One of Jamaica’s biggest claims to fame is the dynamism of our Cultural and Creative Industries. Entrepreneur Weekly continues to dive into this industry in Jamaica as it is a thriving and vibrant part of our economy. There are individuals who have taken the plunge into monetising their creativity and have reaped great fruit. One such company is Rêve Jewellery, owned by the dynamic sibling duo Teasea and Duane Bennett.
What is Rêve Jewellery?
Rêve is an international award-winning family-owned jewellery brand launched in Kingston, Jamaica in 2006. Rêve is known for their custom designs in gold, silver, copper and brass. They proudly boast that they create haute couture jewellery for hire as well as provide cleaning and repair services. You can spot Rêve’s unique earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets and cuffs, sandals and anklets as they stand out with their eccentric and Caribbean feel.
The Rêve Jewellery Story
The unique name is of French origin and it simply means ‘to dream’. As a young girl, Teasea, Chief Executive Officer, dreamed of owning a business with no immediate thought of what she wanted it to be yet. All she knew she wanted it to be called Rêve. This dream became a reality as the other half of the duo, Duane Bennett began to create very unique jewellery pieces that his sister loved deeply and passionately. Duane the creative genius behind the brand is a goldsmith and fine jeweller. He however began to experiment with non-traditional and non-precious metals like copper and brass. They describe their work as “wearable art” which is a perfectly coined phrase for their product expressions.
The prospects of business inched closer as persons would constantly compliment Teasea on the pieces made by her brother. On one fateful occasion, a woman was willing to pay a considerable amount for a brooch Teasea had and she immediately realised that this had the capacity to become a flourishing business. She asked her brother if he would be okay with her being his manager and he gave an emphatic “yes” and the dream became a reality.
Transitions and Levelling Up
The year 2009 marked a significant transition in the brand as they went into owning a store. “We got a grant that enabled us to kick off our first pop-up event and the JBDC’s previously held event called Kumba Mi Yabba provided a space for us to launch off into retailing as we generated sales from those events as well as we got feedback from customers, ” she said.
Teasea noted that “We were always in a space where we wanted to level up and make our brand a global one. We went into retailing. This was an entirely different learning experience and we now have our store at Devon House where we sell our pieces as well as showcase the artistic work of other local designers and artisans.”
JBDC and Rêve Jewellery
The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) has always taken the work they do with individuals within the Cultural and Creative Industries very seriously. Teasea came to the organisation upon a recommendation. She said “We have always sought guidance and had business mentors from the onset and one of the persons in our corner rightly directed us to the Jamaica Business Development Corporation and the rest is history.”
Continuing, Teasea added “The JBDC taught us about the importance of laying a structure if we were really serious about building our legacy. JBDC’s Things Jamaican™ store has also been integral in our process as through them we were given market access.”
Guidance for Creative Entrepreneurs
Teasea was duly awarded “Leading Female Entrepreneur” in the local artisan industry in 2015 by the Ministry of Tourism. She has now launched into giving consultation and advice specifically to creative entrepreneurs and she shared some of her own lessons along the way with Entrepreneur Weekly. Teasea said “Entrepreneurs, you must invest in your ideas, invest in your brand and protect what you have so it will not be copied.”
She continued by saying “Creatives and artisans must take the protection of their intangible assets very seriously and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) helped us significantly in this matter.” Concluding, she underscored the importance of rest and said “take care of your mind, body and the people around you.”
The Way Forward
Rêve Jewellery can now boast that their work is in over 20 countries, because they were serious about taking their brand globally and this is their continued mission. Rêve’s vision is a lasting legacy, “When we leave this earth, we really want people to still be wearing and being part of the vision for this company.”