Saint Lucian Penelope Prospere had a stark choice after she was laid off as a flight attendant during the COVID-19 pandemic – sink or swim.
So she chose the latter.
As a result, Prospere turned her hobby of making jewelry into the business brand ‘bel_kou’.
The small business is now her main income source.
The Saint Lucian entrepreneur discussed her transition on the programme ECCB Connects.
During the programme, she encouraged young business people to be confident and value their talents.
Prospere recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that the world was gradually shutting down.
But she explained that nothing prepares an individual for the day they lose their job.
Prospere described the experience as a ton of bricks.
“I took some time and I grieved,” she said.
She noted that the job loss coincided with a lockdown in Barbados.
As a result, Prospere said her mental health became a priority because she had a lot to absorb.
However, Prospere said once she was able to pick herself up, she turned to what she had already been doing as a hobby – making jewelry.
“It took a while to adjust,” she stated.
Prospere said she had also started making face masks because her friends needed them.
But she said she had started creating jewelry when she moved to Antigua about seven years ago.
According to her, at the time it was merely to help her deal with the rigours of her job.
Nevertheless, she recalled that others gave her overwhelming encouragement to turn the hobby into a business.
Therefore Prospere said she made the transition towards the end of 2019.
She explained that she started taking business coaching online which helped her develop self-confidence.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Prospere revealed with a chuckle.
She said she also had to learn social media, which she said was a major factor in changing the trajectory of her business.
“If you are not on social media now as a small business owner, what are you doing? You are not anywhere,” Prospere declared.