Peacesbyanya is a brand of African and Caribbean-inspired accessories and apparel but Thonya Joseph wants it to be more than that. She is building a sisterhood.
The Barbadian business is only a year old but it is already making an impact.
“We are overwhelmed by the response and support that the brand has received thus far. The brand began out of a lunchtime conversation on how to one must try to live their life to the fullest and do things that make you feel fulfilled,” Thonya (pictured below) says.
During that conversation, Thonya’s friends who were already business owners encouraged her to start her own enterprise. She decided on the idea for the brand, the name and even the platform on which it would be launched on that day.
That was June 2017. Now you can get headwraps and headbands, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and bangles, and T-shirts.
Trying new materials
Thonya is still doing quite a bit of experimenting with materials including wood, rope, cloth, bead, metal, and copper.
“Learning to work with new materials has been such an interesting and stimulating experience for us. Seeing how materials can be manipulated is fun stuff,” she says.
Thonya gets inspiration from many sources.
“Some nights it’s difficult to sleep because ideas just keep rolling around in the brain. So we definitely have a muse speaking to us and we thank God for that muse. Our customers are also a true inspiration to us. We have loyal customers who continue to inspire us to try new styles and use different textiles. In addition to our customers, we have a STRONG support system of family and friends that have supported and encouraged the brand from its inception.”
And let’s not forget other creatives.
“We follow a lot of black art and natural- inspired brands but we love the work of St. Lucian brand Meme Bete. Maybe because we have familial links to the island but her work is first-class and she uses lots of beautiful prints in her work.
Many of the women who support Peacesbyanya also inspire Thonya to produce new products.
In fact, Thonya says the variety of products made in the first year is the brand’s biggest achievement to date. This has led to growth in both the number of customers and her level of confidence. So much so that Peacesbyanya hosted a pop-up shop recently to give other women-owned brands an opportunity to showcase their products.
Peacesbyanya in five years
Even bigger plans are in the works.
“We would love to have our own storefront where customers could come and shop the experience, a kind of natural girl haven that is colourful and filled with art and our products.
“We would also like to expand the product base to include clothing such as printed tops and skirts. We would love that within five years the brand would be known for its creativity and boldness within the region and also internationally and that our products could be accessed via our very own website,” Thonya says.