Sonyial Lee, Nurse and Accessories business Owner, London UK
The work you put in today will pave the way for your future.
Tell me anything about yourself
I have the best of both worlds I was born in Montserrat but my mother is from Antigua.
I am the 2nd of three children and the only girl for my parents and an independent person who excels with creativity.
How would you describe your immediate family
Close, crazy and unique. We love each other dearly. As the only girl in the family I cling to my mother and we have a good relationship.
My younger brother is 14 years my junior so I see him as my son rather than my brother. I try my best to make a good example for him as I often tell him
‘this adult life is not easy, so study hard’.
Our parents made a big sacrifice to bring us to the UK so I try my best to make them happy.
What does your name mean and do you feel you live up to it
My name is a fusion of both my parents names Ralford and Sonia, I live up to it as I have a little of both of them.
I have my father’s feet, built, resilient skin and some personality traits and my mother’s colour and facial features. So I am a true representation of them both.
Tell me something that made you smile or laugh recently
My 5 year old nephew correcting me when I called him a parrot
‘No I am a boy, a man, a child and a toddler’.
What is your favourite colour and what does it represent
My favourite colour is red and it represents to me love especially the blood of Christ. It’s a vibrant colour that pops.
When do you normally feel your happiest
I am happiest when I am jetting off somewhere being one with nature.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety
I tend to put my hands to creating which I find soothing and therapeutic. I will often take a power nap to calm me down.
How do you celebrate your achievements
I celebrate by seeing the joy on my parents face and eating great food.
What made you decide to start your profession
Caring has been a major aspect of my upbringing. This has stemmed from the love and nurturing I received from my loved ones growing up.
Often in Montserrat when my parents had to work I was left with various aunties and they were always so warm and loving.
I wanted to give back so nursing opened up that avenue for me to give back to my community.
What do you love about your role
I enjoy seeing them back on their feet and happy with the final outcome they receive during my care or time at the hospital.
I also enjoy teaching students and watching them grow and excel with the knowledge and skills I have imparted on them. This is mostly shown when they come back for their second rotation.
They often say I remember you teaching me this or that and it has really helped me throughout my training.
What are the typical challenges you face in your role
Currently there is a lot of down time. Due to Covid we’re unable to get back to full capacity; therefore, patient’s treatment times are longer.
Tell us about your business Heelecus and the inspiration behind it
My afro-caribbean heritage is my biggest inspiration.
I love working with fabric and rope that speaks to me culturally. I often pick supplies based on a connection I’ve associated with either Africa, Montserrat or Antigua.
For example, I recently purchased a fabric that reminded me of the volcanic lava of Montserrat. This particular fabric had red, yellow and orange hues in it.
This design spoke to me inwardly and I later named this Bonnet Wrap ‘Lava’.
I love working with Bright, Bold, Unique patterns and shapes that convey my extrovert personality.
We are located in London but we ship worldwide
Our specialties are handmade statement jewellery and accessories for women. Product ranging from Necklace, earrings, bags, brooch and Headwraps.
We also have a bespoke service where customers can send in fabric to us and have an item made based on our current designs.
This works exceptionally well with bridal parties looking for something unique or any special occasions that might be looking for matching accessories.
Check us out on www.heelecus.com
Where do you see yourself in 5 years
I see myself having my own store and selling my handmade jewellery and accessories.
Would you have done anything differently in your career path
If I was to do life again I would have definitely paid more attention in school to obtain the necessary grades to pursue a career in dentistry (Orthodontist).
Do you have any pearls of wisdom you wish to share
The work you put in today will pave the way for your future.
Finally this is the moment to shout out to a few people who have really encouraged, supported or even taking a gamble on you to allow your current success
Thanks for God for sparing my life and giving me such good opportunities. Without God I wouldn’t have reached thus far.
Thanks to my family, my mother Sonia Lee who has been a tremendous help with Heleecus . She has pushed and encouraged me every step of the way, she’s the right hand in my business.
My Dad Ralford Lee, my Brothers Ralford Lee Jr and Rahsoun Lee who always step in when I need them to assist me and for their encouraging words.
My cousin who is like a sister to me Ajanette Paul who is my confidant and encourager. The one I can all at any hour and talk with especially at my lowest moments, she knows how to pick me up.
My long life friend Melissa Maize who I can call on anytime who would encourage and pray for me.
What’s the best thing about Montserrat in your eyes
How calm and beautiful in nature it is.
What do you look forward to when going to Montserrat
I often look forward to connecting with Montserrat as I came to the UK aged 8. I try to reconnect and remember the good times from childhood.
What’s your favourite place to eat/ favourite thing to eat when you are in Montserrat
My favourite thing to eat is authentic Goat water.
What would you love to see for Montserrat in 10 years
I would love to see more people on the island including some returning nationals. My prayer for Montserrat is to grow and excel especially finding evolutionary ways to develop the economy and be more self-dependent.
What one thing would you do to maintain our culture
I will always support the diaspora by attending and supporting cultural activities. Especially wearing my Montserrat madras and teaching my future children about our culture. I am currently learning how to cook Goat water and coconut tart.
What one behaviour would you wish for us to leave in the past
Bickering and bringing down our own.
Give me your aspirational date of if and when you think Montserrat will be independent
Tell me one thing Montserrat can do to encourage you to return
Open up more hotels that are closer to hot spots so people who don’t have homes can come to the island. I believe this would put Montserrat on the map again and encourage more developers.
Finally, when you think of Montserrat, how does it make you feel
It makes me feel good as it reminds me of my childhood.