Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 25th 2018 Contents SB4 business in focus
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Trading in record time
Tired of your analog being analogous
to every other clock on the market?
Sick of those stacks of records just
lying around the house?
Well, Natthoya Baptiste has been
transforming those outdated relics
into treasured items for the past two
years, giving new meaning to the
term re-purposing with a process
that saves the environment.
Baptiste, who is in the ield of
higher tertiary education and is an
interior decorator in her spare time,
stumbled upon the idea when a cli-
ent asked a unique design for his
"I was extremely excited as this
project was the irst of its kind for
me. The client gave me full creative
licence so I decided to use a vinyl
record motif for the studio, which
also included a record clock for the
"The response from his clients
blew me out of the water. It proved
to be quite a conversation piece,"
From there, MesmerEyez Limited
was born, a business manufactur-
ing and selling unique customised
clocks featuring sports teams, music
artistes, movie characters and inspi-
Baptiste started the company in
partnership with her husband who
she describes as a "tremendous
champion" who has always stood by
her side offering support and guid-
"He handles all aspects of opera-
tions, while I am usually the one to
come up with many of the concepts,
marketing and public relations," she
As they both work full time, Mes-
merEyez Limited is a part-time, hec-
tic venture which they regard as a
"labour of love."
"Our major challenge is time. We
both have hectic jobs, so most of
our work is done after hours and on
weekends. We have lots of long days
and late nights.
"To be honest though, while jug-
gling work, business and life in gen-
eral can be challenging, we are truly
passionate about what we do, so it
is a great joy. We try to keep things
light and fun and are just thankful
that we get the opportunity to build
our business together, while pro-
viding products that our customers
treasure," Baptiste said.
Vinyl records contain polyvinyl
chloride (PVC), a plastic compris-
ing carbon, hydrogen and chlorine
which are all harmful to the envi-
ronment. MesmerEyez Limited has
found a way to upcycle these items
which otherwise end up in land ills
and can contaminate groundwater.
If incinerated, they release carcino-
gens into the atmosphere.
"In essence we are encouraging
our clientele to reduce their carbon
footprints and engage in green liv-
ing," Baptiste said.
Upcycling, also known as creative
reuse, is the process of transform-
ing by-products, waste materials,
useless, or unwanted products into
new materials or products of better
quality or for better environmental
value. To make the products more
accessible, the company has part-
nered with several key local retail-
ers and new partners are constantly
The company also promotes pat-
riotism and launched a National
Pride line during the recent Carnival
"This line showcases idiosyncratic
features of our culture such as Trini
sayings, national instruments, na-
tional icons and Carnival," Baptiste
She said the range has attracted
great interest from locals, tourists
and T&T nationals living abroad.
A irm believer in the buy local
concept, Baptiste wants to play a
part in reinvigorating T&T's econ-
omy, especially at a time of foreign
exchange shortages and job losses.
She is convinced that platforms such
as craft markets are key in keeping
local talent alive.
"Most people are truly amazed
that we have been able to re-purpose
vinyl records so innovatively and
are excited to revel in the nostalgia
that comes from owning a piece of
musical history. Our products are
also something of a curiosity for the
younger generation," she said.
"It's always funny when parents
stop by our booth with their kids. It
turns into an instant history lesson.
'This is what we used to listen to
music on long time you know', par-
ents would often say as the children
Baptiste is not worried about de-
mand outweighing supply of her
unique products, as Mesmereyez
Limited "has a secret stash."
As a relatively new female entre-
preneur, she describes herself as "ul-
"That doesn't mean that it has
been all hilltop experiences but
rather that I make a conscious effort
to eat the meat and throw away the
bones. I constantly push the limits
and always ind a way even when
defeat seems inevitable.
"It is my sincere belief that once
you are passionate about what you
do, it shines through and is commu-
nicated through your product or ser-
vice," Baptiste said.
She advises prospective entrepre-
neurs to carry out substantial mar-
ket research before launching into
"Determine the demand for your
product, how many other providers
exist and count your costs. Once you
have launched, believe in your prod-
uct and work at it religiously. You lit-
erally get what you put in," she said.
Baptiste said it is also important to
tap into networks and connect with
other entrepreneurs who can offer
advice along the way.
She added: "These interactions
are quite valuable as such relation-
ships strengthen the ecosystem of
small business owners. There will
be good days and bad days but use
the negative breaks as stepping
stones. Criticism is not necessarily
a bad thing. Be open and teachable
enough to receive constructive re-
While she admits it was a chal-
lenge getting into business in a chal-
lenging economic climate, Baptiste
irmly believes a "recession is a ter-
rible thing to waste."
She explained: "It presents the
perfect opportunity for everyone to
dig deep and become more innova-
tive, particularly small business own-
ers. In fact, it has been said that it is
often the small businesses that keep
economies afloat during economic
How are the
Once information is gathered
from the client the graphic designer
creates the artwork. Mesmereyez
Limited then prepares and converts
the records, out itting it with the
clock parts, selected pattern and its
unique trade mark. After quality
checks are done, the clock is boxed
and delivered to the client.
The clocks are fully customised, so
clients have the option of selecting
the artwork and the colour of the
hands. There is also the choice of
fonts used in the numbering, for in-
stance Roman numerals as opposed
to Arabic numbers.
Clocks from the National Pride line, from left, Trini Time, Makin' Ah Trini, Steelpan and DNA-
A cross-section of clocks made from old vinyl records.
Natthoya poses with some of her unique vinyl record clocks.
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