SERENDIPITY led Aniqua Richards-Lafeuillee to discover her talent as a jewellery designer.
Richards-Lafeuillee, 24, of Government House Road, Scarborough, is owner of AQ’s Handmade, a home-based jewellery design business which she started 11 months ago, after she received a beading material from a family friend for Christmas.
“I honestly didn’t think I would end up here and loving this thing so much…when I officially started making jewellery as a business, I was between jobs and was just trying to do something to at least have some money in my pocket, but when I got feedback from my customers it really encouraged me to continue.
“I have always been a very creative person but never took the time to explore it,” said Richards-Lafeuillee, who as a child wanted to be a photographer, and has worked in the media.
She didn’t have much trouble convincing her mother that jewellery-making was for her.
“My mother was very excited. When I did my first official AQ’s delivery, I sent her a photo and she responded saying, ‘I am so proud of you,’ … I am very grateful for the support of my mother.”
She developed her skills and techniques with help from YouTube and Pinterest. She has added string, cord, glass beads, natural beads, healing crystals, glass and plastic seed beads to her materials to craft fine jewellery pieces.
She now boasts two collections: Get Waisted and Chakra Series.
“Get Waisted is a collection of waist beads. Waist beads are an African tradition, women wore them for many different reasons. Sometimes it was a symbol that a woman had reach an age to get married, some wore it as a symbol of femininity and only the partner of the woman had the honour of seeing them…but now waist beads are more or less a trend and a way to keep track of your weight. I also have the Chakra Series jewellery from healing crystals that symbolise seven of the 114 chakras in the body,” she said.
Her waist beads and anklets are her most popular items.
Dealing with challenges in sourcing a regular supply of beads and material in Tobago, and without a capital investment to afford a plentiful supply or to properly outfit her work room, Richards-Lafeuillee nevertheless is persevering with her passion.