Living the entrepreneurial dream
You can call her a Jane of all trades.
Kimtara Clarke is the definition of a superwoman. She’s a mother of three, a wife and an entrepreneur who wears many hats.
For some, it may sound like a lot and, in any case, it may just as well be. But for Kimtara, this is the life and, though it wasn’t always the ultimate dream, it’s the best life and she couldn’t imagine herself doing anything else.
Under her entrepreneurship umbrella, Kimtara is the brains behind the ever-popular Girlfriends Expo, operations director at Trident Entertainment Network and a professional graphic designer.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur for 10 years. I do wear many hats (but most) of what I do is in the entertainment field,” she told Bajan Vibes. “In terms of entrepreneurship, I don’t want to say it’s any area I’ve always wanted to get into but I can definitely look back at my life and tell you I’ve always been influenced by entrepreneurs.”
She went on: “Growing up, my grandparents were somewhat entrepreneurial. I always had that influence around me. I did study graphic and advertising arts and I did go into the workforce for a couple years before I went into entrepreneurship.”
Kimtara said after she had her first child, she loved the idea of having more free time and this further confirmed her decision to seriously pursue the path of being an entrepreneur.
“When I went into entrepreneurship, it was also around the time I had my first child. I kind of liked the freedom that that brought, being able to do a little more on the mommy side but still being able to make a living. I enjoyed that,” she added.
It is Kimtara’s love for helping others that keeps her going and motivated. Girlfriends Expo which comes off this weekend at the Barbados Concorde Experience, was born out of a desire to provide an avenue for other entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses.
“I have a passion for helping others so that’s big for me. Girlfriends Expo was started eight years ago. We wanted to create an event where women of all ages could come together, have fun but at the same time we could send an empowering message and lend to the education of women. It’s actually our tag-line — empowering, educating and entertaining,” the 38 year old explained.
“We wanted to give entrepreneurs in the market a chance to build their client base because the hardest thing as an entrepreneur is finding the money that is necessary for marketing of a business especially a new business and building a client base, of course.”
Kimtara’s designing skills are put to the test through Girlfriends Expo as she designs ‘pretty much everything’ herself. As for Trident Entertainment Network, this too was founded to provide other entrepreneurs with a chance to showcase their work.
“It’s an on-line platform started with my husband. We started with a TV show called Entrepreneurs Anonymous. That again was built to help entrepreneurs. That led us to sign a deal and we now have Channel 116 on the MCTV platform . . . . That gives producers on the market a chance to showcase their work,” Kimtara said.
“It’s a growing industry but not a lot of opportunities to showcase their work so that is why Trident was started. Right now, we promote 75 per cent local content. The rest is open to the region. The idea is to market what we can do and to showcase people who look and sound like us.”
But just where does Kimtara find the time to manage her various business activities and still be a full time mom? She told Bajan Vibes it comes down to having a great supporting team.
“Wearing a lot of hats comes down to time management, balancing, support systems, all those things come into play. But there is a level of flexibility that comes with it. I can set my own hours (which is) a plus but it does take a lot of time. I’m not going to tell anyone that it’s easy. You definitely need to have support systems both in business and personally. That’s very important.
She continued: “At home, I have two fantastic parents, a wonderful sister and a mother and father-in-law who help as much as they can. Thankfully now the kids are back in school, it gets a little easier because I have my days back but I still have to deal with them on evenings. Some days are late, I have to balance that. You have to find what works, and trying to do as much as possible in the early I find that helps.”
And when does she find time for herself? With a hearty chuckle, Kimtara replied: “Sometime in March, maybe the balance of February. You just have to find the time. I’m not going to kid you, there isn’t much of that. But I enjoy my kids. Time spent with them is time for me. Family is everything for me.”
Kimtara offered some advice for fledgling entrepreneurs and those thinking about going into the area. “Don’t give up. Find people who can work with you who have similar interests. They may not always be dedicated to the cause but at least that little bit of help would help you in the end.”
“Try to balance it out as much as possible. It’s not going to be easy so be prepared to put a lot in at the beginning but if you stick with it, it usually pays off. It took eight years for me so don’t give up. Know why you are doing it. Have a purpose. Be persistent and stay on course.”