Giselle graduated from UWI in 2009 with a BSc. in Environmental & Natural Resources Management and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Since then, she’s been able start and maintain a successful business. Here’s how she’s done it!

Describe your time at UWI.
Being a student was an enjoyable and exciting experience that exposed me to a variety of new knowledge. Much of the new knowledge caused me to question what I learnt before enrolling at University. One such course was actually Caribbean Civilisation.
At UWI, I also enjoyed networking. It allowed me to interact with a diverse variety of persons which in the future was the foundation that forged various business opportunities.

What was one of your most memorable moments on campus/during your studies?
One of my most memorable times was when my class took a one day trip to Tobago. We took the first flight to Tobago and the last flight back to Trinidad. It was enlightening to see Tobago through the eyes of a business person as well as being exposed to all the additional challenges that they were faced with.

In what year did you start your business?
I began my business GL Treasures in 2014 after much hesitation and delay, doubting myself thinking I wasn’t ready to start my business.

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What inspired this decision? 
I don’t like the idea of attending an event and someone is also dressed in clothing or accessories that I am wearing. Or someone saying “I have one just like that also” about a piece of furnishing that’s in my house. I have a taste for unique, one of a kind items whether it is accessories, clothing, paintings, household pieces, fittings or furniture. But most times when I found these items they were usually very pricey. I noticed that there were many persons that also have this similar taste in items. So my aim was to provide these items at an affordable cost so anyone can purchase them. The opportunity presented itself where I was able to acquire some of the inventory to start up my business. I already had some academic background in entrepreneurship and business start-up so I decided to put that knowledge to use.

What’s been the easiest part in running your business? 
If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life – Marc Anthony

The selection process is the easiest part of my business. I totally immerse myself and enjoy choosing the pieces that’s in my inventory for sale.

Describe one discouraging moment you encountered in business and what you did to overcome it. 
One of the first markets that I took part in, I didn’t make a single sale. This was very discouraging as money, time and effort went into acquiring inventory. I began to question myself and my business wondering if I had what it took to run a business and if my idea was any good in this competitive entrepreneurial industry. A few days after pondering on the market, I decided that I did want to own my business. I reassessed myself and my approach to markets. I researched the use of different displays using colours, stands, props and lighting to draw customers in. I incorporated these into my displays and became more engaging. These greatly assisted in attracting customers to my table/booth and also in my sales.

What advise do you have for new business owners?
Plan your business. Planning is the key to any successful business. Running a business is a learning curve. Be sure that’s what you want to do because there will be good days and not so good days and resilience is what will get you through those down times. Listen to your customers, believe in yourself, believe in your product or service and don’t give up.

How has your field of study impacted your business?
My studies in entrepreneurship gave me the tools required to start up my business.

What’s your personal mantra? 
My personal mantra is a quote from the late Steve Jobs “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

What’s been your proudest moment as a business woman? 
Knowing that with all the challenges being faced economically, I am still able to succeed.

What inspires your collections/lookbook?
We live on a Caribbean island so bright tropical colours always catches my eye as can be seen in some of my albums. Seasonality such as Christmas, Carnival and July-August vacation also influences my collections.

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Where do you get your inspiration? 
From my customers. I observe what they are interested in and try to satisfy that need. I also try to stay current, so I research today’s trends and adapt it to our culture.

What are your business goals for the next year? 
I presently run an online business. So I will be sourcing a physical location where I can have my items on display for potential customers to come and view the pieces being offered.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about your business? 
The biggest misconception is that I only have jewelry for sale. I also provide other items such as crystal pieces, accessories, handbags/clutches and other gift options.

With age brings wisdom, what advice would you give your younger self about starting and growing a business? 
I would definitely have started my business earlier. Nowadays you do not need an actual physical store to have a business. Online businesses are emerging in every industry making it easier to connect to customers. Don’t fear failure, embrace your dreams and take a leap of faith.

If you enjoyed Giselle’s interview and would like to learn more about her or shop from her range of products, visit her table at Things TT on November 11th at the UWI, JFK Auditorium.