Rosette Sylvester: you need to have faith
By Andrea Louis
An entrepreneur can be defined as someone who sets up a business, taking on financial risks to make a profit.
Rosette Sylvester is one such individual who gravitated towards entrepreneurship when other circumstances did not work in her favour.
"A few years ago, I was pregnant with my son, working at a company, and was laid off for no clear reason," Rosette told The Sun. "From there I decided to do something for myself as it would be difficult to get a job as a pregnant woman."
Sylvester then pivoted by selling food on the Roseau Bayfront and eventually to other establishments. She subsequently joined a business selling a packaged combination of items at a discounted price.
"These packaged items included underwear, and this is where I got the idea," she said.
Rosette credits her decision as it has kept her afloat financially. However, she shares it has only sometimes been smooth sailing.
"The upside is that you work on your own time, and everything you get back is yours," she said. "The downside, however, is that when sales are low, the temptation to work for someone surfaces as you feel your earnings would be constant with a job."
Rosette admits the life of entrepreneurship requires a deep level of faith and regular prayer to God for the business idea to yield profit because "it is a struggle being an entrepreneur, especially at the beginning phase. But then you think of what you make for someone versus what you can make on your own, and you realise it makes more sense to work for yourself."
Sylvester firmly believes if someone is patient, they will reap the benefits of the business.
"At the beginning, support is fickle because people don't know you, they have to gain trust in you and your product, and it has to be at a price that meets their pocket," she said.
Additionally, Rosette has realised the importance of developing relationships with her clients.
"Along the way, I learned to provide good customer service to my clients. I would not only sell but advise my customers, which enabled me to build a relationship with them," she said.
Sylvester tells The Sun that support for her enterprise not only comes from patrons. She acknowledges a former employer who helped her develop her sales pitch and marketing strategy. Also, as a client of NDFD, she recognises the management and staff who have been very supportive and instrumental in helping her manage and operate her business. She, therefore, highly recommends this institution to anyone sourcing funds to finance their business.
On supporting local business owners, Sylvester has several ideas on how to make the business climate more friendly to first-timers.
Her suggestions include a reduction in port taxes which may help entrepreneurs sell their products at a lower price; greater exposure on local media so the wider public knows of their existence and can lend support; equal opportunity and access to loans and grants; and educating the people on the benefits of buying local.
Rosette went into business eight years ago, establishing a name and reputation for herself that keeps customers coming back. One of her plans is to change her company's name to her very own, Rosette's Intimates.
Other plans will be for the continued benefit of her enterprise and clients.
"I cannot say what exactly, but I know it will be great because I have faith in God and my customers," she said. "I know the future is bright."
Sylvester hopes to inspire others who plan to become entrepreneurs, saying, "I would advise that is the best way to go. It is better when you can do your own thing on your own terms. Do not lose hope; whatever you choose to do, make sure it is something you have a passion for. Also, have faith in your Creator, believe in your ability and never let anyone deter you from pursuing your dreams."