“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
~ Oprah Winfrey
Dr Safeeya Mohammed
At the intersection of fashion, entrepreneurship, and passion lies the unfolding of Shivonne Subero’s dreams. From a humble background, born in Trinidad, and raised in Venezuela as a child, Subero shares, “The things I am achieving now I never thought I was capable of accomplishing, but if you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hands.”
Through the entrepreneurial journey as a child, from as young as age five, Subero absorbed the experiences of her father’s shoe and clothing store. Her engaging persona caught the attention of customers and sometimes, just those simple engagements would lead to sales within the store. “They would stop and talk to the toddler just sitting by the shoe displays. Even at that age, I would passionately share details about the shoes in the store and I don’t think there was anyone that left without making a purchase!
“I was born into a family of entrepreneurs. My father, to me, was the most amazing salesman. As a child I’d observe him, I’d see him swiftly start a conversation with customers, and have them trying on and buying several pairs of shoes by the end of the interaction! He was personable, charming, and confident.
“My stepmom dedicated time to ensuring I understood colour combinations. I’d dress and undress a mannequin about ten times a day. If it did not sell, we’ll try other ensembles and ensure it was appealing to customers. Most importantly, she taught me how to listen and interact with the customers and suggest items according to their needs, occasion, and body type.”
Therefore, it was a natural career path, choosing to blend her passion for fashion with her marketing training and create her fashion label, Shivonne Subero Label, to develop a sustainable, ethical fashion brand that creates timeless designs for any silhouette, ensuring women feel confident and sophisticated.
“We design for any body type, as we believe every woman should have the opportunity to feel beautiful and self-assured.”
Ethical fashion is key to the SS Label. In recent times, there has been outrage and a call for accountability in the world of fashion. People are now paying more attention to the clothes they wear, what conditions surrounded the creation of those clothes, what materials were used, and what inspired the designs.
Ethical fashion is the design, production, and distribution of fashion items focused on reducing harm to people and the planet at large.
“With ethical production standards, our workers work in an environment that encourages creativity and originality of designs. Ethical fashion is the answer to the negative impact the world of fashion has on the planet and the people in it, and the SS Label holds ethical fashion as a pillar to our brand,” Subero says.
“More than anything, we understand the power of community and its ability to foster creativity and excellence. A mixture of Trinidadian locals and immigrants make up our vibrant team that has grown to become a family. To drive our stance for ethical work culture, we partner with local NGOs like the TTV Solidarity Network–a platform founded in 2018 to promote the human rights of Venezuelan immigrants in Trinidad and Tobago. We’ve also joined forces with the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) to work with creative minds and build a brand that treasures diversity and inclusion.”
Searching for one’s style, your advice?
“Build wardrobe capsules, pieces that are timeless, colours and prints that can be re-matched, and if need be, try creating Pinterest boards for styling your outfits, until your confidence grows.
“But most importantly, love yourself daily. Then throw on anything that can help you increase that feeling. I dress according to my mood, prioritise comfort, and then analyse the day to see what environment I’ll be in. So, wake up, look at yourself in the mirror, and say I love you, I value you, I am proud of you.
“Check in with yourself, how are you feeling? Where are you heading today? In my experience, you can be stylish and comfortable, and remember, your personality defines your style.”
Advice to fellow entrepreneurs?
“My advice to fellow entrepreneurs: Dream big, do what is right, and do not look to the side. Listen to those that love and care for you, and take constructive criticism. Remember to jump outside of your comfort zone from time to time. To make it in this life you got to help others.
“Treat yourself, but do not increase your lifestyle as your income goes up, decide to build financial stability, and then use your good fortune to help and re-invest. Finally, live in gratitude and celebrate all wins, no matter how small.”