SHE has achieved her dreams of becoming a professional model, entering Miss World and Miss Universe, being a public relations executive and becoming an attorney, but former Miss Cayman Islands Stacy-Ann Kelly is not yet satisfied, and has embarked on her latest venture — to become an entrepreneur.
The 34-year-old Jamaican-born woman who migrated to the Cayman Islands at two-years-old, plans to draw on the skills garnered in her other professions to launch her web-based T-shirt line in the coming weeks. Her T-shirt line — Code 876 — will capitalise on the Jamaica 50 celebrations and the Olympic games both scheduled for this summer. The first two collections under her clothing line will be called, "Run the track" and "Since 1962", and are geared towards Jamaicans in the Diaspora who want to express their patriotism during these two major events.
Kelly said the idea to have a T-shirt line was sparked during her time studying in the UK some years ago. She was extremely disappointed when her search for a T-shirt to wear during the World Championships in Germany turned up futile. With her online collection, she hopes to at least present an option for the Jamaican Diaspora, and ultimately portray T-shirts as much more than something to be worn around the house.
"There is so much to the Jamaican culture that needs to be captured, I think, on a T-shirt. T-shirts are like walking billboards and there are a lot of positive messages that I can get out there," she said.
But despite her good intentions, the process of setting up her company has been one of her most challenging experiences to date, particularly because it is web-based. Still, Kelly has always achieved her goals, and is skilfully working through the kinks to launch her company in time.
Given her focus on her new venture, Kelly has shelved, for now, her legal career, although she has been called to the bar in the United Kingdom and Cayman Islands, and was practicing at a law firm in her home country. Despite increasing pressure from relatives, she said having a family is not part of her immediate plans either, although she won't turn down a great guy.
"I think for me now it is difficult to find a partner, just because I am in the church. And then when you have done as much schooling as I have done and travelled extensively as I have, you find that you are not going to settle and so it's going to take a special guy," she said.
Prior to going to law school, the up-and-coming entrepreneur graduated with a first class honours degree in media and communications from the University of West Indies, Mona, and was also nominated valedictorian during her graduating year. Given her specialisation in public relations, she worked with several companies as an expert in this area, and in 2004 was crowned as Miss Cayman Islands.
"I think now I have a clear view of where I want to be, but with my personality there are a lot of things I want to do — a jack of all trades and trying to work on being master of all — but I think this is where I want to be, I want to be an entrepreneur," she said.
Kelly jokes about her mother's patience, given the fact that she changed her career ambitions so many times while growing up. At first she was crazy about becoming a professional model, and spent hours with her family watching pageants as a little girl. So far, she has modelled for agencies such as Elite Milano and Next Milan Model Agency, among others. Now that she has achieved those goals, she just wants to make her contribution to the fashion industry by creating T-shirts with catchy taglines that the busy professional can slip into on the weekends.
"I like the challenge that it has presented, believe me, it has presented so many challenges (but) it has helped me develop as a person, it has helped me develop professionally," she said of her new venture.
"I am now using all of my skills, so it's not like I wasted three years at UWI or wasted three or four years studying as an attorney. I am now using all those skills to benefit me," she said.
Kelly became a Christian while studying in England, and also has plans to create a Christian T-shirt line someday, but for right now her focus is directed towards the Olympics in London where Jamaicans are expected to rule the track.