Globally the socio-economic environment is being adversely affected due to the nefarious, far reaching tentacles of the novel coronavirus. But 16 year-old Michaela and her mother Yinca Chambers-Goodluck refused to be swayed by the potential depressing trade and industry outlook and have banded together to kick start a “headbands and [face] masks” profit-making venture.
Yinca Chambers-Goodluck told Asbert News Network that it was her children who inspired the movement which quickly took on the makings of a commercially viable endeavor.
“They are the ones who encouraged the start of this business. It started out, initially, with me using cloth that I had around the house to make masks for them. After I made the masks for them Michaela posted pictures on her WhatsApp and persons began showing interest.
“It started out with her friends and then her friends’ parents. Then within a matter of days we had an influx of orders for masks.”
The mother of 3 praised the significance of a balanced education to her children’s upbringing and individuality.
“I always encourage my children to be independent and while I think that school is important, I think that it’s equally important that children learn whatever skill it is that they may gravitate towards.
“And as parents we are to encourage and support them once it’s something positive and we are supposed to let them flourish. Just like a tree, or a flower, you plant the seed and you watch it grow.
“You hope that it blossoms into a beautiful flower or a beautiful tree that would provide shade for others.”
As per Yinca’s personal motto, “sharing [her] gifts with others,” meant that she not only gets better at the skills she’d attempted to learn overtime but these same skills are passed on to her children.
“I am an Information Cadet with the Agency for Public Information but before that I owned a nail salon – well I still do – but I took up sewing because it was a means of me doing something that was calming. In my spare time I would look at, maybe, a dress and try to make it. I would practice and practice until I perfected whatever it was that I was trying to do.
“Of my 3 children 2 are girls so whatever I do I’d sit with them and I’d show them; if I’m doing something and they’re not around I’d call them to observe so that they would be able to see all the processes that go into whether it’s dressmaking or nail extensions or pedicures or make up.”
Yinca confessed to stoking her children’s entrepreneurial genes by engaging them in an informal and somewhat simplified market research conversation which led to the production of the headbands.
“We started talking about the things which young ladies around my daughter’s age and maybe younger and even older women [might like] and we decided that it could be a good thing to try headbands and to make the headbands from Ankara fabric which a lot of people call African print fabric.
“So those are chiefly what we use to make the headbands though we have a plain style, a turban style, a style we call a bow and we also have a wider one which provides more coverage for persons who may have locks or you may not feel to comb your hair one day;
“You could just put your headband on and rock to work, or rock to town or rock out with your friends. We try to find prints that are not usual and we use those.”
Michaela works hard to investigate design concepts, “even sometimes when I’m ready to sleep she is online and researching and looking to see how we can do different styles and so on and then we would try them out,” Chambers-Goodluck said.
Recognizing the importance of marketing to any profit-making concern, the duo combines both of their individual WhatsApp networks as well as the leverage provided through social media outlet InstaGram to advertise their products.
Potential buyers are encouraged to peruse the selections @iHeadband-it on that platform before placing any orders.
Purchases are delivered or arrangements can be made, via the page, to have the items picked up. Currently their operation is limited to cash on delivery though social distancing requirements could mean that digital payment options like Squeeze Cash may soon be available.
“As a mom I’d just like to encourage parents who have children at home, who have the time whether it’s after school or during this period when we’re being asked to stay at home, to find things that are interesting to do;
“And to keep their minds occupied so that they don’t get bored or they’re not tempted to go out and maybe do something foolish. So encourage them, see whatever skill they have or whatever skill they can learn. Remember the internet is a very powerful tool.”
The younger Goodluck joined with her mother to encourage families across SVG to emulate her family’s enterprising energy; a trait which can be used, if properly harnessed, to help train young adults to contribute to their household incomes, “however small it may be…. They [can also] learn the value of earning their own money.”
Michaela told us, “what I usually do is to tell my classmates when they’re not in online classes they can find something productive to do with their time, to use their talents to their best abilities because they are lots of people taking advantage of this quarantine time to better their skills and develop some sort of business sense out of this.”
Ms. Goodluck one friend, “who has started their own baking business” and another “who has started doing hair and makeup and so forth – so I know at least somebody is listening to my advice.”