by Marlon Madden
R&J Merchandise is among the newer set of micro businesses on the island spared the worse from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. And owner Rennette Dimmott is attributing this to her business model.
Having no physical location, Dimmott explained that she simply takes orders from individuals for “anything under the sun”, gives an estimated time of delivery, source the items and then delivers them.
“We have been doing pretty well in the market because it is merchandise where we buy and sell anything under the sun. The focus is that you order what you want and then we get the item to you,” she said.
“It is a new model and it is a good model too, because you won’t have stock on your hand. Therefore, I find that works. People would order what they want rather than you purchasing a lot of stock and having it on your hand to sell off. So that has worked,” she stressed.
Reporting that business has been steady during the height of the pandemic despite starting a mere two months before it started to affect the island, Dimmott said she was especially happy she did not have to deal with the overhead costs that were associated with running a physical store.
“The overall infrastructure is different because it is done by ordering and delivering so that overhead expense is not there, which is a very good thing. The operating cost for the brick and mortar is not there so it makes it better.
We are still there holding our own, it is doing well,” she said.
Dimmott currently works with two other people. The former nurse and lecturer told Today’s BUSINESS she started her merchandising business in January 2020 simply because she wanted to enjoy the privilege of working for herself.
“I believe in working for myself and having that degree of autonomy. When you are working for someone you are always at their whim and fancy, but once you develop something for yourself you can move at your own pace.
“Not that you don’t have to put in the hours, because as a self-employed business person you have to put in more hours, but it is still a great feeling and it is designed to help build you – it helps build self-esteem, self worth and it is part of development, it helps to nurture those managerial skills and develop you as a person into a well rounded being,” she explained.
Dimmott, who is in the process of completing her law degree at the University of the West Indies, is also a writer and trained forensic psychologist and drug counsellor.
She said she believed in the continuing upgrading of skills and she encourages anyone hoping to start a business to take the leap.
“I would encourage anyone to get into business and seek other avenues because it helps with development, it puts your name out there and it is something to look forward to. You can’t just throw your hand up in the air,” she said.
“To me, any business is good once well planned out and structured and the business plan is designed to ensure that your targets and goals are delivered at the end of the day. I think [entrepreneurship] is still a good area for young people to engage in,” said Dimmott.
The former operator of a short-lived café at the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre said when she was staring that business several years ago she had challenges in obtaining financing from an institution to do so.
Fortunately for Dimmott, she has been able to save over the years and that played a critical role in the establishment of her business.
“At that time I would have approached several financial institutions in Barbados and I find that they do not help small business persons. But I went ahead nevertheless. You know you have money stacked for different things, and while you don’t want to utilise all that money, but because I was not successful with those institutions I then utilised my funds to open that business,” she recalled.
Dimmott said she hoped authorities would take the entrepreneurship more seriously and do a lot more to assist potential entrepreneurs to access funding to start their own business.