Yello Interviews: Stephanie Bridge, Founder of Jewellery Brand ‘Mon Serrai’
by Karen Rollins May 1, 2023
Montserratian Stephanie Bridge has been living in Antigua since she was a child after her family decided to leave the island of her birth soon after the devastating volcanic eruption in 1995.
Stephanie loves being creative and has tried her hand at various art forms including painting, photography, and jewellery making.
She initially began selling some of her handmade silver and gold-filled pieces in 2019 just before the pandemic but has now decided to take a leap of faith and turn her skill into a full-time business.
Yello asked Stephanie to tell us more about herself and her micro enterprise – ‘Mon Serrai’.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
A quiet creative, indulging in every aspect of island life.
Please tell us a bit about your background.
I was born in Montserrat and lived there until two years after the volcano destroyed half the island. I came to Antigua when I was seven and have lived here ever since.
Were you always a creative person?
Yes. I’ve moved through a variety of art forms; photography, painting and drawing in various mediums, and now jewellery making.
What were your initial career plans?
I studied marketing so something along those lines. I’ve found that knowledge has been transferable to my business regardless.
Why / when did you start making jewellery?
I’ve enjoyed tinkering with it since I was young, but started taking it seriously around 2017. I just like constructing something from nothing.
What was the first piece you made?
I remember making some terrible rings that I gifted to friends at first – I’m sorry guys!
When did you start your business ‘Mon Serrai’?
I started selling my pieces in 2019, just before COVID started! At that point I had grown a considerable inventory of pieces that I was happy with in terms of quality, so I wanted to see if other people liked what I made.
Where did the name ‘Mon Serrai’ come from? Does it have a meaning?
Yes, it’s a play on ‘Montserrat’, where I was born.
What were the challenges you faced starting the business? How did you overcome them?
Probably lack of advisors or mentors (this was self-inflicted) so I often learned everything myself or the hard way, which meant slow growth, but growth built on a strong foundation of trial and error.
Where do you get inspiration from for your designs?
My pieces are mostly Island inspired. I like to get lost in nature and draw inspiration from the various textures, shapes, and colours around me.
What materials do you enjoy working with?
Mostly silver with some gold-filled here and there. I like pearls – they are my preferred ‘stone’ but I also work with amethyst, turquoise, sea glass – anything earthy or reminiscent of the sea.
Who are your customers? How do they find your products?
The minimalistic, elegantly wild feminine. They find me mostly online, and also locally at a few select retails spots.
What are your plans for the business over the 12-18 months?
I’ve actually moved to this business full time now, so I have big plans for the next year or so. As a one-woman show, I plan to make the business far more efficient by reviewing and improving processes. I also want to focus on perfecting basic silversmiths’ skills as best as possible while improving and expanding my range of products.
Are there any local / regional / international entrepreneurs who inspire you?
Too many to mention really. Internationally, it’s makers of all sorts who inspire me through their art. Locally, it’s ‘boss women’ who inspire me through their business moves.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Start somewhere, anywhere – just start. Think big, and wide. Try to diversify your offerings, make processes as efficient as possible, and delegate – focus on tasks that you are good at, and give tasks that you aren’t good at to people who are good at them.
What do you love the most about Antigua?
Island life in every aspect – the culture, the geology, the sites, the scenes, the celebrations, the weather, the fresh air, the stars at night. Everything about it!
If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Stop selling yourself short. See your skillset and the value it brings, and take it where it’s valued. There’s no growth in your comfort zone.
What is your philosophy / motto in life?
Treat others as you wish to be treated. Do whatever you want to do in life, as long as you aren’t harming another person, animal, or the earth.
You can find Stephanie’s jewellery on Instagram and Facebook or locally in Antigua at Ari’s Fish Shop, Energie, or Antigua Rainforest Zipline.
You can also contact Stephanie on [email protected] for orders. Website coming soon!