Passion for Fashion Jewellery
A love of jewellery coupled with a curious dilemma spurred this lady into expressing her artistic side. Wanda Brooks relates how she turned her hobby into Wanda’s Stationery & Gifts.
How did you get started?
I started in 2000 because I had a love for jewelry. My former religion never allowed it, so I grew up not wearing any jewelry. My ears aren’t pierced, so when I started wearing jewelry, I had to remodel regular earrings into clip-ons. That was the beginning. As I kept on rearranging the jewelry, sometimes I would purchase a necklace and like the beads but not the design; so I would redesign it to suit myself. When people started commenting and complimenting me on my designs, it motivated me to start my business.
What else do you make?
I make different crafts. I like to work with shells so I make different souvenir objects from shells, like birds, turtles, owls, and butterflies, as well as pen and pencil holders.
Where do you get the shells?
I go shell hunting on the beach. After a storm, you can find a lot of different shells, rocks and driftwood washed ashore. Sometimes I might see a unique design on the internet and if we don’t have that type of shell here in Anguilla, I end up purchasing that shell.
Are your pieces only for women?
I do necklaces and pendants for men, mainly out of wood. I also have a children’s line, and recently had my first Christmas line.
Was this something you enjoyed as a child or is it something you picked up as an adult?
The jewelry making started as an adult but I’ve enjoyed the craft since childhood. It was something I enjoyed as a child in school.
How often do you have showings of your craft?
I do shows for special occasions like Valentine’s, Easter, Christmas, The Valley Street Fairs and summer. I also have one or two showings in between those events.
How did ‘Mumbo Jumbo’ come about?
While on vacation, I was playing around with three strings put together and I started to put different colored pearls on each string. My niece approached me and said, “Aunty, what are you making?” I said, “Hmmm, just a mumbo jumbo.” She said, “Yes, that name suits it very well.” When I made that first colourful mumbo jumbo, I came back and showed it to my co-workers, who liked it, and I made a few more. Ever since that day, I’ve made a lot of sales on that mumbo jumbo and the name stuck to some of my pieces.
Do you do custom orders or do you just sell the items that you’ve designed?
If someone comes in with their own design I will try it out and see how best I can make it for them, but most of my designs come as I play around with the beads.
I plan to have a shop one of these days, maybe here at home or, you never know where it will end up. Depending on how well it’s going, I might have someone running it, or just have it open on evenings and weekends so I can be there myself.
What do you do when you’re not making jewelry?
Jewelry making is my hobby; it takes up a lot of my time. I am also very involved in the church. My husband and I are both pastors, and we’ve converted our living room, dining room, and one of the bedrooms into a church. It’s been good for the past 12 years. One day, we hope to have our own church.