In a sense, I can say I started 30 years ago when I arrived here with a six week old baby and some silk and silk paints to keep me occupied for the year. Little did I realise that 30 years later we would still be here.
My career was going to be in stained glass. I had studied at Chelsea Art School as a stained glass artist, but thought I'd put it on hold while we spent a year in the Caribbean, hence the silk and silk paints.
I soon started painting silk sarongs, hand hemming them and selling them at local craft events we would put on as a community at Christmas. Next I started to make kaftans out of my hand painted sarongs and Pat Beard, editor of Town and Country Magazine at the time, and a regular visitor to Mustique, kindly wrote an article on us to promote my cottage industry business. As a result of that my husband made a little website for me and I sold kaftans under the label "Lotty B - Mustique" to people in Palm Beach who would email me their measurements and I would make bespoke kaftans and courier the finished pieces to them.
At this point Tommy Hilfiger took a couple of my kaftans up to his NY fashion show at Bryant Park and Colin Fenn, from Fenn Wright and Manson, introduced me to the idea of printing my silks when hand painting became too slow to keep up with demand and kindly had my first designs printed up for me. In addition, John Robinson from Jigsaw showcased a small collection of my designs in his London shops. The kindness and encouragement from them all helped to build my confidence so that, in 2008, when the little gingerbread shop came up for rent, I took the plunge. We called it "Pink House" obviously!
It is a beautiful and iconic island treasure and, along with Basil's Bar, must be the most photographed building on Mustique.
When I took the shop on I already had quite an established collection of silk and linen kaftans and resort wear for women, so I added a line of linen printed shirts and swimming trunks for men under the label "Pink House Mustique" which has grown from strength to strength and they are all now sold around the world via our wholesale business and since the launch of the website in 2013.
Keep an eye on our Diary pages as we will be publishing more of Lotty's story over the next few months.
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