Mon | Sep 25, 2017

For the love of hats

Published:Thursday | January 14, 2016 | 1:00 AMShanna Monteith

There's a saying that goes: 'If you want something done well, then do it yourself'. This was the case when Kayan Douglas of Southaven, St Thomas, bought a church hat and was displeased with how it looked. She redesigned it to fit her liking.

This act of self-satisfaction would later lead to her becoming an entrepreneur.

"Persons complimented me on the hat, and upon hearing that I redesigned it, I was encouraged by church members to start a business. I wasn't sure about it at first, but everywhere I went, it's as if I were being haunted by hats," she laughed, adding that every hat she saw she recreated it in her mind.

Douglas told Rural Xpress that after heeding the encouragement of those around her she made a few hats, but had a hard time pricing them.

According to her: "I was comparing them to what I see sold in local stores rather than based on cost of material and my creativity. I had no idea what it was like to start a business, in terms of the financing, because I was only thinking of having clients pay down and use that to finance. To start, my fiancÈ gave me capital but that didn't work out so well. I didn't price the items right, so there was little to no profit. Some clients gave me a really hard time. Many changed their minds about the orders because they didn't dedicate themselves to pay for the hat. They had issues with my prices, even though they were already reasonable."

The hat business had evolved and Douglas had established social-media pages for her products.

The 24-year-old said that after receiving some teaching in entrepreneurship, her knowledge of how to properly run a business developed. She began taking various steps to improve her product.

CONFIDENCE BOOSTER

"Soon after, I made my first overseas order, and I made a fascinator for a bride. My confidence was boosted, and so did my clientele.

"I began getting advice from business development officers who encouraged me to have ready-made hats to sell on the spot. I used the money I got from my current job to finance this," she said.

"I am just now working towards putting myself in the right financial position to maintain a shop, and also get my visa to the United States or London so I can attend school to receive certification in millinery. The name of my business is Kadre's Hat. It's from the name of my fiancÈ and I wanted to give our first child. A blend between his name (AndrÈ) and mine. Also, he got involved on the basis that he was the silent investor in the business, as he calls himself," Douglas said.