By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
Artist and designer Rochelle Wilson-Knowles has accomplished what many entrepreneurs only dream of doing: she has moved her home-based business into a brick and mortar store.
To to think, it all started at the bottom of a fish tank.
Rochelle specialises in using what nature has to offer to make her creations – everything from seashells to seeds. She is also big on beads.
She got her start when her friend Tony Colebrooke showed up one day with a large fish tank filled with seashells. His question to her was, “What can you do with these?”
“And not knowing what to do right away, he paid for some shell craft classes for me, and the rest is history. My first creation was a larger, four by six foot, mirror that is now displayed in my store on Robinson Road,” she said.
Today, Mr Colebrooke remains the carver for her shells. Others who have assisted her on her journey are Clevette Charlow Williams, her jewellery teacher; April Martin, a seashell crafter, and Pippa, a coconut carver.
“I give thanks to God in allowing this awesome group of people (to) help stir up the gifts inside me. I love you all,” she said.
Since those humble beginnings, Rochelle has greatly evolved in her craft.
At her new store – Chell Tunez Creations, located in Jamere’s Plaza on Robinson Road – she offers necklaces, bracelets and earrings, as well as photo frames, bags, candles, jewellery boxes, and even soaps.
Her goal is to become one of the leading bead stores in the country and eventually take her designs to the international market.
“My journey has been great, from starting as a home-based business to having a store, I have had some awesome opportunities. I have worked with famous artist Monty Knowles, the creator of the Junkanoo Nymphe. I have been featured in New York Fashion Week. I was also featured in the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans; have graced the runway at the New York Caribbean Fashion Week, featured my items at the opening of the BTVI building, was nominated as the first jewellery designer for the Bahamas Icon Awards, to now having my own business storefront, this is awesome,” said Rochelle.
She believes in her field of work there are no limitations when it comes to creativity. The designer names her children – Carson, Jonae and Adam – as her biggest influences, saying they are the reason she continues to work hard and strive only for the best.
“My customers always offer feedback saying the true beauty of my products (is apparent in natural light). I remember my most memorable client, a diva that goes by the name Rochelle Fowler. She was one of my first clients and she is still one up to this day. She loves colour and isn’t afraid to let me get creative with looks for her. She wore one of my Icon Award pieces and was truly stunning. I felt blessed,” said Rochelle.
To keep up to date with the latest Chell Tunez Creations, call 466-5045 or check out the Facebook page at Chell Tunez Creations Ltd.