Growth & Jobs | Taneisha Dawkins: From teacher to business owner
Ask anyone. Starting a business is one of the hardest things to do. Add to that the challenges that come during the embryonic stage and the many businesses that fall apart before they get fully off the ground.
However, Taneisha Dawkins is hoping to avoid being part of the failed statistic.
Dawkins, a trained educator, spent six years in the classroom and decided to take a short break, however, she ended up spending 12 years in the hospitality industry.
“In 2017, I realised how much I missed teaching and thought of ways to incorporate aspects of the classroom in my daily life,” she explained.
According to Dawkins, she thought about opening a daycare, but after doing research, she realised that the idea, while good, was not feasible at the time.
“After earnestly praying about it, the idea of opening a bookshop came into being. My mother and I partnered, and my father offered to have me use one of his shops for the venue,” she said.
Thus, Patience Bookshop was founded and has been making a difference in the community since.
“We cater to the members of the community by offering homework assistance to students, especially from the neighbouring primary school,” Dawkins shared.
She also noted that the bookshop offers a lay-away service to parents who cannot afford to pay for all the texts at once.
“They have the option to make a down payment on the books and collect when payment is completed. We also extend free delivery service to the schools and hardware who partner with us,” she continued.
Though the bookshop is a little out of the town of St Ann’s Bay, Dawkins said that she is humbled to see the tremendous support that Patience Bookshop has received. This could be as a result of the comfortable atmosphere created for customers to shop.
“Customers can email their requests and have them done before arriving to alleviate the waiting period,” Dawkins stated proudly. “Above all, we extend excellent customer service while catering to the needs of everyone. A child buying a pencil for school is treated with the same respect as an adult buying textbooks for his or her child.”
There are still some challenges left for Dawkins to overcome, but her faith in God has played a big part not only in taking the step to start a business, but also to keep going even when things seemed bleak.
“I have been able to overcome numerous hurdles,” she said, “I rely a lot on my faith in God to persevere despite being discouraged at times. Starting up, I think, was the hardest part as I had no clue where to source the books.”
But her determination to ensure customer satisfaction had Dawkins going the extra mile.
“My objective was to ensure that my customers were satisfied even if it meant driving to and from Kingston or Mandeville at odd hours of the night to get what they need,” she said smiling.
When asked about the inspiration behind the naming of the bookshop, Dawkins’ answer was inspiring.
“Patience happens to be my favourite fruit of the spirit, and I constantly ask the Lord to give me more,” she said, “Upon registering the business, I prayed about a name, and this was most appropriate. It is a constant reminder to me that I should never give up but to patiently wait on God to work out my situation,” she continued.
One person is currently employed at the bookshop and oversees the day-to-day running of the store. Dawkins also said that she would like to own at least three more branches of the bookshop, each with an after-school homework centre and a daycare.
Her advice to prospective business owner is to not be afraid.
“My advice to others is not to allow fear to prevent you from accomplishing your dreams. Self-motivation is the key to making that dream a reality,” she told The Gleaner, “It is also important to note that you will not be cognisant of all aspects of the business, so get advice from persons who are knowledgeable in that particular field.”
Patience Bookshop also offers Internet and other business elated services such as printing and the photocopying of documents.