Cut it Out
The husband-and-wife team Daryl and Vanessa Thompson are nothing if not multi-talented. His gifts: graphic/web design and watercolours. Hers: singing and poetry. The duo took a few minutes to talk about how they’ve slotted their new line of fashion accessories, Fashion Cuts, into a schedule already cramped with PR & marketing, social media management, laser engraving and, most importantly, their two young children.
You guys are involved in many things. Do you mind listing what they are?
Vanessa: Wow, ok. Well, currently, I’m working with Black Orchid Florists doing PR & Marketing. I also do Social Media Management for a number of other companies in Anguilla and the USA. And I sing, too. Can’t forget that. I sing with Asher Brooks, who is a wonderful musician. Right now we do a few gigs a week, which is great. I am always looking at new artistic ventures, so of course there are the earrings — Fashion Cuts. I write… poetry, prose, anything really. I just was asked to be one of the artists at the Anguilla Literary Festival, and it was surreal for me to be around other likeminded individuals. We got nametags. Mine said “Poet”. I took a picture of it and was like, “Wow, I’m a poet!”
Daryl: I run an engraving store that specializes in trophies, laser engraving and design. I’m a freelance graphic designer. I do everything from logos to websites. You know: branding, identity, stuff like that. I’m also an artist. My mediums are watercolour and occassionally pastel. And we started Fashion Cuts, our earring brand. So, we are working on those now, which is exciting.
How did jewellery get in the mix?
V: Well, like Daryl said, he runs his family business, Alloyd Enterprises, and there is a laser machine there. There are these conferences for people who have the laser, and there was one in 2010 that was in New York, up by Niagara Falls, so Daryl decided to make a short vacation of it and bought me a ticket to go with him. I went to all the workshops about the laser with Daryl. There were just so many other people there who were using this machine for art, you know, and before that I hadn’t thought you could use it for anything other than engraving plaques or stuff like that. Stuff that people brought to Alloyds. So I thought, “OK! We are going to do art with our laser.” And I sort of said to him, “Earrings would be cool,” and he thought it was a great idea. It was a way to bring something new to Alloyds.
How would you describe the designs?
V: The designs…the designs are bold. I don’t want to sound too cliché, so I want to use some other adjectives…ok, so bold, fresh, unique. That was cliché, wasn’t it?
Where does the inspiration come from?
D: The inspiration comes from all over. I sometimes find that I’m looking at women’s earrings when we are out, and then I think, “Ok, Daryl, you’re a guy, why are you noticing these things?” We mostly look around online or in magazines. Sometimes Vanessa sees something she likes and sketches it, and I make it into something the laser can read.
D: We use natural materials like wood or leather, and we also experiment with different types of acrylic.
Why only earrings? It seems so versatile that other things could be made as well.
V: I’m big on earrings. Sometimes I may be in a hurry to layer on other accessories, but I always ALWAYS have on my earrings. Some people have asked us to do some necklaces, and we did, but I really didn’t mesh with the idea. After that, we just decided to stick to earrings and really develop the ways in which we could build the brand that way.
How did you two meet?
V: It’s Anguilla, we didn’t meet. We just always knew each other. Ok, no, in all honesty, Daryl was always in love with me.
V: We met in APPLE Theatre, which was a summer programme run by a Canadian woman. We were always cast to play the lovers in the musicals we did. So we became friends, and Daryl saw how amazing I was.
D: I gave her a chance, since I always thought she had an attitude problem.
V: We were friends for a very, very long time before we ever started dating. Daryl is my best friend. He was my bestest friend, and now he is my husband.
D: It was interesting, because most of our friends always thought we would end up together. And here we are.
What’s it like being a husband-wife team? Any disagreements?
D: We have disagreements, but it is easy to work them out, since we can always pick up the conversation, because we are always around each other. It works with our work, since we don’t think of it as work. It’s stuff we love to do. We bring that to the table as a husband, and wife and it flows.
V: I think being a husband-and-wife team is great. It always gives us stuff to talk about, and we have loads more in common. It’s really perfect, actually.
Who does what in the business?
V: I do everything.
V: Ok, well, for Fashion Cuts, we approach the idea generation together. Sometimes I will come to Daryl with an idea, and he makes it actually doable. A lot of the times, he is behind the scenes marketing the brand while I’m doing the designing. Although with the new line, which we just launched, he did a lot of the design work on his own, since I was busy with the baby.
Who’s the boss?
D: I let her think that.
V: I let him think that he thinks that.
With so much going on, how do you make time for family?
V: There is always time for family.
D: Definitely. It’s our number-one priority.
How do you spend a perfect Anguilla day when you’re not busy?
V: Hmmm… probably at Blanchards Beach Shack. We love going to the beach, and we love their food, so it’s the perfect solution. Definitely the beach, for sure. If not, then we hang out at home with the kids and play in the yard.
How is Fashion Cuts distinctly Anguillian?
D: It’s important to us for Fashion Cuts to be something that can compete globally but still represent Anguilla. It’s distinctly Anguillian because it’s made and designed by Anguillians, here in Anguilla.
V: Everything. We are always looking for a new project. I’m toying with the idea of writing a book. Daryl is going to start making more time for painting. Who knows? We will have to see.