Stitching her way to success - Seamstress gets support from JNSBL

Published: Monday | December 14, 2009

Donna Lyn, owner of Donlyn's in Mandeville, designs a logo on her office computer for a client. Donlyn's produces embroidered items and stitches logos on various articles for several businesses and taxi associations in Manchester and Clarendon. - Contributed photos

Donna Lyn has managed to do what many people only dream about. She has made a career out of what was her hobby.

The small entrepreneur started her business, Donlyn's, at her home on Crest Haven Close, Mandeville, in 2002. This involved embroidering towels for friends and family and for her personal use.

"What I do was self-taught. It's something I learned in high school and liked," the former deCarteret College student said.

"However, I was becoming bored with just doing towels, and that's when I realised that I could make a business out of em-broidered items," Lyn recalled. "I started doing shirts, caps and other articles and began to offer my services to other persons outside of my immediate circle of friends and family."

But to move the business beyond the confines of her home, Lyn needed a financial boost. A friend of hers who had recently received assistance to start her own business recommended Jamaica National Small Business Loans Limited (JNSBL).

"They had what someone like me needed," Lyn stated. She applied for a BizStart loan and received low-interest funds to purchase the raw materials needed to push her business.

"There were materials that I needed on a daily basis, such as thread, polo and oxford shirts and so on," Lyn said.

Booming business

Business improved, with her client list increasing, and the operation soon outgrew the walls of her home.

In 2006, she rented a shop on deCarteret Road, Mandeville. She successfully repaid her loan but was not yet ready to end her relationship with JNSBL.

"I went back and borrowed another loan to purchase more material as demand grew for my services," Lyn said.

Her improved operations eventually outgrew the shop on deCarteret Road and she had to move again. In June this year, Donlyn's moved to a larger location at Caledonia Mall in the Mandeville town centre.

Donlyn's clientele includes many corporate entities in Mandeville, as well as individual persons, and its largest client group is the taxi associations throughout Manchester and Clarendon. Today, she does logo stitching for nine taxi associations, including the Mandeville, Christiana, Spaldings and May Pen taxi associations, and recently brought a 10th taxi association on board.

"Mrs Lyn has systematically used the loan facilities at JNSBL to consistently upgrade her business operation," said Keri-Ann Salmon, JNSBL field officer. "And, she maintains an excellent repayment record."

Excellent work

Frank Whylie, JNSBL general manager, said: "While logo stitch-ing is a niche market, Mrs Lyn has identified a market that has superb potential for growth, and it is obvious that she is producing work that is of excellent quality."

With the continued growth of her business, Lyn was able to amass enough funds to buy a machine to do bulk logo stitching. She is the only known person in Manchester with such facilities.

"The machine improved our time and motion, therefore, I'm now able to deliver jobs at a much faster and more profitable rate," she said.

Besides Lyn, Donlyn's provides permanent employment for one other person who operates the stitching machine.

The mother of a teenager and a 20-year-old university student, Lyn is hoping to get an even larger machine to make her service even more efficient.

"I am very grateful for the support JNSBL has given to me throughout these years and I really hope we will be able to continue our relationship in the future," she said.

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