Toni-Ann Goodlett turns her passion into reality
‘Young’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘a visionary’ are words that come to mind when considering Toni-Ann Goodlett, all coveted qualities in every employee.
But the past student of the Morant Bay High School in St Thomas, whose name is probably etched somewhere in the institution’s history books as an academic genius, has instead chosen to focus her energy and brilliance on building an empire for herself instead of contributing to another man’s dream.
A fresh, but already successful entrepreneur, Goodlett told The Gleaner that her inspiration came from her mother, who is also self-employed.
“I grew up seeing her operating her own business. I was working there from as early as 11, when she realised my mathematics skills were A1. When I left primary school, I went on to attend the premier high school in St Thomas. This is where my entrepreneurial spirit even developed more, as though it might have been illegal, I used to sell snacks and sweets to my classmates and schoolmates for a couple of years. Man, thank God for those days! I used to save lives,” she joked, adding that she was forced to discontinue when she was in fourth form as her “studies got the best” of her.
Goodlett went on to the University of the West Indies, Mona, where, after her first few years, she realised that working a simple nine-to-five job wouldn’t cut it. This was followed by the realisation that in order to gain the financial freedom she wanted, she would have to start her own business.
“Countless times, my partner would implore me to think of ideas that I think will do well and fit my personality. And it was December 2017, while we were driving from New Kingston and talking, that the idea dawned on me,” she said.
Today, the 24-year-old is the founder and CEO of Lavish Hair and Beauty Supplies, ‘Where Beauty Matters the Most’, a registered self-proprietorship that, according to her, managed to reach one of its financial goals in less than eight months. The company recently launched its website to tap into the international market, as well as to accommodate card users. Instead of reaching out to social-media influencers to promote her products, as most budding entrepreneurs do, Goodlett revealed that the influencers have been reaching out to her.
Admitting that it hasn’t been all roses and fresh air, the young entrepreneur said that she has had to contend with challenges, including delayed shipments, difficulties with customs, and scams from persons posing as customers with huge orders. But she maintained that she enjoys helping others feel confident about themselves where beauty is concerned.
“Also, it is pleasing to know that that such a young company is making such an impact across Jamaica and even internationally,” she added.
And to other young people, on the importance of entrepreneurship, Goodlett said, “Go out there, find your niche. Don’t let self-doubt and negativity get to you. There’s always room for one more. Be creative, think outside of the box. Turn your passion into your own reality. There’s room for all of us!”