“In Grand Bahama, I continued my teaching career for the next nine years. The classroom for me was now a creative garden growing wild with untapped possibilities. I eventually decided to trade the field of academics for the brand new world of potentiality. I wanted to provide each child with the opportunity to find and nurture his/her creative passion. Uniqueness lies within each of us and when one can express oneself accordingly; one experiences much joy which impacts others. “ Emily Strachan, Wildflower Bahamian Artist
This is the story of how Bahamian artist Emily Strachan joined our Wildflower Enterprises endeavors. Emily's designs are called Enthusia designs.
I (Kacie) was worshipping at Freeport Methodist Church in Freeport, Grand Bahama. This was my first worship service with this congregation. I still did not know many people. I sat by Sharon Mcgregor, a member of the church. (Sharon is now a board member of Wildflower Enterprises!) Sharon and I started talking about our passions, life in our countries, and many other random topics. She taught me a great deal about Grand Bahama in our first conversation.
Somehow the conversation was directed to crafting. I told her about how I was developing a vision for Wildflower and wanted to add a global relationship to the business. She said, “You have to meet Emily!”
My first introduction to Emily was during the passing of the peace. If you are familiar with traditional Christian worship services you know the passing of the peace usually happens at the beginning of worship in order to welcome others to church. At Freeport Methodist Church the passing of the peace is very friendly! In Grand Bahama you give hugs to everyone young and old during this time. What a way to meet a ton of people you never met before!
After the worship service I saw Emily pin a handcrafted headband with the aquamarine blue and yellow Bahamian colors on a little girl. Emily told me then she was passionate about making items with the Bahamian colors for people in her community.
Later in the week Emily and I gathered at another worship service at the church. During this service the group gathered in a circle, held hands and sang the gospel song, “I Need You to Survive.” The lyrics go:
I pray for you, You pray for me.
I love you, I need you to survive.
I won't harm you with words from my mouth.
I love you, I need you to survive.
I held hands with Sharon as we sang. This night was a moment I will never forget. God had truly reminded me that there was an open door for Wildflower Enterprises to go through. I was going through this door with my new friends Sharon and Emily.
Emily and I talked more after the service, and she said, “I am going to pick you up Thursday and drive you to my apartment. Is 3:00 good?” Before I could think if it was a good time or not, "Yes!" just came out of my mouth. So it was planned I was going to Emily’s apartment the next day!
My thoughts raced: "Oops! I didn’t ask permission from my leader Pastor Lenore to go. Hopefully she will say this was okay." Well, it all worked out!
On Thursday Emily and I drove over to her crafting apartment. We talked about women’s empowerment and teaching marginalized women. Wow, we had a lot of the same passions!
At her apartment she introduced me to her abundance of crafts! Emily makes a huge variety of products: necklaces with the Bahamian colors, hand-painted stone necklaces, hair clips made from palm trees and sea shells, beautiful beads made from sand, decorative flowers made from coconut, and pins made from fish scales. There is so much more that Emily makes, but I can't even remember all of them now! We had a great time! After I was introduced to her crafts we sat down, we fanned ourselves with the handmade fans made from palm trees and talked about the future of Wildflower in the Bahamas. We both felt God was working with us. We made a plan and thus it began!
Emily drove me back to Freeport Methodist Church. We jammed to some great Junkanoo Bahamian music. I felt free. I felt I gained a new friend. I felt at home! The song we were jamming to talked about a house on a hill by the beach. Little did Emily know at the time that one of my favorite things to do is jam to music as I drive back roads in my hometown! This time I was doing it in the Grand Bahama!
This brings me to one of the best lessons I learned from Jean Johnson’s book, We Are Not the Hero. Quoted on page 63, “We can waste these beginning moments or we can see these beginning moments as work.” I felt at that time I was truly doing work I loved. We were both enthusiastic! For me I was doing one of my favorite things--driving backroads, windows down with catchy music. However, it was rewarding because in these beginning moments of friendship with Emily, we already were working together! We are entrepreneurs from two different cultures, and we both have a passion to empower women through entrepreneurship and crafting!
Learn more about Emily’s work in the Bahamas, shop her collection we have by booking one of our Wildflower in the Bahamas presentations!