is daily grounded, renewed and uplifted by her spiritual connection and beliefs. “I have a relationship with my Father. I don’t do anything without consulting Him and it’s been working for me.”

Everything she makes is as well infused with the energy of this deep spirituality.

“Everything it takes for me to have a successful business comes from Him—starting with something as simple as my personality . . .”

For Donna, one of the signs of success is that she can (and does) create with a purpose. More than simply being wearable art, her pieces are imbued with meaning. Especially in her work with gemstones she sees the piece that wants to be made by simply viewing a stone—and works with this vision while incorporating its deeper meanings and qualities. People are then naturally drawn to certain pieces. When someone learns the energetic properties of a stone to which they gravitate, they more often than not indicate that it is exactly what they need at that point to balance their life.

Currently Donna sells locally and internationally.

Internationally via:

online Etsy shop (LarocheUniqueStore)

FB: laroche unique Jewelry designs

FB: Angeleyes Organic Beauty Products

mail-outs to happy customers who demand her products when their supplies are exhausted.

Locally via:

Shore Things Market, Lambeau on the first Saturday of every month

Store Bay Craft Market (by appointment)

Tobago Artisan Premium Market held alongside Farmers’ Market in Lowlands mall car park every last Thursday and Friday of the month. Donna heads a group of Tobago Artisans and they have joined forces with this Market. Artisans’ products sold include leather, designer t-shirts and caps, bath & body products, candles, wines, paper maché.

Donna La Roche can be contacted at 868-332-6549 WhatsApp, Text or Call




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