I love to be inspired by young men and woman who are on the cutting edge of creative pursuits, allowing their God-given creative gifts to bless others, while supporting themselves doing what they love. I believe we can and should support each other across the creative mediums, and allow each others’ work to inspire our own.
Today it’s my privilege to introduce to you Enid Westerlund, founder of ENARA, a Samoan-based fashion line featuring apparel and accessories in the style of local art. Enid collaborates with her sister, award-winning artist Elizabeth Westerlund.
I first met Enid nearly nine years ago on a missions trip to New Zealand, where she was studying at the time. She went into aviation, but four years ago left that career to pursue her passion for fashion.
Why did you choose fashion as a creative medium? Why is it your passion?
Fashion is something I stumbled across, as I was never really a girly girl. I was more into the arts and business. Fashion is my second passion after aviation, and it started from learning how to hand paint Samoan prints onto materials. The hand-painted materials turned into clothing, but all I wanted was a Samoan-themed clutch!
Why is your art important in your culture and in people’s lives?
My art inspires others to think ahead of our time. I’d like to think people want to buy these products because they are practical and they are “us.” It’s not just Samoans buying ENARA, it’s different cultures.
How do you want people to respond to/interact with your work?
I’d like people to love our products. Of course, some will like some products and some have different preferences. What we think of our work also matters, because once we create something and put it on the market, we have to first be pleased with it ourselves before someone else likes it. I test most of my creations whether it’s a clutch/tote or outfit, because I want to know what my customer is getting when they buy my products. If something doesn’t feel right, I change it or improve it.
How do you overcome self-doubt or criticism?
Being an artist, an entrepreneur, and a young businesswoman are challenges in themselves. We live in a world dominated by men and those who don’t share your vision, so it’s human nature to criticize others, while sitting on the sideline.
I already know I have critics and that’s a great thing. How else can I learn and be challenged if everyone agrees with me? I welcome constructive criticism. The negative, I read it, I deal with it, and put it in a box under the ocean where no one fishes!
Those negative people do not define who I am, they don’t create my vision, and that’s OK.
What words of encouragement or advice do you have for other artists/artisans and entrepreneurs?
God is your guide and he will lead you to where you should be if you let him. He knows your every step before you plan them. Don’t be fearful to be counted, to create and to think 100 years ahead. We can’t help but be like that! We were made by a God who created your cells.
Own your ideas, act on them, and be courageous. It’s what leaders do.
What inspires your work? How does your relationship with God influence your work and business practices?
Inspiration itself inspires my work. ENARA for me is a hobby. I don’t really see it as work. It’s something I love to do and working with other creative people drives me more.
God is the master creator, the majestic artist, He is everything who is and will be. He wills everything in His hand and my relationship with Him, living as a Christian, cements my work, business, and life. ENARA is just a small part of what He can do in my life.
Photos by Jordan Kwan. All rights reserved.