Alumni Spotlight - March 2019: Chris-Ann James
ECC Alumna - Chris-Ann James
Academic School – School of Nursing & Allied Health
Business Name - Fabhijabeez
In what year did you begin your studies at Excelsior Community College?
I am very much appreciative of this highlight. I started Excelsior Community College in 2011 in the School of Natural Science and Mathematics where I did Unit 1 and 2 CAPE Subjects. I was successful in those examinations.
In 2014, I enrolled in the then School of Nursing (now the School of Nursing and Allied Health), where I completed four (4) years and graduated with a Bachelors Degree (Honours) in 2018.
Give a brief overview of your current business
Leaving nursing school and having a little more free time on my hands, I added to an existed business (Fabhijabeez- fabulous scarves) which started in 2016.
To what extent did your studies at Excelsior Community College motivate you to start your own business?
My initial reason for starting Fabhijabeez was to assist with tuition and to buy necessities that would aid me in nursing school such as books, instruments et cetera.
Furthermore as a Muslim, here in Jamaica myself and fellow sister in faith face challenges finding stores that sell scarves and if we do they were not much variety and always expensive. Over the years non Muslims have gravitated towards “my little scarf business”, so I started including other head wears, such as, Assorted turbans, hair Jewelries, scrunchies, pins, just to name a few.
What are the top five challenges you experienced in the early stages of starting your business?
Starting my own business was not very easy, there were a lot of hardships. I was a bit shy. Additionally, accessing capital, determining marketing strategies, balancing nursing school with Fabhijabeez and getting back little to no profit after sales.
How did you overcome these challenges?
As far as my shyness is concerned, I started sourcing “pop up shops” where I had to first build a relationship with them which I learn from nursing school in order to engage customers and sell the brand.
Secondly, to make a profit after sale, I kept a record which I still do, where I wrote down all cost prices, calculated markup costs in order to have a selling price that could make me profit (thanks to my marketing Course in Nursing school taught by Mrs. Marlene Campbell from the business department). By doing that I was able to make enough money to restock and of course pay back money to my parents that I continuously borrowed to restock after failing to make back the money I spent. Additionally, I started outsourcing marketing strategies, so I set up business accounts on social media, attending more pop up shops and testing the market to see what customers like.
Finally, balancing nursing school and Fabhijabeez was more than a hard task, because if anybody knows nursing would know it’s not easy, it’s very time consuming, some nights I cried, some days I want to frown but nobody will know because I always smile, my eyes most times don’t know how sleep felt. I had to be disciplined and follow my study time tables. I started eliminating distractions and focused my time and energy on two impactful things because without this business I wouldn’t be able to sustain myself through nursing school and a lot of my nursing knowledge I transferred into Fabhijabeez. Nothing beats being professional and when you care you ensure customer satisfaction.
What is most satisfying experience about owning a business?
Being a business owner helps you to meet different people with different characters, culture and the list goes on, and you have to be tolerant and open minded. Furthermore, seeing the constant smile from customers, the positive reviews and of course the few negative ones because these help you to get better and do more, that I call success.
Any advice to young entrepreneurs?
My advice to young and upcoming entrepreneur, the road is not always going to be clear without bumps and blockages, challenge yourself, do things that you truly believe in and are passionate about, have a vision, take actions and deliver more than expected.
I want to say a big thank you to the Excelsior Community College staffs and especially to the nursing faculty who molded me into the great professional I am. Follow Fabhijabeez on all social media please. Age Amino!
Tel: +1 (876) 313-7142
Facebook: Fabhijabeez JA