Fri. Nov 26th, 2021

While some dream of doing what they love every day, several women on-island have done exactly that.

They have taken their passion for art and built a business with their talents.

Women in Business spoke to a tattooist, a mother-and-daughter dance duo, and a visual artist, about their experiences.

Caz Mayer – Blue Dragon Tattoos
Caz’s career as a tattoo artist began when she joined the very first tattoo shop in Cayman in 2000.

Eleven years later she took over the business, rebranding as Blue Dragon Tattoos in deference to the island’s famous breed of iguana.

Her fascination with tattooing grew out of a childhood love of painting and drawing and then the discovery of body art as an adult.

 

“A friend of ours bought tattoo equipment in 1999, and my husband and all his friends would tattoo themselves (not very well) – they all loved tattoos and that love was passed on to me,” she says. “I did my first tattoo in our friend’s grandmother’s bathroom. I knew then I wanted to be a tattoo artist, but I had to go about it the right way, so I began my apprenticeship with two visiting tattoo artists.”

Expansion
In the decade since opening as Blue Dragon Tattoos, the business has flourished.

“We went from Caz ‘one-woman show’ tattoo artist, piercer, front desk and manager, to now having eight members on the Blue Dragon team,” she says.

The most difficult aspect of running the business has been the limited time she’s had with her son, who was born a year after she began tattooing.

“I missed out a lot on his after-school and weekend activities and sports,” she says. “It was always my driving force through the tough days that one day my hard work would pay off and I would have more time to spend with my family.”

Benefits
On the positive side, Caz enjoys being her own boss, working with her talented team and having Mondays off.

She advises other women in business to stay fit and healthy, as well as setting long-term goals with a structured plan.

“Work never feels like work when you love what you do,” says Caz. “However, I didn’t do it alone; I have my family, friends, clients and the Blue Dragon team to thank. We do this together.”

And her top tip for anyone else thinking of turning their passion into a business?

“Don’t let your dreams stay dreams … go get ’em, girls,” she says.

Anita Gough and daughter Sophie Conolly – Centre Pointe Home of the Performing Arts
The performing arts have always been integral to the lives of Anita Gough and her daughter Sophie Conolly.

Sophie Conolly, left, and her mother Anita Gough
Prior to moving to the Cayman Islands more than 30 years ago, Anita operated a dance school in the UK. She also choreographed for amateur operatic societies and taught extracurricular dance at Cardiff University.

On-island, she has taught ballet and contemporary dance at various schools.

Sophie has been involved in Cayman’s theatre and dance community since the early 1990s and has been teaching in Cayman for 15 years, while also performing, choreographing, and directing a number of musicals.

It was this passion for the performing arts that prompted the pair to set up Centre Pointe.

The aim was to provide the very best training for students in both recreational and pre-professional areas.

“We’re both aware of what it’s like to walk into a professional open class or audition situation and have to compete, and we want our students to feel that they are equipped with the tools needed for those times if they should they choose to pursue the arts,” says Sophie. “We set them up to recognise the process, understand the expectations and compete with confidence.”

Mother and daughter opened Centre Point, a performing arts studio for ages nine months through to adult levels, in 2010.

Broad spectrum
Initially, the studio focused primarily on dance, but now runs classes in song presentation and drama, as well as all types of dance styles including ballet, jazz, tap, Irish, contemporary, progressive ballet technique and musical theatre dance.

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