Mon | Aug 19, 2019

Chrisann Francis: bulldozing barriers to success

Published:Friday | March 1, 2019 | 12:17 AMDavid Salmon/Contributor
Chrisann Francis

Eighteen-year-old Ardenne High School student Chrisann Francis has overcome significant challenges in the establishment of her company, Nature’s Golden Essence (NGE). Launched almost a year ago and employing two persons, her organic-health company specialises in fitness and wellness, cosmetics, nutrition and catering.

Chrisann started a company manufacturing hair oil after discovering that hair-maintenance products were too expensive to purchase on a regular basis. The journey to making her own natural products was inspired by her teacher, Stacey-Ann Rowe, who encouraged her to “do it yourself”.

After being impressed with the quality of her hair one year later, Chrisann’s teacher enthusiastically enquired about the products she used. “I explained to her that I made the products myself through YouTube videos. She was so excited that she asked for a sample of my product,” Chrisann said.

She recalled that her teacher’s feedback was unexpected as she identified other uses for her natural hair oil. This prompted her to pursue further research into expanding her product line to include organic oils, body and hair butters, shampoos, soaps, conditioners and moisturisers.

While Chrisann was engaged with her business, she also had to focus on other pressing issues. “I was going through some academic crisis, financial issues within my family, along with confusion where my career path was concerned,” she said.

However, her turning point came after a period of quiet contemplation. “One day, I fell into a deep daydream, seeing myself as a young successful businesswoman owning and operating a company that includes everything I do voluntarily.”

RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

Chrisann pointed out that in her spare time, she conducted fitness exercises; prepared meals for small events, such as birthday parties, and served as assistant chef alongside her teacher, Khaleil Woolcock, when catering for parent-teacher association meetings. “I also give dietary guidelines to friends and family members, which include meal portioning and preparation services. Essentially, I was indirectly operating my own company as a non-profit organisation,” she added.

The young entrepreneur conducted an electronic survey to determine the demand for her products and services. She told The Gleaner that the response was overwhelming.

However, she recalled that her greatest challenge came in the months following the launch of her business. “My greatest challenge was not having any money to fulfil the needs of my clients. This drought lasted for months, and I lost clients, possible investors lost interest, my employees walked away, and, worst of all there was no motivation,” she explained.

But Chrisann refused to be daunted by the various obstacles, even as she kept focused on her mission. “I knew I had to push through the bad and work towards my vision, so I decided to take a small break to bounce back on my feet after experiencing so many losses and failures,” she added.

During this break, she researched and interviewed several entrepreneurs who operated similar companies and read books to sharpen her entrepreneurial skills. These skills included budgeting, improving marketing strategies, and enhancing the attractiveness of her labels.

Chrisann also highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong support system. Her mother, Sharnette Reid, was crucial to the rebuilding process. She also credits her teacher, Mrs Rowe, and Devorie Smith for giving her suggestions and business strategies. Her business partner, Danielle McPherson, also provided unswerving support.

CLUBS

Not only does Chrisann operate a business, but she also engages in a range of clubs at her school, including, but not limited to, Emerging Global Leaders Jamaica, the health and fitness club, the agricultural science club, the Event Planning Committee and the Embracing Your Roots Club, of which she is president, among others. She is also a 2017 and 2018 awardee in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Culinary Arts Competition in the Star Chef category.

For Chrisann, qualities that enabled her achievements include determination, critical thinking, passion and being sociable. Her advice for youth who aspire to be successful is, “Do not create goals to achieve based on the expectations of others. Take your time and develop your mission around your abilities. Have fun, and success is inevitable.”

For further information, Nature’s Golden Essence can be contacted through email, naturesgoldenessence1@gmail.com, Instagram, @Nature’s Golden Essence, Facebook page Nature’s Golden Essence, via WhatsApp, (876)-558-0262, or cell phone, (876)-558-0262.