If you’ve been to Art Nest at our current location on Maclendon Drive, you will undoubtedly have met the face behind Outlandish. Jasmin Sumaroo is a prolific artist and artisan who designs and creates unique jewelry and plushie toys. She teaches various pour methods in the Fluid Art classes as well as DIY crafts and also leads Sunday Sewing classes at Art Nest. As busy as Jasmin is, we were happy to carve some time out of her schedule for our Q&A session to go behind the brand of Outlandish.
Art Nest: What was your profession/career before you founded Outlandish?
Outlandish: I was an Insurance Administrator for thirteen years. When I was in middle school, I started off at the insurance company as folding papers and climbed the ladder to taking on front desk duties. My hard work and dedication didn’t go unnoticed and eventually I became a filing clerk until I took on the role of an Insurance Administrator.
Art Nest: What made you want to leave your secure career and take up the mantle of being an entrepreneur?
Outlandish: I became tired of the corporate rat race as it didn’t allow me to express my artistic side at all. I dealt a lot with data and numbers and I began to feel that being on that career path wasn’t what I envisioned for myself. One day I was at my desk diligently doing my work and Pinterest popped up on my phone and I had to question myself why I’m not doing the things I loved full-time. I knew I was a creative and wanted to be able to express that side of me in everything I did. Outlandish started out as a grass roots project with it being a side hobby while I worked in the corporate world. When business started picking up with people seeing my social media posts and querying where they can get it and for how much, that’s when I realized I was on to something and decided to pursue my side hobby as a full-time career.
Art Nest: Have you had any regrets in becoming an entrepreneur and running Outlandish full-time?
Outlandish: I think my only regret is not preparing as well as I should have. Once I had the realization of the direction I wanted my career to go in, I gave my employers my notice of resignation and just left after the three-week notice period. I had no savings or anything, just a determination to pursue my dream.
Art Nest: Tell us about the origins of the name of your company; why did you choose “Outlandish”?
Outlandish: The name originated as a nickname that I had while I was at high school. It came from a group of guys who used to say that I was “outlandish” because I was outspoken and what they thought was “feisty.” They would say to me “you outlandish gyal!” I decided to take what could have been perceived as a negative thing and turned it into a positive as I felt Outlandish not only represents my unique character but also now embodies my unique designs in jewelry and craft-making.
Art Nest: What is your background in craft, jewelry making and sewing?
Outlandish: Well I think it runs in my genes to be a creative person. My grandmother was what I would call the ultimate dabbler: she was a seamstress who made all her curtains and clothes, she did thatch-work, crochet, knitting, and hand embroidery just to name a few. My dad is an upholsterer and has been sewing since I was a baby. Even now, the sounds of his big machines going are a source of nostalgia for me. Although, they didn’t take me under their wings in terms of showing me the ropes, I learned from seeing them sewing and loving what they do. I wanted that for myself too. For the jewelry making I picked up on my own because it was something I loved to do.
Art Nest: How did you come to partner with us at Art Nest?
Outlandish: Christina reached out to me having seen my work on social media and in person and invited me to partner with them. I jumped at the opportunity as I saw it as another avenue to explore my creativity.
Art Nest: Out of all the many creative talents that you have, which is your favorite skill to practice and why?
Outlandish: My favorite skill that I love to practice is jewelry making. I love designing and making new pieces because I love jewelry. Although it’s not the craft that I do the most. I tend to spend a lot of my time sewing as it’s the one that takes up a lot of time with each step that I have to do to get from design to finished project. For me, Jewelry making comes a lot easier and so I can dedicate less time while still keeping production up.
Art Nest: What is your vision for your company?
Outlandish: My ultimate dream is to take my company to an international level. We are already in various outlets on island and now in Cayman Brac Heritage House. Eventually I want to take Outlandish to the USA and Canada – for starters. I am also in preparation to become a silversmith and that will take my jewelry making to another level. I’ve got so many ideas and plans for this new avenue of the jewelry aspect of my business that I can’t wait to share with the public.
Art Nest: Any advice for young creatives who desire to follow their dreams and become an entrepreneur?
Outlandish: I would advise anyone who wants to chase their dream is to go for it – educate yourself as much as possible on what you’re trying to do. Make sure that you hone your skills and that your end products are quality products so that you have return customers. Although you may be eager to sell the first things you create, I think it’s important to use those first creations as practice. A lot of people think that people are born with talent and although that’s true, I do believe that talent can be trained. To my want to be entrepreneurs: train yourselves to be talented and then build on that but never be afraid to pursue your dream.
If you want to collect your own pieces of Outlandish jewelry and plush toys, Art Nest Creative Studio has the widest collection on island. We look forward to seeing you there!