Licensed real estate agent, Kashima Montoute was born and raised in one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, St. Lucia. She attended the Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary School where she was an exceptional athlete on the Volleyball court (receiving the award for “Best Female Volleyball Player’). After graduating in 2005 she gained acceptance to Monroe College where she studied Information Technology and then transferred to the New York Campus in 2009, and in June 2010 graduated with aBachelor’s Degree.
Kashima then worked for a year and a half before pursuing a Master’s Degree in Finance with the University of Leicester in 2012. She breathed a sigh of relief in August of last year, overcomingseveral hurdles and personal challenges to complete her degree and graduated.
“Living in New York City really assisted me to become the person I am today. It also taught me that the degrees you may have earned do not necessarily mean that you will attain the dream job that we all hope for after many years of college and university,” she told us, just a few days after hopping on a flight back to New York.“I believe every situation, job and experience has molded me into someone even more magnificent.”
Inher spare time she enjoys reading, hanging out with family and friends and also hitting the gym. So how does all of this tie her into the fashion industry? According to her, “I am a new entrepreneur in the fashion industry with no prior experience but just filled with passion for making individuals feel amazing in what they are wearing.” Let’s find out a little bit more about Kashima and her brand Pas Jalou.
Have you always had an interest in the fashion industry?
I view myself as a very fashionable individual, I love keeping up with the latest trends. As I mentioned earlier, before I began pursuing this business venture I attained no prior education or background within the fashion industry. But the desire to have my own business really directed me in the direction of fashion, which I just naturally love.
When did you first realize that you had a unique idea and you should run with it?
My business plan really came to mind about a year and a half go before I officially launched on April 29th 2018 at The Royalton St.Lucia Resort. I started off by researching about the swimwear industry in particular as it pertains to fashion. I realized that the swimwear industry was a multimillion-dollar industry within the US and around the world. Millions of people are always seeking new and fresh designs, colors and fabric within the industry. My business idea actually fell in place early in 2017; alsofor 8 months in 2017 I was really in between jobs, which made it even more difficult to attain finances to start the business. During that year I became certified as a baby nurse. Although working as a baby nurse was quite fulfilling financially but settling for just an income wasn’t my goal. Earning that dollar was a stepping-stone to saving towards my ultimate goal, which was executing my business plan to have my own swimwear line. This was my realization point of sticking with my idea and running with it.During that year of hardship I constantly reminded myself that I could attain the goals, which I have set for myself no matter how hard it may seem.
Why did you decide to start a swimsuit line and why the name Pas Jalou?
I decided to start a swimwear line because as an island girl, I love the beach, I love bikinis, and I also wanted to stand out from the rest by providing designs that made everyone feel comfortable in what they are wearing.
The name PAS JALOU came from a negative standpoint, which I encountered with someone whom I thought, was genuinely a friend. I decided to take that negativity and turn it into something positive hence I chose the name “PAS JALOU” for one of many reasons; it serves as a representation of my creole heritage. Also the name “PAS JALIOU” which many may know means, “Don’t be Jealous”. The Slogan of my business is “Don’t be Jealous, You can have it too!” I wanted to also send a message out to the youth that we should not be envious of what our peers may have achieved throughout their life because you can have it too! Too often I think that my generation and other generations are always comparing themselves to one another. I think the right way to attain a more fulfilling life would be to surround yourself with individuals who truly and genuinely support you in your endeavors, and that I have found in my family and very few friends.
It’s more so important that others understand that everyone has his/her battles, everyone has a unique story and nothing good comes easy, and if you have something that you truly believe in then you should continue to pursue it despite the many challenges you may encounter.
Did you have any background in designing, sewing, or anything like that?
I had no prior background in designing or sewing. The honest truth is, I love sketching designs, selecting fabric, putting together appliques and also keeping up with the ever-changing trends in the industry. When I Officially launched my swimwear line at the Royalton Resort in St. Lucia, I actually got assistance from a local designer in St Lucia. He brought my sketches to life and that I was truly grateful for. Also within the US many manufactures work with designers who just have sketches and do not physically sew. My business is a US based registered company and most of my manufacturing will actually be done in the US and also outside the US.
How would you describe the Pas Jalou style? What sets it apart from the rest?Does your line cater to all women’s shapes and sizes? If so, how important was that for you in designing the swimwear?
The aim of my brand Pas Jalou, would be to truly make everyone feel welcomed to visiting my website, no matter their shape, size, gender or style. Too often I think that most swimwear lines I have come across cater towards smaller sized ladies and not many have really gone into designing men’s board shorts or swim shorts. The fact that I actually cater for men, ladies of all sizes and kids make it truly remarkable.
I have also noticed that more and more brides are incorporating swimwear shoots as part of their wedding celebration, therefore I decided to have a bridal package, which includes items like; a custom swimwear and signature cover up for the bride, custom swimwear for her bridesmaids, custom printed caps, tank tops, beach cups, beach bag, beach towel, custom printed robes and a keychain. Being able to cater to a wide range of individuals across the market was very important to me.
What motivates you to continue working towards your goal and how would you encourage young professionals to pursue a career in the fashion industry?
What truly motivates me to continue working towards my goal would be acquiring the feeling of not being tied down to a 9-5 job, there is so much more I can attain by being my own boss, setting my own schedule, deadlines and doing what it takes to achieve my goals.Having your own business or being an entrepreneur truly goes beyond a regular 9-5 job, but having that flexibility would be more satisfying to me.
My message to young professionals would be; in life everything we do has some measurement of risk taking especially as it pertains to investing into a new business venture: the question is, are you willing to take that risk of uncertainty to get to the next level of success which you truly desire? You will never know your true potential if you don’t attempt.
Finally, are we able to find your swimwear in stores/boutiques or is it solely online?
Persons can visit my website www.pasjalouswimwear.com, also I could be found on Facebook and Instagram at “Pas Jalou Swimwear”
I believe my designs are truly trendy and luxurious and I have also been making contactwith various hotels throughout the Caribbean where I can provide them with customized swimwear, so persons vacationing across the Caribbean may actually come across my brand within the hospitality industry in the future.