Meet Nisha Doughlin, jewelry designer and entrepreneur behind Metah Designs, a rising jewelry line in Trinidad & Tobago. Listen in as she shares openly about overcoming the awkwardness of introducing yourself as the face behind your business, and be sure to get a notebook to jot down motivational steps and encouraging tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
In this video interview, I ask Nisha about her:
- journey into jewelry modelling
- courage to ‘go live’ online
- advice for nervous newbies to business
- insight into joy and work
Here is Part 1
Metah Designs “Everyday – anyway kind of jewelry.”
JWI: In your last interview, you shared that even though you always had a knack for fashion, jewelry making was not something you were into. It was something you were called to do. Can you share a little about that process?
Nisha: Fashion was nowhere even blipping on the radar; it wasn’t even a thought in my mind. But as I got older, and now that I look back I see all of the connections; I see how much fashion was a part of my life. It just felt almost natural to me – it wasn’t something I had to think about to do – to get dressed or if I have to go somewhere, I know what outfit would work for that. I know how I should do my hair – my makeup, what I should wear – what kinds of jewelry…
Because people liked my style or they would compliment me on things, I was like,
“Hmmm, maybe I could be a stylist,’ but at the time I didn’t have the language for it ‘cause I didn’t even know that was a thing or a job.
How I went from that to making jewelry, is where I can’t answer that part. The only thing is that it was something that was divinely inspired. I can’t draw a straight line to save my life. It’s not like I had some kind of exposure or experience in making jewelry. I literally one day said, “Hmm, I am gonna make jewelry.”
I started collecting my friends’ old jewelry. I had a bag full of beads that I never did anything with. One year, I went to visit my father who lives in the U.S, I decided to go to Michael’s and decided, “let me get some stuff for jewelry. I didn’t do any research; I didn’t look up what kinds of things I needed or what did what. I bought a teeny-tiny toolkit. I didn’t know what those tools were for or how to use them.
I came back to Trinidad and I just made stuff – this was 10 years ago. I don’t remember if I was actually looking at books but the first set of pieces I made were recreations of things that I saw.
And when they got sold, I was like, “This is what I am going to do.”
And I knew from them that I wanted to work with silver. Working with beads was temporary – it was the start but it was not where I intended to stay. So now I work with silver and copper and brass, and I love love love what I do.
I knew that part of what I wanted to do was to make women feel good about themselves. It really was something that was God-led or God-inspired, I knew that the name; it couldn’t just be any random name. It was about, for me, metamorphosis, and the word ‘meta’ means ‘to denote change.’ Me and Jesus came up with Metah Designs, which is meta, the root word, and the ‘h’ – ‘cause I like to be a lil different. The ‘h’ adds a little flair.
Joy and Work
I think joy is very important. There are amazing things happening, and I see that because I’ve been consistent and I’ve applied myself to what I do consistently, but there are times when it’s really difficult. I think if you don’t have joy in doing what you’re doing…that’s why joy is key, because you need something to sustain you in dry periods or where you have ups and downs. If you look at your regular life, nothing is 100% awesome 24/7 – 365 days of the year. There are times when things get difficult or things get hard. And then you add something like Covid – it’s a global thing. So joy is important.
Knowing why you’re doing something is important, I think that adds to the joy of it because you understand that it’s a bigger picture and you’re not just living in this microcosm of just this one thing – you understand the repercussions of what you’re doing, and the reach that it would have for people.
Because I know I want women to feel beautiful, and not just a superficial beauty but like that intrinsic (beauty) connected to the value of who they are as a person; that God-given beauty. Because they were created in His image and in His likeness, I understand that what I do is bigger than just creating jewelry. I pray that the right woman will get the right piece.
Women have told me, “this is my favourite piece; I love this.” I get that so often that I’m like, “Thank You Jesus.” I know that is…answered prayer.
JWI: How have you overcome insecurity to be now doing IG live videos and photoshoots with your pieces?
Nisha: That was really very scary for me; to go live – that first conversation that I had. Even to model my own pieces; even putting my face on my page was very very very scary for me because as much as I am an extrovert and I am a people-person, it’s a whole other thing to put yourself out there – this is not just like my friend seeing this or posting a picture in a family group – this is like people I don’t know – this is the world. I’m opening myself up so I was very vulnerable. And especially ‘cause things like imposter syndrome where I feel like, ‘Who am I?’
But again, because this business is not just me; this is a partnership between me and The Lord, so the things that I do are not disconnected from what I feel He is telling me to do. I have my jewelry in one store in Trinidad, and when Covid hit everything shut down and everybody made this mad dash to social media. I am not a ‘bandwagonist’ and I don’t do things because people say that’s the thing you should do for business. I feel like I need to be intentional, and the things that I do – it needs to be connected to my bigger goal. I felt like The Lord was telling me you should do these live conversations. I was like, “What?” I’d seen other IG lives where people have like two viewers or one viewer and I was terrified that that would be me.
But my first conversation went really well. I was fortunate to start with MeiLing who is a local design icon here (in T&T), and even that is another story – like, I see how God is networking me and placing me in the right places with the right people.
Modelling her jewelry.
When a friend asked me to model, I was like, ‘What? That not me; I’m not Instagram model type person; I’m not this influencer type person‘ – at least I didn’t think so. And then I realized that I do have influence with people; I just didn’t realize it. This was before me really even understanding who Jesus is and who I am in Him. People would always stare at me and I would always wonder – random people, and I never understood why and it was only recently I understood that I do have something that people are drawn to and that I do have a level of influence that I didn’t think that I had.
It’s something that I literally have to pray about like every single time, “please help me, please help me…” I can’t do any of these things that I do without the help of the Holy Spirit – and just doing things that are very uncomfortable to me. But because I feel like this is what The Lord is leading me to do, I am being open.
Encouragement for aspiring entrepreneurs
Just start. I think doing it is the first step, and doing it with what you have; not waiting ’til you have 500 tools and all the material that you could dream of and all of the skill. The more you do that thing is the more it becomes natural for you to doNisha Doughlin
Thanks for sharing your journey, insight, encouragement, gifts and time, Nisha.