In June 2016, Monique became the leader of the Kingston chapter of TuesdaysTogether, a monthly meet-up that happens in over 300 cities globally with entrepreneurs who believe in community over competition. Monique was formally trained as a Graphic Designer at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). She has worked with companies such Barnes & Noble, Twentieth Century Fox, Digicel Jamaica, American Greetings and Red Stripe. In February 2016, she was selected by the Ministry of Science Energy and Technology to be a Design Consultant at the KingstOOn Animation Festival.
Her journey to entrepreneurship started with her fascination with blogging. Her first blog M*RKologie, was awarded the Best Fashion & Beauty blog in the 2011 Jamaica Blog Awards and birthed the Generation G Empowerment Camp for Girls. She also received Best Lifestyle blog for her blog Orange Street in the 2014 Caribbean Blog Awards.
In 2017, Monique will be make her speaking debut at the Women Economic Conference in New Delhi India, where she will be speaking on how to use design to innovate in education. This topic is closely tied to what she believes is her life’s mission to make Jamaica a first world country by redesigning the education system using design thinking principles.
Monique lives by a simple principle, live a life that inspires others. She is driven by the passion for the work that she does and her desire to make an indelible mark on the world.
MK: Thrive House (previously Thriving Artist) started by accident in many ways and in other ways it was somewhat a long time dream I forgot I had. In 2014, I decided to stop playing at trying to be an entrepreneur and started to take action. I enrolled in a business course and one of my assignments was to get out of my comfort zone. Being someone who was then afraid of meeting new people I attended my first networking event. Let’s just say the experience left a lot to be desired. It was then I decided that I wanted to do my own networking event, and 6-weeks later The Thriving Artist Dinner was born. An intimate networking event for creatives.The reason why I thought it was important to create a space that married business and art was because in the Caribbean, the creative industry is still seen as hobby work. Many creatives don’t even know the best places to find resources to turn their hobbies into a lucrative business. I wanted to change the conversation and the mindset of young creatives like myself and create a space designed just for us.Our goal is to provide access. Access to resources, people and environments that will help them grow. I truly believe that art and design will change the world because there are so many practical applications for what we do. That’s why I’m so passionate about creating a space for creatives.(N.B. MOKEN is currently in behind the scenes mode as I am currently taking User Experience courses to prepare for a relaunch in 2018. So I’m currently only taking clients by referrals only)
MK: When I started out Thriving Artist (now Thrive House) was just meant to be a one time event. My focus at the time was MOKEN Design & Consulting which is a design firm that focuses on branding and service design. In my first year, I faced some harsh realities 1. the market wasn’t ready for the business I wanted to build and 2. I wasn’t ready for the business I wanted to build. After working a few beta clients before launching I realized that there was some technical expertise I was missing that I needed to be able execute before I could serve my clients. I decided to postpone working on that business and focus on getting educated and doing what was working Thriving Artist.It took me almost the entire year to figure out what my focus was and for awhile it was hard to let go of what MOKEN represented. But I had a growing community in Thrive House and demand to do more, so that’s where I needed to focus my energy.RB: Who has been the greatest influence on you since starting your venture and why?
MK: I’m very inspired by the amazing people in our community. They come to events, share their ideas and tell me exactly what they want. I design every experience with them in mind. I think so many businesses ignore the people they serve, but I’m all about listening and serving the best way I can.RB: What is the vision for your business and where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
MK: 5 years seems so soon. In 10 years I want Thrive House to be the largest education platform for creatives in the Caribbean.