Latoya Grindley, Staff Reporter
She did what many people want to do but are simply afraid to do because of the fear of the unknown. With a full-time job at the Port Authority doing procurement, the light-bulb moment of a potential business came to Patwa Apparel boss, Heneka Watkis-Porter.
Toying with the idea since 2007, she took a leap of faith and resigned.
"The transition started in my mind. And when I finally decided to go out on my own, it was definitely a mental struggle because I was so used to having a stable salary to pay the bills and extra for things like socialising."
Despite how daunting it seemed, Watkis-Porter proceeded with faith and a positive attitude. In 2011, Patwa Apparel became official. A clothing line, it merges fashion and Jamaican culture, utilising patois phrases and the standard English interpretation on the clothing.
With her own fair share of challenges, a major one being location, (which she managed to overcome), she is overflowing with positive feelings and expectations for her business.
"I had left my job in March and it took me until November to find a space. And soon after I found and relocated to my current space which I now occupy at Devon House."
Other challenges she readily speaks of as a new business owner are the high-interest rates on loans and convincing persons to spend a bit more and buy Jamaican-made clothing.
"People are more ready to buy foreign-made things. And when we are competing with things that are made in other parts of the world like China, we find it more difficult to convince persons to buy our products. So pricing is a problem because I don't compromise on quality."
She has had to quickly learn the importance of having a budget for marketing. However, to make up for what was lacking when she just started, she relied on networking.
Growing steadily and now receiving recognition both locally and internationally, the entrepreneur is also gearing up to launch her 10 Fyah Side sauce line, for the export market.
"I am not looking at the immediate results. I am blessed though to get a lot of opportunities."
I DID IT SO CAN YOU
Having the experience of running a business locally, Watkis-Porter outlines her advise and tips for young and upcoming entrepreneurs.