Sunday 18 August, 2019

Burning desire to succeed leads Hanover native to entrepreneurship

Anna-Gay Livingston was encouraged by co-workers at the Western Union branch she worked to start her own business.

Anna-Gay Livingston was encouraged by co-workers at the Western Union branch she worked to start her own business.

When Anna-Gay Livingston left Sandy Bay, Hanover to study biochemistry at the University of the West Indies, Mona, she did so knowing she would have to settle in the capital city for a successful career.

Livingston’s plans, however, did not fully materialize as she was forced to put her studies on hold and take up a job at Western Union in Kingston, taking her outside of the science field in which she excelled as a student.

While working at the money transfer outlet, Livingston received encouragement from colleagues who first ordered her custom-made key rings and cushions.

“I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I wanted to be a doctor because I was told I was supposed to be a doctor. I was actually doing really well in the science subjects, the Mt Alvernia High School alumna said.

Click to watch the video by Marlon Reid

Livingston is the owner of FlameDolls Designs, a supplier of a range customised items including keyrings, cushions, tumbler cup, phone accessories.

“I actually took a leap of faith and left my full-time job to build this,” she told Young People in Business, noting that it had become too taxing to juggle both.

“I remember having to spend hours after work completing orders. And when I was at work, the only thing on my mind was going home to do the designs,” Livingston said.

But as enthusiastic as she was, Livingston didn’t have the first idea about how to run a business. So she turned to her accountant friend, who gave her valuable business lessons and guidance.

Running a business also forced Livingston to step outside her comfort zone and master the art of engaging with customers to generate sales.

She, however, believes that her unique style and policy to “never duplicate” designs has won over customers.

“Though there are larger companies who offer the products, they don’t offer custom-made designs that represent what customers like and represent,” Livingston said, noting that she supplies to customers across the island.

Livingston hopes to open a physical location for FlameDolls Designs and get her products into more pharmacies and gift shops within a couple of years.

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