How it started
Everything started when I was 16 years old. I started to sew clothes for myself because I always like to dress differently. My grandmother was a professional sewer and when she came on vacation she would show me some sewing techniques and we would sew together. I continued sewing for myself and then, in my twenties, I started to sew clothes for other people, as a gift for their birthday. After that I started to get better at it, and in 2005 I started selling my clothes with a few people.
When people see me with my self made clothes, they like it so much that they would ask me if I could make one for them. And that is how I started selling my clothes. It was not a business yet, until my child went to study abroad.
Due to the fact that I am a single mom and I had to help cover the expenses,
I decided to start sewing and selling my designs to gain some extra income. Then I opened my boutique, where I was selling my designs and I made my own clothing line. So that is how my business started to grow. And now I also have my own website, developed by SnelleWeb, which is amazing.
While I was brainstorming on a name for my line, I was scrolling on the internet and I came across the rapper M&M. And then I said “wow, yes”, let me think of something.
I decided to reverse my name Janine, to Enina-J by Janine. That is where the idea originated from. It is different and it belongs to me.
Video that went viral
It was in the period of lock down when I was very bored and I decided to do the Don’t Rush Challenge. I wanted to do something a little bit different, so I used some scraps of fabric to make some new clothing designs. For my Don’t Rush Challenge I showed the fabric scraps and then I showed the design I made from it. When I posted the video, I started having views and likes and I was very happy with the 800 views I had. Then Julius Coco, a human rights activist of Curacao who has many followers, saw my video.
He liked the video and he decided to post it. That is when the video went international.
And I was like “what?!”. Me and Julius Coco were texting each other, so excited, because it was reaching 1 million views, till it actually reached 1 million. Now it has 1.4 million views, which I did not expect at all, but it is an amazing feeling. And that was my push to go to the next phase.
I always had the desire to go international with my design and my sewing skills. Due to the fact that we live in the Caribbean and the shipping fees are very high, I got stuck with the process of selling my clothes internationally. I asked myself; “How can I go international, while keeping my expenses low?”. At some point I was feeling stuck but the video that went viral gave me a push.
Here in Curacao I am already known, but I want to take the next step. My dream is to go further and grow my business. Because of the video that went viral, now I receive messages from all around the world. People from South America, Brazil, Israel, Africa, Nigeria and South Africa, but the majority is from the USA.
Support from people
I had a very good experience and a lot of support from women and especially from my loyal clients. I think, because my business has to do with fashion, I received all the support you could think of. Because at the end, every woman wants to be beautiful and wear exclusive clothes. I make 3 to 4 clothes with the same design. So there is a maximum of 3 to 4 people who have the same clothing, with the same fabric here in Curacao. After that, the fabric is not available anymore, because I buy my fabrics abroad. So they are very anxious to know what is new, what is coming next.
My biggest dream is to work on my own. I have a 9-5 job. I work during the day and when I get home I start sewing, designing, looking at tutorials about fabrics and new designs. I follow popular designers to see what they have and their new collections so I can grow as well. So my next step is to be on my own.
I am going to post patterns, drawn by myself, every two weeks. It does not go naturally yet, that is why I am very busy these days looking at how it must be done, what are my mistakes and what can I improve. The goal is to post a new pattern every two weeks.
How I heard from SnelleWeb
I had the idea of my website and my patterns, and I was scrolling on Facebook. While I was scrolling I came across an offer of 50% discount on a webshop. I said to myself “this is it”. That is when the process started. I messaged SnelleWeb on Facebook, and I received a reply immediately. I told them what was my idea and my plan, I received good feedback and I went to an appointment. I can say that the service was very good. I cannot lie, I was receiving answers on my messages even at night.
When my website was done I received a lot of compliments on the layout, the clarity and simplicity of my website. If someone asks me who made my website and how the service was, I have nothing to complain about. 5 stars!