In 2017, when a series of traumatic events threatened to derail her dreams of becoming a jewellery designer, Melisha Coke, principal of Aisha's Inspirations, used her passion for jewellery design to turn trauma to triumph.
It was a passion ignited while a student at the York Castle High School in Brown's Town, St Ann. Her mother, Marlene Donaldson, was a self-proclaimed fashionista whose signature elaborate jewellery and clothing piqued her interest. “I wanted to create my own line,” Coke told All Woman Fashion (AWF). Always quite resourceful she often scoured her house in Runaway Bay, St Ann, for raw materials and would use the crochet thread and broken jewellery she found to craft earrings and necklaces that rivalled the designs her mother wore.
The turning point came in 2003, while enrolled at the Brown's Town Community College. Her creations started to attract a wider audience prompting Coke to start making custom pieces. As encouraging and enjoyable as this was it was far from lucrative. “It was not a business at all; I was not earning from it,” she informed.
Her mother's death in 2014 intensified her jewellery creation, becoming her therapy. Then from deep introspection came Aisha's Inspirations, “the moniker I was given as a child,” she shared.
Coke's designs, though birthed during a very dark period in her life, are bright, bold and beautiful. “My creations allowed me to find light and happiness and for that I am grateful,” she said.
Thirty-five-year-old Coke is today a prolific jewellery designer who handcrafts intricate designs with her four trusty pliers. Her popular Sea Glass Collection is a compilation of stones collected during long, reflective walks along beaches in St Ann. Other pieces are made from local coconut husk and zinc. Besides looking fabulous, her designs are functional, and are made with love in Jamaica.
“I want to be a household name,” Coke shared. With recent displays at the 8th Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference, an exhibit at the recent 'Mission Neahlis & Friends' event, as well as a pop-up shop at last month's Kingston Creative 'Fashion Ova Style'. AWF reckons that she's well on her way.
Contact Melisha Coke through Instagram @aishasinspirations or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.