IN October 2017, Yvonne Clarke's life was like a roller coaster. She was crowned Miss Universe TT and was expecting to represent this country in the Miss Universe competition in Las Vegas.
With just about a month to go before the competition, Clarke was stripped of her title. It was alleged that she had violated a contract she signed under the local leg of the Miss Universe TT franchise. On November 2, 2017, she was reinstated as the representative.
Although she did not win the competition, Clarke said she came away from the experience being able to follow her dream of opening her own premium boutique, The Style Affair By Yvee. The boutique offers styling consultation, shoes, clothing, accessories and designer wear.
Clarke held her grand opening on December 2 at 16 Delhi Street, St James, where guests were invited to browse and shop from an array of styles, some from Clarke's own brand, and others from Caribbean designers. It is her dream to open more branches throughout TT and the Caribbean.
The Style Affair By Yvee started as an online virtual shoe boutique, the Shoe Affair By Yvee, in 2016.
"My virtual shoe boutique was so successful and the demand was great and many of my clients said 'Yvee, why don't you open a boutique'. And although I was not offering styling services with The Shoe Affair, a lot of my clients and friends were calling on me for styling, so I was basically dressing people all along and that gave me the motivation to go full head on into opening a brick-and-mortar boutique and here we are," Clarke said with a broad smile.
Clarke described her pieces as stylish and trendy, saying the fashionable woman would appreciate the unique pieces she carried in her boutique.
"I can definitely say that The Style Affair is for any woman. I enjoy making women feel confidently beautiful, so even if a woman is not fashionable or is not a fashionista like myself, she can come to the Style Affair By Yvee.
"I am going to style her whether it's for an event, whatever the event may be, and ensure that she looks fabulous. I am so passionate about fashion and styling, and as you know I'm an ultrasonographer, but fashion is really where my passion is. I am so eager to continue styling women and making women feel confidently beautiful on a daily basis, it's really what I love. There is no age, no size, and I can cater for everyone."
Clarke said she also carried Buttered Up Organics, a local organic skin care line which she said left one's skin glowing.
"I am really excited to have that skincare line featured here so I will be able to share some of my skin secrets. We have a lot of floral pieces and night pieces because I am Caribbean and Trinbagonian. I really wanted to be sure I had that Caribbean flavour in my premium boutique. It shows that we embrace the Caribbean here because the Caribbean is well-known for fashion, and we have so many talented designers not only in the Caribbean, but right here in TT."
Clarke said despite the trials she faced during Miss Universe TT 2017, she would always be grateful for the many doors that opened to her.
"I think being part of the Miss Universe competition and representing my country on an international stage was part of the motivation to really go brave and take that leap into expanding my business. A lot of people here today are people who supported me on that journey and are also part of my business network. I am so grateful for that love and support that would have stemmed from my representation."
As to the price tags, Clarke said she would be willing to negotiate.
"I would say that the prices are relatively affordable. I am going to be open and accommodating to my customers and clients, so I don't think that price will be an issue."