By Shahein Fitzpatrick
A young businesswoman who operates from her Fort Road home recently spoke to Observer media about her challenges, and she is encouraging Antiguans and Barbudans to support local.
Rogierre Edwards, a part-time graphic designer at Signs and Impressions, and a graphic design major at the Antigua Barbuda International Institute of Technology, revealed that her entrepreneurship journey started while she was still in high school
“My journey began when I was attending the Antigua Girls’ High School. I started out doing photo editing, logos, and making clothes for a small number of people,” she said.
“It was after I started doing this and seeing my potential that I threw away my other career prospects and decided that I should take my talents seriously.
“In September 2017, I officially launched ProdiGii Concepts; my business is centred around graphic design, fashion design, art and seam-stressing. I became an entrepreneur because I noticed my abilities and wanted financial freedom,” she explained.
Edwards shared that her teachers and family members were quite encouraging as she explored her skills and went after her dreams.
“I was given the freedom and opportunity to explore and nurture my craft, and not many young people get that; as the saying goes ‘each one teaches one’.
“There’s no denying that most of my support comes from my family; they’re the ones who motivate me the most, and they’re there for every idea, failure and accomplishment.
Edwards explained that owning her own business comes with a number of obstacles.
“Having your own business is tough, it can be very frustrating and exhausting, it also takes a lot from you, mentally and physically. I’ve had to find ways to delegate time periods for each area of the business, depending on the amount of work I have,” she said.
Edwards also shared that ProdiGii gives her independence, a sense of purpose, happiness, and motivation. She explained that her business gives her a reason to wake up, to keep going, to keep pushing, to hold her chin up, to work hard and to stay focused.
She said, “Thinking of all I’ve done and accomplished thus far with ProdiGii makes me feel really blessed and contented, and I thank God for it all every day; this is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.”
Edwards continued by suggesting why it is important to support locals, especially young people.
“There are some of us building from scratch, we need support, we need it, most locals consider the skills of creative artists to be more of a hobby, than an actual profession.
“My hopes and dreams are for my skills and business to reach their maximum potential; I have many plans to further expand, even globally, but one of my goals for ProdiGii’s future is to motivate, inspire and assist other young people, especially those with a creative mind.
“ProdiGii a go global.”
Edwards added, “I often hear “is best u go-way, u nar go far with that in Antigua,” and being 21 years old, I’m often underestimated, undervalued and overlooked.
“My message to those who aspire would be one of my favourite quotes: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. [Eleanor Roosevelt] Young and old, no matter who you are or where you are, whatever it is you’re thinking about doing, be it an idea, job, business, life goal – embrace it, believe in it, and go after it now.”