Women in Business: Caribbean Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur Kimya Glasgow
by Karen Rollins Apr 8, 2019
Entrepreneur Kimya Glasgow is the creative force behind her own fashion brand which she hopes will bring a modern version of classic Caribbean style to the world.
Born in St Vincent but raised in Trinidad, Kimya views herself as a citizen of the Caribbean. She was encouraged by her mother’s family to express herself creatively but had to convince her dad that instead of studying law like he did, she was destined for a future in fashion.
Kimya pursued an Associate Degree in Fashion Design from the Barbados Community College and then worked in a non-fashion related job in the British Virgin Islands.
When she qualified for a micro-business loan the process of becoming the Chief Executive Officer and Head Designer of her self-named clothing and lifestyle brand began.
Kimya recalls: “That’s how I stepped into business and looking back, I should have been a lot more scared than I was. But when you are young, tenacious and driven, you believe you can move mountains.”
Find your gift
Kimya is open and honest about the numerous mistakes she made along the way but says a ‘goal-oriented attitude’ enabled her to learn and grow. She believes her primary school teachers helped to foster this mindset.
“They encouraged positive thinking from the get-go, instilling in us that we have a special place in this world. God has given you gifts, they’d remind us, and you have to figure out how you will use them to positively impact others, even if in a small way,” she says.
Kimya found that her gift is to create beautiful things, and while running a fashion startup is a daunting challenge, she feels giving up would be like burying her talent.
Instead, she has ambitious plans to share her vision with the world.
Kimya wants her high-quality resort and swimwear pieces to be available to women wherever they are and is focused on building a sustainable production model. She wants to gain a foothold in the US, UK, Europe, and Dubai where she has already captured the attention of buyers.
She adds: “We have exceptional talent in St. Vincent that often does not go beyond our shores. So, I’m working on raising the capital to enable me to partner with local artisans.”
Advice for female entrepreneurs
Kimya believes female entrepreneurs have a lot to offer their communities and the world and says unnecessary obstacles on their path to success should be removed. She urges other women in business to “know your worth.”
She explains: “When I say that, I’m not talking about just the legal side. It’s the invisible things we do and say every day.
“Boys are never asked to set aside their entrepreneurial ventures to help mop the floor or wash the dishes. But if a woman is baking cakes and making a living doing it, it’s seen as a hobby.”
But with vision and the appropriate support, Kimya says some so-called ‘hobbies’ can be turned into profitable businesses.
Kimya has benefited from programmes such as Women Empowered through Export (WE-Xport) offered through the Caribbean Export Development Agency. WE-Xport provides women with access to mentorship as well as the technical and financial support needed to grow their business ideas.
With the help of WE-Xport, Kimya has successfully scaled up her business and is getting ready to export her products throughout the region.
In 2009 Kimya won the Caribbean Fashion Award. She has also shown off her exotic creations on catwalks in Miami, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Kitts and St. Vincent along with Mustique, Bequia, Grenada, and New York.
The Kimya Glasgow brand is undoubtedly one to watch!
Find Kimya Glasgow’s fashion on her website: www.kimyaglasgow.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram @kimyaglasgowinc.
Kimya Glasgow will also be part of the WE-Xport booth at the Barbados Manufacturer’s Exhibition (BMEX) in June 2019. The WE-Xport programme is an initiative of the Caribbean Export Development Agency.