Wed | May 25, 2022

GoodHeart | Avril Greenland gets unexpected boost for seamstress business

Published:Saturday | January 29, 2022 | 12:05 AM
From left: Shawn Martin, finance and accounting officer of the NCB Foundation, surprised Avril Greenland with a cheque valued at $500,000. Greenland is the top recipient for the 2021 Staff Grant a Wish programme.
From left: Shawn Martin, finance and accounting officer of the NCB Foundation, surprised Avril Greenland with a cheque valued at $500,000. Greenland is the top recipient for the 2021 Staff Grant a Wish programme.

HONEST, SELFLESS, passionate – those words perfectly describe 58-year-old seamstress, Avril Greenland. In 2002, the devoted mother, aunt and grandmother started her own seamstress business, which has grown over the years into a thriving operation. Many know her as the go-to seamstress for almost any and everything in and around her community, particularly for her top-seller sheets.

The money she has made over the years has always been put towards caring for her family, namely her grand-nephew Kamari, who is enrolled in Wolmer’s High School for Boys thanks to his grandaunt’s contribution. She intends to continue supporting him so that she can proudly see him to university; however, things have gotten tight in recent years. “One of my challenges over the years has been having limited funds to purchase a large amount of material to, in turn, gain greater profit. I could only buy small portions, and as a result, the already small profit had to be shared between buying more material and providing for my family,” Greenland shared.

COVID BUSINESS BLUES

Then came COVID, the pandemic that threw the world off its axes, including Greenland and her business. “Business slowed all the way down. Customers couldn’t afford to order as much as they used to; the materials for the sheets were stuck in shipment delays for months. I couldn’t do the work I was used to doing, and it really affected my family financially,” Greenland lamented. “But one thing I’ve learnt in business is to never give up and always persevere. My faith is strong, and I know that this is what I am called to do. So, I believe everything will work out in my favour.”

Greenland’s faith and her continued determination and perseverance led her to being nominated for the employee component of the NCB Foundation’s 2021 Grant a Wish programme by a National Commercial Bank staff member and customer of hers. “Avril has been making sheets and seamstressing for years, but only makes small profits to provide for her family. Her work is outstanding and of a very high standard. Unfortunately, she lacks the funds to invest in her business as she only has a few jobs based on what materials she can afford to purchase. I know that winning will enable her to really take her business to the next level,” Stashuna Hudson-Parchment, the NCB staff member who nominated Greenland, explained.

Over the holiday season, Greenland got the surprise of her life. Initially unaware that she had been nominated, Greenland soon found out that she was the top recipient of the staff Grant a Wish programme and received a gift of $500,000 towards her seamstress business. “I was absolutely shocked. There are not enough words to express how truly thankful I am. Thank you, NCB Foundation team! Thank you!” an excited Avril said in response to winning the prize. “Winning this award made me and my family so extremely happy. Financially, it boosted my confidence and helped me really believe that I can make my business bigger and better. Emotionally, it brought tears of joy to my eyes just knowing we had won! This gift will help me to take my business to the next level, to where I’ve always dreamed. I want to do so much more. I want to expand. I want to employ other people and really grow my business. I want to stockpile material so that I can have enough when there is a shortage. And I want to not only make sheets, but go into handbags, curtains, nightgowns, tote bags – you name it!”