After successfully crunching numbers as an accountant working in media publishing for top magazines in New York, Jamaican native Marsha Fashina fell in love with the creative process behind the scenes.
Although she was on the money side of the business, she was captivated by the bold colours, patterns, trends, even the models rocking the runway. “Being from the island, it was a colour pop, watching them grab pieces and putting them together for a finished look. Fashion is a language of art, ” she told Flair. It was with this mindset that this powerhouse took a leap, moving from her office in the Big Apple to open House of M.
Fashina started with a virtual store, entertaining the occasional pop-up shop. But that was not enough. Two years in, her brand became an artistic reflection of her own intrinsic style and prowess for fashion. And so, her boutique was born.
Located at Altamont Terrace in New Kingston, the showstopper boasts mannequins adorned in the latest trends, a lush green backdrop for pictures, and a gold-framed full-length mirror on the wall reflecting the fiercest of them all.
The elegant pieces selected and curated by Fashina for her boutique, include but are not limited to maxi dresses, short dresses, shirt dresses, jeans, blouses, pants, rompers, jumpsuits and swimsuits. The sizes for women start from extra small to three-extra large.
The owner and certified fashionista met with the Flair team in a stunning ivory jumpsuit, golden blonde hair and rocking idolatrous accessories of a warm smile and an engaging personality. She spoke about the store’s offering and what it has been like opening in a pandemic.
“It was important for me to find hot fashion for everyone. I also carry accessories like hats and belts, as well as a few male shirts,” she shared. Effortless style is the order of the day. Customers continue to marvel at the one-of-a-kind nature of the brand and the impressive quality of the clothing purchased.
Opening in the midst of a pandemic hasn’t been easy, she revealed, noting, “Jamaica is heavily based on entertainment and social gatherings. So that will affect the fashion department. But I made the decision to open a boutique for the long haul. So I’m looking forward to the post-pandemic period.”
Fashina’s five style essentials:
- A blazer
- Pair of high-waist palazzo pants
- Button-down cotton shirt
- Black dress
Fashina runs a full-time business, but she is also a financial consultant, working with clients who sometimes reside in different area codes, so there aren’t enough hours to keep up. But she dominates and conquers her schedule. Her day usually begins at 4 a.m. and wraps up at about midnight. The mother of two is also happy to watch her daughters grow, and she still looks forward to hearing their stories.
Beaming with great pride, she said while one of her daughters shies away from her line of work — she’s a skateboarder — the other cuddles the stylish concept, calling her mommy’s store, the gallery. Her princess enjoys playing dress-up, especially during her mother’s photoshoots and live sessions.
Her advice to aspiring business owners is to have a solid sense of financial planning, study the market you’re pursuing, and include marketing in the financial plan, “Your brand is important, but marketing is going to bring it to your customers,” she added.
Make-up: Jody-Ann Ramsay
Models: Julian Farquharson and Jodi-Ann Hanson