Your Name: Heneka Watkis-Porter
Business Name: Patwa Apparel Limited, a jamaican clothing design company
Type of Business: Clothing & Accessories
Business Location: Kingston, Jamaica
Reason for starting
I was always an independent thinker. Ever since an early age I knew in my heart that I wanted to operate my own business; the issue was with identifying what that would be. As I grew older I recognized that it was not just important to be financially secure but there was great value in being financially independent. I recognized the value of creating employment for myself as opposed to depending on jobs being created for me.
How do you define success?
I define success in terms of having a balanced life where areas of family, finance, business, wellness, spiritual, marriage, extra curricular activities, social life and hobbies are concerned. I am successful when I can find the time and money to volunteer to help others, spend time with family and friends, attend and be involved in church, take vacations overseas, etc without compromising the growth of my business. According to Brad Sugars, CEO Action Coach, a business is “a commercially profitable enterprise that can run without me”. I would have been successful also when I have multiple profitable enterprises that can operate efficiently and effectively without my presence. Importantly too, I define my life’s vision as “Life transformation through inspiration”. I am a success when I am able to inspire others to greatness through my words and action by enabling others to believe in themselves.
I have had numerous successes over the short time that I have been in business. The opportunity to travel to several parts of the world to network with persons I would not have had a chance to meet had I not been in business is great. For the first three and half years I worked full time while pursuing my business part time. Getting over the fear of the unknown to quit full time employment was my greatest achievement as it meant my mind was now in a place to achieve great things. Establishing a flagship outlet at the heritage rich location of Devon House (Kingston, Jamaica) is noteworthy. This location is ideal for my Jamaican clothing as it caters to the needs of visitors from all over the world. Getting the award of a “Bold One” of manufacturing from National Bakery in Jamaica was quite a success. This provided well needed marketing support which subsequently opened the door to a hosts of other opportunities.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
There has been several challenges along the way. The most challenging is finding the right persons for employment. Job-seekers are easy to find but identifying those that are aligned to your vision and mission is a little more difficult. Lately I have been using a group interview strategy for recruitment. This allows you to see how persons behave in a group setting and whether they would communicate openly while others are around; the interviewees also get to feel little more at ease compared to individual interviews. Other challenges faced includes lack of financial capital for marketing and other expenses. Given the limited/non-existent marketing budget, we find inexpensive ways of marketing using social media, website and a very effective marketing software that is able to send information out to thousands of customers/leads at any given time.
Who is your most important role model?
My desire is to be a leader that persons would want to follow not because of my position but because of how I lead. I am inspired by John C. Maxwell because of his teachings of leadership. I also inspired by Oprah Winfrey. Her humble beginnings and subsequent success is a poignant reminder that all things are possible.