Business in the bag
by Kimberly Cummins
This is one way to describe Kerri Horton-Wiltshire. She is a mother, a wife, an employee and now a budding entrepreneur.
Like many other people, the current economic situation has left her pockets filled with sometimes nothing but lint. However, instead of dwelling on her situation she decided that because of her two young children it was a must that she got up and looked for a legal way to acquire additional spending power. So, in March this year, the 35- year-old incorporated her love for bags with her love for her children and came up with an idea to design and produce bags for sale. Despite settling on her decision, she still did not have a surplus of money to begin the venture. With one of her friends and supporters, Tracey, seated next to her with a look of pride on her face, Horton-Miltshire recalled to Barbados TODAY that determined to start her own business she took some of her bills money to buy materials. With thoughts of insecurities of what might now result for her doing this circulating her brain, she headed to Bridgetown and purchased burlap material in three different colours. In addition she bought cotton also in three other colours to match the burlap and made her first set of bags.
“I decided I would make something that I like doing and not feeling it is work. I had a back ground in making clothes because you know when you growing up poor, you learn to do things for yourself. I didn’t want to make clothes so because I love bags, I sketched ideas and then tried to cut them like my sketches,” she said.
That first set went so well, they sold out and she was then able to gain enough resources to put it back into the enterprise to produce more bags. KMH Creations, the 100 per cent Bajan business in only three months now produces customised clutches, hand bags or whatever type of bag and colour her customer prefer. Horton-Wiltshire assured that her bags are of the highest quality.
“I didn’t want to build a bag and it look like any other thing, I wanted really nice designs for the ladies. I decided that if I am going to sell a bag it has to be sturdy. I don’t want to sell something that is going to malfunction on somebody- I had one little hiccup and I felt real bad, I almost wanted to cry.
“My bags are cheaper than you would find in a store because at the end of the day I am now starting out yes but yes I still want to make a profit. I want to make people come to me and say ‘you know what, there is somebody in The Pine who does really nice bags and there are not expensive.’ I want people to come to me, forget [the malls], I would like for everybody to have a unique style from me,” she said.
This young woman is still a merchandiser at another job, but with the help of her family she is able to balance her time quite well. After working her day job she makes sure to spend time and do motherly stuff with her children and devotes quality time to her husband as well.
How does she do it? “Easy,” she explained, because for her creating her distinctive pieces was not work.
“For me, because I love what I am doing is not work. I like to see when my pieces are finished and I stuff them out. I guess when you really, really love something it comes easier to do. When you love your children and you want to see them have things that other people have you try to do it for them. I love creating things, then to place a tag on them marked made in Barbados.”
She revealed that one day she would like to retire from her current job and open her own shop. But right now that was not feasible because although the business has been doing pretty well on its own, the income from merchandising helped to push it.
“If it comes to a point that I can maintain my children, my house and everything with just this – I will,” she vowed as she laughed out loudly. firstname.lastname@example.org