She’s a project accountant by day, a ceramist in her spare time, and a mother to three kids all of the time. One might think Gina Smith’s agenda is full to the brim, but then one would be mistaken, as this superwoman has yet another role to play – that of business owner.

Over the last decade, Gina, who also considers herself and advocate and ambassador of Bahamian culture, has established her own brand of dinnerware. Her Cultureware By Gina Luree brand is unique in that its designs are inspired by Junkanoo. The juxtaposition of Junkanoo and crockery may be an unusual one, but it’s a concept Gina fully believes in and stands behind.

She opened her first store on Frederick Street off Bay Street in 2007, selling only Bahamian-made products and Junkanoo-inspired dinnerware, tablecloths, beach towels as well as lamp shapes and bags.

“What I like most about being an entrepreneur is the freedom and the joy of doing what I love. The idea of Cultureware came from me asking God to give me an idea that would help to preserve the culture of Junkanoo in a practical way,” she told Tribune Woman.

Her brand may have taken a few years to really take off, but then she got her first big break in 2009.

“In 2009 our dinnerware was chosen and presented as the state gift for the Miss Bahamas at the Miss Universe Pageant in 2009,” she said.

A similar honour came in 2016 when Cultureware was presented to the Cancer Society of the Bahamas in the form of an original mug designed to help in the fight against cancer. Proceeds from the sale of these mugs assisted the Society with their day-to-day expenses.

Gina said she was most inspired by her mother, Mary Knowles, who gave her the gift of strength; her mentors Jessica Colebrooke, who taught her the basics of ceramics, and Melisa Hall, who helped her find her voice.

“I will continue to promote Junkanoo, the culture and the marine life of the Bahamas. For now, Cultureware is a home-based business that has products sold at Sonya’s Things and Tasty Teas on Dillet Street and Third Eye Bay Street and the Cancer Society of the Bahamas. We have just launched the Islands of the Bahamas mugs that highlight every island of the Bahamas individually and our Junkanoo coasters. We will release our conch shell collection mid-year and in December. Our second art show will be held on the first Sunday in December,” said Gina.

Cultureware will be displaying its latest creations at this weekend’s Bahamas Junkanoo Art & Music Festival

The original article can be found here

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