BELIZE CITY, Fri. Aug. 31, 2018– Ashley Reid, 20, is the first runner-up in this year’s Miss Universe Belize pageant, but what the Belizean public may not know, is that she also owns her own design label, Aj Originals. As a recent graduate of the University of Belize, Reid plans to take her clothing line from a hobby to a full-time career.
Reid, who is the first person in her family to graduate from a tertiary-level institution, and who received her Associate Degree in Business, said that she did not have much material possessions when she was growing up. New clothes were hardly ever affordable to her. This is what inspired her to start making her own clothes.
While she has been making clothes for 4 years, Aj Originals has been in operation for 2 years. Reid taught herself how to sew with the use of YouTube videos and different blogs. She noted that there is a lack of institutions in Belize where she could actually get formally educated on how to sew and design her own clothes.
Reid explained how excited she was to model her own dress on the Miss Universe Belize stage. There were a lot of expectations placed upon her and she feels that the dress turned out to be better than she could have imagined.
She also explained the work she put into the dress, including buying the fabric from Chetumal and working on the dress between events, she had to attend for the competition. It took her two days to complete the dress, although it was not her first design, but after a number of changes, she was pleased with how it turned out.
Reid makes various types of clothing but she prefers to make swimsuits because, according to her, that’s where she can be most creative. So far, her clothing is available via online orders if one visits her Facebook page, Aj Originals. Reid feels that she does not exactly need a physical store, but she does plan on branching out and hopes that her line will be available in different countries. Reid hopes to be a big success someday.
Reid is amazed that at 20, she has been able to accomplish so much. She comes from the Lake Independence area, where she said it’s rare to see someone “make it.” She said that many children and even adults in the area look up to her. She plans to one day go abroad to study in order to improve her skills.