I'm Makisa, the Owner and Creative Director of JoVew by MAKISA. I've forever had a love for art and romance for as long as I can remember, and also dreaming the unimaginable. This enthusiasm for creation ventured me down the part of design. I obtained my BA of Fashion Design in Fine Arts from the Caribbean Academy of Fashion Design in 2012, feeling like I was on top of the world. Then a couple months later my mother passed away and my world stopped. My love for romance, my ability to dream the unimaginable came to a standstill. It was not until over a year later my world began to turn again, and now I can create my love story between my brand and myself through the JoVew handbags which I'm so honoured to share with you. JoVew by Makisa was unofficially launched in 2014 while I was an assistant designer at a Fashion clothing company. The passion and commitment I place into creating a love story between you and your handbag is what the brand is about. Since graduating, I've been featured in local newspapers, magazines, fashion blogs and also on the regional television series Mission Catwalk. Currently, the JoVew brand is dedicated to creating the ideal online shopping experience for you, the best in the Caribbean. Each handbag is handmade with love and with great quality by Me, and all artwork is handpainted by my amazing team. #madeintrinidad The response to all the products thus far has been simply amazing, and the JoVew team is constantly working towards improving the product and the shopping experience.
SB-C: Tell us about your Caribbean background. ML-L: Well I am Trinbagonian. Trinidad is my birth country which I love with my every thing. I always see growing up in the Caribbean as something beautiful and a privilege thing. Living amongst people of different races and background creating one culture of numerous traditions, foods, and beauty. The beauty of sunny days and the comfort of rainy days, and though sometimes there may be some discord, islanders always know when to unite.
SB-C: Please share your entrepreneurial journey with us and how you ended up creating JOVEW. ML-L: I graduated from the Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design in 2012 with my BA (Honours) in Fashion and Design. I was not completely sure how to go about putting these four years of hard work to use. My work was shown in Barbados that year and then in January 2013 I was convinced to sign up for Mission Catwalk television series in Jamaica and it was an amazing experience for me. I later started working at a fashion house as an assistant designer for about 2 years. During that period my love for handbags grew, and I ventured into my own brand JoVew by MAKISA. I began selling through pop up shops around the islands (TT) then I ventured into selling online where I immediately feel in love with ecommerce. Through selling online, my work was picked up by retailers like The Shop Normandie, Simply Runway, Tomace to name a few and I'm currently in the process of supplying my products to other islands, which is amazing to me. I'm also beginning a series of workshops to encourage people to follow their dreams and passions and pay attention to those desires that were birthed in you. That's it in a nut-shell .
SB-C: What is behind the name JOVEW? ML-L: My mother was an artist of different mediums. She somehow knew when I was born that I would be a creative also so she gave me the name Makisa Jovan and my surname is Lewis. So knowing this I’ve always wanted to use to my name for my brand. And that’s where JOVEW was birthed. It’s a mix between Jovan and Lewis. And it means Majestic Warrior. So everyone that rocks a JoVew bag is a Majestic Warrior in their own way.
SB-C: You are branded as affordable luxury. How do you make something luxurious affordable to anyone? ML-L: I consider Luxury to be a feeling. A state of great comfort or elegance is what it means and that does not mean it has to be extremely expensive for you to feel that way, but luxury comes from the value that you place on a product and the fondness you experience while wearing it. Some people believe luxury comes from a price tag, I believe it comes from quality and personal comfort.
SB-C: What is the inspiration behind the bags you design? I live for inspiration. ML-L: I’m inspired by so many things around me, from architecture (I love architecture and interiors of homes) cultures, art forms but most of all, love stories. I based all my collections on some sort of love story. It’s hard to explain sometimes, but I see love and romance as a part of living with purpose.
SB-C: Do you believe Caribbean fashion brands have the potential to go global? ML-L: Definitely and that's where I’m taking mine.
SB-C: Are there any Caribbean designers you would like to collaborate with? ML-L: Oh yes I would love to create a luxurious handbag line with Bahamian designer Theodore Elyett. I absolutely love his work and him as a person.
SB-C: What words of encouragement do you have for the aspiring fashion designer? ML-L: It’s time to take flight. There are dreams and passions that were birthed in you for a reason and it’s that time for those around you to see you soar.