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Real Life Stories
By: Jodi McFarlane
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Ever since I was young Iíve always known that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The thought of working for someone else and being told what to do completely turns me off.

I was brought up by my dad in Jamaica, when at age 14 I moved to England to live with my mum. It was my 14 years with my dad that made me know I didn’t want to work for others as I never once saw my dad stress over somebody else’s business.

By age 15/16, I started selling Mary Kay Cosmetics and soon got recognised as the fastest growing new consultant. I remember distinctively after joining the Entrepreneur Society at University, during a one to one with the President I was asked what I intended to do after University, and my reply was “to start my own business”. That left him amazed as according to him, all the others he had spoken to had plans to get jobs. Perhaps that in itself was a cunning plan as quite rightly you need capital to start a business, but it was the mind-set that I portrayed from a young age.

Fast forward to post University and many attempts to start a business in Jamaica and after studying at BPP Law School in Waterloo in summer 2010 I tried finding a job. I gave myself two months and couldn’t find anything. At the end of the two months I decided, well if no one’s going to give me a job, I’ll make one myself! So I did.

I started Reason & Seasons Cakes which provides bespoke designs on celebratory cakes and cupcakes - I have a sweet tooth and had always loved baking. A year on, business growing, I am determined not to fail and keep growing organically. My happy customers are my biggest advertisers and it elates me to see happy faces.

Subsequent to starting Reason & Seasons, I started Caribbean Social Network [CaribNet]. It is fun, interesting and such a joy to organise. CaribNet takes the concept of internet dating offline and brings it face to face, essentially turning it into singles networking. It’s such a brilliant idea as it gets rid of the stigma you would find attached to internet dating. It simply provides fun social scenes for singles to mingle and doesn’t take you away from social activities you’d normally take part in.

I started the network after speaking to friends and realising there was a common conversational thread - having a hard time finding a good Caribbean man! The network attracts people of a similar minds, and places all in one room. Ever been out and you meet someone, you’re hitting it off, conversation and laughter is flowing, only to then find out that the person’s already taken? On a night out your chances of finding a singleton is a large number to one, but at a CaribNet event it’s a definite 1:1 chance. Anyone can join the network, love has no boundaries, so why should I create one?

I’m really excited about both my ventures so I recommend everyone to try a Reason & Seasons cake or cupcake as I’m sure what you’ll be taking home is essentially a piece of happiness, and also come along to one of CaribNet’s get together and I guarantee it’ll be money well spent.

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