AT age 61, Dorrette U'Banks, proprietor of D'NexStep Sandals and Accessories, has started her own business in preparation for her retirement.
U'Banks believes that through owning successful, well-established and quality-driven businesses, Jamaicans will have the financial independence they need to enjoy their retirement.
It was after her position as the vice-president of the human resource division of a real estate agency was made redundant after 17 years of service, that U'Banks thought about her opportunities.
"As the real estate market went down, my job was to lay off the staff until one morning it was my turn to also be laid off," U'Banks said,
Not sure where she wanted to go, U'Banks said she knew the corporate environment was no longer suitable for her, so she decided to go into the leather sandals manufacturing business and registered D'NexStep Sandals and Accessories in October 2010.
"With a combination of chance, nightly dreams and persistence, I started a new journey in making leather sandals. Initially, the sandals were made by a third party. Then I decided to open a subsidiary in Jamaica where my sandals are uniquely handcrafted by talented craftsmen, made with padded leather insole and leather straps," said U'Banks, who has a showroom at Devon House and a factory along Heroes Circle in Kingston.
U'Banks was selected as one of the National Bakery's Bold Ones: New Champions of Manufacturing awardees on January 14 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. Her prizes consisted of free marketing and publicity of D'NexStep through advertisements on some of the National Bakery bread and biscuit trucks travelling across the island.
She told Career & Education this is one of her major achievements to date which she is still excited about.
With high competition from those who import and flood the Jamaican market with sandals, U'Banks said she is not deterred, but has faith that Jamaicans will be loyal to local manufacturers.
Below, U'Banks shares 10 benefits she has gained from becoming an entrepreneur.
1. I am independent.
2. I am creative.
3. I have learnt how to think out of the box.
4. I have found my true ability.
5. I have freedom with owning my own business.
6. I have fulfilled a dream.
7. I get opportunities to meet new people from different walks of life.
8. I bring great satisfaction to our clients.
9. I get to be innovative by offering new designs and a fresh new look to the footwear industry of Jamaica.
10. My contribution to the footwear industry has inspired many to start their own business or revamp old ones.