Growth & Jobs | Jamaican invests in her hometown
A JAMAICAN living in the United States of America has returned home to invest in her home town of Port Antonio, Portland, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in a bid to create sustainable employment for the local people.
This entrepreneur, who is a ,designer and has her own line of clothing, opened a clothing store, specifically for women, at Bridge Street in the resort town.
According to Theresa White, owner and chief operator of ChicByT design and clothes store, it is the opening of the first of three establishments that will showcase the very best in women’s classic clothing while bringing the experience to two other parishes: Kingston and St Ann.
“At a time when the pandemic is taking its toll on countries worldwide, including Jamaica, I chose to return home to invest not only in my country, but to create sustainable employment for the local people and also to provide our women with a classical line of clothing,” White told Growth & Jobs.
“I have always been involved in fashion although my corporate job is in pharmaceuticals. Everyone knows me as the fashionista and someone who is very interested in style and taste. The goal was always to have an outpost here in Port Antonio. And yes, I could have done this anywhere on the island - Kingston, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay - but I wanted to do it in my hometown - the town I was born in.
“And so yes, even in a pandemic, it was still the right opportunity to come back and start this process.”
White added: “Currently, I have two employees, who are both graduates of Titchfield High School, and you know, unfortunately, they have been unable to find employment for quite sometime now. So to have the space where they can come in and start their career in sales really means a lot to me. And we really do hope to open at least two new facilities. Next will be Kingston and the next one will be Ocho Rios.”
Nineteen-year-old Christine Henry, one of the employees, said being employed means a lot to her as now, she will be able to work and save for university.
“It was really a difficult time for me and my family as they simply could not afford the tuition. But after learning about the likelihood of designer a store opening up in Port Antonio, I applied for the job as sales clerk as a result of my passion for design and clothing,” said Henry.
“I wanted so much to go to university, but without a job, it was near impossible. I have landed my first job, and I am truly grateful to Mrs White for having faith and trust in me. Yes, I am young, but I am full of energy and bright ideas, and I am career driven. The feeling is good, and I am positive that I will do well, and in short order, I will be able to fulfil my ambition of attending university to major in social science,” she added.
Henry pointed out that after leaving Titchfield High School, she job-hunted for the better part of three years but had no success. She noted that employment opportunities in Portland have always been limited but that it has worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic as most employers were laying off workers in an attempt to keep their business afloat.
Photos (1) shows store owner and designer Theresa White (up front) sharing a moment with others during the official opening of ChicByT fashion store in Port Antonio. (2) shows a look at some of the designer clothing and timeless fashion. (3) shows the ribbon cutting to signal the official opening of ChicByT store in Port Antonio.