Min-Aldé George: I would not put my dreams on the backburner
By Andrea Louis
A multi-talented artisan who delved into a secondary line of work to reboot her first enterprise is inching closer towards enjoying the best of both worlds.
Min-Aldé George, a craft maker and natural products developer, registered her business, Kailimagik, in 2019 but was creating products long before then.
George tells The Sun her drive to be self-sufficient was nurtured when she was young.
"My parents always motivated me to make money and taught me how to do so," she said. "My first job, as a junior journalist at the Daily Herald in St. Maarten, was a nice experience of making money. Then I started working for other people and realized that I was helping someone to build their dreams while mine got put on the back burner."
With this mindset, Min-Aldé set off to work for herself and put her dreams front and centre. She started by creating a variety of natural body care products.
"I wanted to use more natural products on myself," she said. "I would make body scrubs, hair oils etc. Friends and family asked that I make for them and eventually suggested I sell those products. That is how I got into it."
George shared that she hit pause manufacturing, but her line of products consisted of 27 items, including hair oils, massage oil, body scrubs, and body butters.
She further explained why the manufacturing of her natural products had been temporarily put on hold.
"Hurricane Maria discouraged me," Min-Aldé admitted, "I was in the process of putting products together to launch. Only three or four scrubs survived when Maria happened, so that broke me down. I went to work for someone, and my dream took a backseat until COVID when I really got to focus on things."
This led George to pivot into another creative venture, Beaded Glory by Kailimagik, to restart her original enterprise.
"When I decided to focus on my business, I was looking to make money to resume creating natural products. I cross-referenced lists of things I am good at doing, stuff I can make money off of, and things that are therapeutic to me.
The result was beading and arts and crafts," she said.
Min-Aldé initially saw this as a short-term stint; however, two years later, she is in full swing into producing her beaded and craft items – such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, bamboo ashtrays, yarn wrap bottles - while simultaneously growing capital to fund her original project.
This young businesswoman describes her entrepreneurial journey as quite a learning experience.
"Honestly, it has been a challenge, but the gratification from knowing you created something from nothing drives you," she said. "And when you see the reaction from your customers and potential customers, that is a form of encouragement. I have learnt a lot through interaction with people."
In her years of learning from running her company, Min-Aldé has seen several areas where actions can be taken to improve the environment for entrepreneurs.
"One is, the college and Business Training Centre should do a certificate course in marketing, operating a business, entrepreneurship etc.", she said. "Also, mentorship is key to successfully owning your own business."
George also offers advice to those contemplating starting their enterprise.
"I would tell them to be patient, especially in Dominica, because our people are very picky about what they want, like, don't like, how they feel they should be treated as customers, etc. You have to be understanding and willing to learn from people," she said. "Also, research what you are going into, the market, and talk to others in that field."
As for the future of Kailimagik, Min-Aldé says, "I want to expand. Firstly, I want to recommence putting out my beauty products. I am working on my website to begin shipping out of the country and taking orders from outside Dominica. I also want to have a physical location in the next two years or so."