As Gemini, we are known to be confident, ambitious, and fearless – an array of traits that are a part of the mold of the woman I am today. But it isn’t entirely natural, as I had the fortune of having an upbringing where those characteristics were also nurtured.
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to business-savvy parents who harbored a lifelong thirst for success. My dad was the manager of the State Theater in Cross Roads, St. Andrew, and my mom was a dressmaker who sewed handmade children’s dresses and sold them in the market. As one of six with an adopted sister, my parents struggled to give the best they could despite how hard they worked. And looking back as an adult, I realize they were masters at turning hardship into learning opportunities.
I was four years of age when the foundation was laid for my life’s trajectory. My mom would wake my brother and me at four o’clock to trim the excess thread from the dresses she made in preparation for that day’s sale. Many moments spent with my dad were at his place of work, where I got to watch him manage staff and successfully pack the theater week after week with moviegoers who stood online for hours. This is likely why I hate sewing, but those experiences helped condition a sharp business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit.
By age eleven, I had started understanding the business’s framework. In 1970s Jamaica, the government launched a program where people could find work cleaning up the sidewalks in communities. Since my mom was an excellent cook, she devised the idea to cook and sell meals to the community cleanup crews. My job was to deliver the food, record in my notebook who paid and owed for both meals and then go to school afterward.
I graduated from my adolescence with a crucial perspective, which is, understanding the various hats one needs to wear when managing a business. All of this was applied in 2001, when I launched my publishing business. A successful enterprise that ultimately succumbed to the torrent of digital content that came with the internet and social media (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc.). An era that saw a reduction in the consumption of printed media. But I am a Gemini. We do not give up. We are fearless. We are ambitious. We are confident.
After some time off, I opened a restaurant Kingston Grill in Elmont, New York. Today, it’s one of the most successful restaurants in the New York area, with as simple an approach as good food and personalized customer service. My competitive advantage was made possible with all the milestones in my life, and career, and holding close the belief that my customers are always number one.