Tansi's Comfy Collections
Fresh out of the University of Technology, Jamaica, with a bachelor of science degree in hospitality and tourism management and a minor in special events planning, Otansia Graham was hopeful that the industry had opportunities lined up for her to land a job and start a successful career. But like the harsh reality, some university graduates face, 25-year-old Graham was not going to be an exception.
After finishing UTech in May 2016, the job market provided her with slim pickings which led to her settling for something outside of her field - a customer service pepresentative at a business process outsourcing organisation, Xerox. She did this while working part-time as an event planner/coordinator at Skye Events Decor - a job that she had secured in February 2016 prior to finishing her studies. Her time at Xerox was short-lived, as after three months, she called it quits. Four months later, she landed a two-week contract as a financial literacy promoter at the Jamaica National Foundation.
Her desire, however, was to start her own business. This was something that had always been at the forefront of her mind. The St Elizabeth native, from Carisbrook District to be exact, said that she has always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
"I always wanted to start my own business. However, I wasn't sure of what to do. I thought about catering, having an event-planning business but at that point (while at UTech) I really was not sure what I wanted to do," Graham said.
Her light-bulb moment came after being out of a job and being able to do some much-needed introspection on the post-university conundrum she was then facing.
"I did some introspection and realised that I had some skills and talents that could have been worked on. These skills and talents were learnt from primary school and that is the art of sewing," she shared.
She reflected on how while in grade six at Glen Stuart Primary School their final school project was to create table runners, crochet, and some basic embroidery. Since then, her interest was piqued and her skills were further developed when she started studying clothing and textiles at her alma mater, St Elizabeth Technical High School.
Still out of a permanent job, the Jamaican in her DNA prompted her to be creative with her craft and see how it would be received by her target audience. That she did.
"One day, I decided that I was going to try to make something. At that point, I started making some simple cushions for my personal use and I posted then first on Facebook and Instagram. Soon after, I realised that persons were interested in purchasing the cushions I made, so at this point, I realised that this venture could be worthwhile," she boasted.
The devout Christian said that she took it a step further and made some cushions which she brought to church with her to advertise. The response was overwhelming and so she was convinced that making these customised cushions was a venture worth embarking on.
In January 2017, she coined the name Tansi's Comfy Collections, a business now legally registered by the Companies Office of Jamaica. Since then, she has been using social media platforms Facebook and Instagram to generate interest and income for her business. She said that the general awareness of her products have increased which in turn is generating sales.
"It is actually looking a lot better than when I initially started. Sales have increased. I'm also looking about doing a website for the business which will also help in attracting more customers, increase sales and reach potential clients," Graham told the Flair.
Being a newly minted entrepreneur, she said that Tansi's Comfy Collections has the potential to grow over the years to come and she is making the necessary steps to ensure that.
Otansia currently manages Tansi's Comfy Collections while being a full-time restaurant/shift supervisor.