Entrepreneur Lisa Davis was in search of a colouring book for her daughter that featured black characters and was disappointed when she could not find any at the stores she visited.
It was then that she decided to not only create her own colouring book but also a line of dolls and other products for girls of colour under her company ‘The Craft Ppl’.
“Representation matters, and in Jamaica, we have a lot of imported books and they’re not necessarily geared towards our people, especially girls of colour. So when I was looking around and trying to buy one for my daughter, I was not seeing her face on anything. It’s all blonde hair, blue eyes and light skin, so I decided that I would create something,” Mrs. Davis tells JIS News in a recent interview.
Her book ‘Colour Me Sweet’ was released in 2018. It is available at Fontana Pharmacy, Bookophilia, University of the West Indies (UWI) Bookshop, Art Connect Ja and the Holiday Inn in Montego Bay.
Mrs. Davis, who is a fibre artist and illustrator, says that she has been passionate about art from a young age, and has no regrets about taking the leap to become a full-time entrepreneur.
“I have an accounting degree from Northern Caribbean University (NCU), but I had various jobs. I was a receptionist and I also worked in accounting departments at various companies. At one point, I was at a design company as an administrative assistant – all kinds of different jobs,” she says.
Mrs. Davis tells JIS News that she started her company in 2014 as a part-time operation called ‘Sweet Feet’, which made various crocheted items.
“It wasn’t anything major at that time. It was a hobby. I used to do bags occasionally, but I was mainly focused on the shoes. I used to do baby shoes and baby hats. I changed it (the name) to Knits and Hooks because I realised that I was not just making shoes.
“Then I started to crochet dolls and bags and blankets and a wide variety of things. After a while, I was not just knitting anymore. I was also sewing dolls and I started to draw and paint and do graphic design, and it has really evolved,” she says.
She notes that the new name ‘The Craft Ppl’ reflects the diversity of her offerings. “All the other names were too limiting and I am a crafter at heart. I added ‘Ppl’, because in the future, I hope there will be more than just me employed by the business,” she tells JIS News.
Mrs. Davis says the use of technology has helped her to grow as an entrepreneur and artist in a major way.
She notes that she invested in software programmes to create the images she had in mind for ‘Colour Me Sweet’.
“I would draw the images on the computer as if I’m drawing on paper, except now it’s digital, so it cuts out the scanning work and the work between pencil and retracing,” she says.
“It’s really an investment because these things are pricy,” she notes.
Mrs. Davis also credits technology for assisting her with the marketing and sale of her products.
“I use my social media to advertise, so that helps,” she says, adding that “I try to participate in as many craft fairs as I can.”
She is expressing gratitude to the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) for providing her with support and motivation to market her business.
“JBDC made suggestions as to what I should do to make my products more market-ready,” she says, noting that she also displays her products at JBDC expos.
“I went to my first expo at Devon House three years ago during the festive season, because [JBDC] encouraged me. When I thought I was not ready, they encouraged me,” she adds.
Mrs. Davis says her next major move is to promote her ‘Fresh, Fly and Funky’ blouses and complete a colouring book for boys.
“People have asked if I am not creating a colouring book for boys, because boys need encouragement too. That is coming, and it will be called ‘Colour Me Cool’ she tells JIS News.
Members of the public can view Mrs. Davis’ range of products on Instagram @thecraftppl; or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.