Micheline Darroux: Being able to employ people blesses my heart
By Andrea Louis
A young Dominican woman, with a strong connection to the French islands and the wider Caribbean, is committed to growing her reach around the region and the world.
Micheline Darroux, owner and manager of Toutes Connexion, told The Sun she felt a passion to develop a connection with the country where she was born, hence the reason she started her entrepreneurial journey.
"I was born in Guadeloupe but I never got the opportunity to live there, speak the language, etc. I started by selling Yop and yoghurt so I would order the grapes, apples, yoghurt, etc. from Guadeloupe and I started my fruit business," Darroux said.
Micheline tuned in to her knack for selling goods, and on the advice of her customers would order more items to meet their needs.
"In doing the fruit business I had a lot of people start asking me to bring in different items. So, I started to bring in different French items," she said.
Darroux relied heavily on selling imported items to Dominican customers due to her then job which, while good, was not a year-round gig.
"I used to work with the aerial tram so we used to work for six months and the other six months we'd practically be out of a job. Every year I would travel to the US and return with stuff to sell," Darroux said.
Looking for Growth
She recalls her very humble beginnings, selling items way back in her childhood days when she would visit her grandmother in Wesley and help with sales. This is the reason she has a Toutes Connexion branch in Wesley and is looking to grow that operation.
"Our problem in Wesley is one of space. If we could get the same location but bigger that would be good and better for my grandmother," she said.
Micheline also has plans to expand the Roseau outlet before exploring other communities to expand her business.
"In Roseau right now my difficulty is space. If you visit my shop, it is really well put together, but some people are reluctant to enter because there is little space in the aisles. However, if I could get more space that would be a plus for me," she said.
Darroux admits that as an entrepreneur one of the hardest things is to have people say 'no', especially financially, on a regular basis.
"First my working capital was a challenge. When you start a business, you have to make a name for yourself or the bank is not willing to take a chance on you," she said. "The bank turned me down every step of the way. I was never taken seriously."
Through perseverance and dedication, Micheline was finally able to set up her business and told The Sun the highlights of being her own boss are fulfilling her dream and helping people.
"Now, having my heart's desire, being an entrepreneur, and just satisfying the needs of people means a lot to me," she said. "And two, being able to employ people, that blesses my heart. Because I can remember coming out from nothing to where I am today."
Her word of caution to those seeking to embark o their own entrepreneurial journey: "The most important thing is to seek God because you need wisdom, knowledge, and understanding," she said. "Secondly, if you set your mind on something, it is your heart's desire, go ahead and do it, love what you do."
Darroux plans to continue developing her connections and growing her business to remain true to the name Toutes Connexion.
"Toutes Connexion means we are connected to different products and items. We are connected to the Dominican market, and the French market, and we are involved in the European market. And soon we'll be connected to be the Trinidad market," she predicted.