Turning pain into passion

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Jacqueline Marshall wants to go places with her ‘Décor Plus and Metal Works’ business

By Naomi Marshall

A Guyanese living in Barbados turned her pain into passion after losing her sister to cancer back in 2015, which caused her to fall into a deep depression.

“The sudden passing of my beloved sister Shondel in 2015 sent me in search of my true purpose and directed me to where I am today. I took my pain and turned it into my passion and my passion into a business,”Jacqueline Marshall related.

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Now she dreams of turning her small business, ‘Décor Plus and Metal Works’ into a multimillion-dollar company. Decor Plus & Metal Works, registered in July 2018, is a two-fold business as the name suggest. The ‘Decor Plus’ aspects includes Marshall’s brand called Lalena and has decorative handmade pieces. The brand Lalena showcases Marshall’s fashionable side and has earrings, bags, high fashioned and customized face masks.

Meanwhile, the ‘Metal Works’ aspect deals with welding and fabrication. Marshall indicated that this section of her business has full-time employees and part-time workers as well.

The entrepreneur noted that her business has made some in roadsinto the local and international market over the years.

She noted that whilesourcing machinery and materials for her business can be a challenge, improvising works out well in most cases.

Owner of Décor Plus and Metal Works, Jacqueline Marshall spent her childhood days in Bartica, Cuyuni-Mazaruni. In an interview with Village Voice News, the 45-year-old womandescribed what it was like living in that part of Guyana.

“Bartica back then was a really close knitted community, everyone knew each other or of each other,” she said.

Marshall recalled concerts being hosted among the youths of the community which challenged her and the other youths to use raw materials to make costumes to model or perform in, hence this sparked her creativity.

“Back then children would have to improvise with all sorts of handmade pieces to include in daily play such as homemade kites and scooters to name a few,” she noted.

“At one point the older girls of Bartica’s Old Housing Scheme would organise concerts and each home would participate by helping to make handmade costumes to either model or dance in from materials like coconut tree branches and rice bags, among others,” she remembered.

Marshall attended the St. Anthony’s Primary school and later went on to the Bartica Secondary.

After graduating secondary school,she was offered to teach at one of the schools in her community and in 1994 Marshall was one of the youngest to attend the Teachers Training College(CPCE) where she majored in Integrated Science.

She graduated CPCE in 1996 and a year later she attended the Institute of Creative Arts also known as the National School of Dance, for the Teacher’s programme.

There she had the opportunity to be trained by veteranVivian Daniels and the lateAndre Subryan, amongst others.

A year later Marshall commenced studies in Education at the University of Guyana. However, after completing her first year, tragedy struck.

“There was a main street lime which my brother had invited myself and roommate to attend and we were robbed at knife point and my left hand was injured. Soon after this I migrated to Barbados 2001,” Marshall said.

The mother of one told this entity that her transition from Guyana to Barbados was one of shock on many levels.

“As a female back them it was really difficult to get into the work field, especially in those areas such as teaching. I was advised to apply to the Teacher’s Training College in Barbados which I refused outright. I did not mind doing courses to complement my training from Guyana but to re-enter all over again was a slap in the face in my opinion coming from a CARICOM country. It was difficult to wean myself off of teaching but I decided to try new avenues,” she related.

She then worked for a short while in customer service and medical transcription and even got certified in both areas but yet again it did not feel like her calling, instead she felt overwhelmed.

“I recall asking the almighty to direct my path and take the wheel. Because I was at a cross road and really didn’t know which way to go,” Marshall noted.

And in 2015 when Marshall’s sister died she began painting to cope with her loss.

The Guyanese began painting on canvas and cushions. Her eye-catching pieces were admired by friends and family. To improve her skills, Marshall made use of You Tube which taught her more about painting and its techniques. The young woman was on an ‘artistic train’ which brought her to where she is today, the owner of Décor Plus and Metal Works.

Now she is able to spend her days creating products that she excited about.

“I did not want to make the mistake of being involved in things that will eventually lead to severe burnt out. Now I get to make products I am excited about,” she noted.

“My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to keep your eyes on your own path and as you go through your journey always take time to reconnect with your ‘why’ and your ultimate goal is to ensure you are on the right path of building your business your way.” Marshall said.

Marshall indicated that she would like to expand her business in the future and provide employment for more people.

“In the near future Decor Plus and Metal Works is looking to move from a small business to a company, with hopes of providing employment for more persons who will assist in building and expanding the company.

Marshall also sees herself venturing into other areas of investment in the future.

Persons interested in contacting Owner of Décor Plus and Metal Works, Jacqueline Marshall can message her on Facebook.



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