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Over a year ago Carol Bodoo was a student at the University of Technology [UTECH] reading for her Bachelor of Science in nursing until she was forced to abandon her studies.
“I have tried a lot of things, but no matter what I do, I always seem to come back to the arts. I think this is my calling,” she says, as she pounds the hammer against a thin piece of leather that was soon to become a strap for one of her handmade sandals.
The 31-year-old single mother was demonstrating how she tapped into her creative genius to put food on her table by selling sandals and cosmetic jewellery.
How it started
Bodoo explains that due to intervening circumstances, she had to quit university just a year shy of completing her degree.
After months of sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring with news of a job offer, she acted on the advice of persons around her and set out to start her own business.
“I was doing key rings and other things for my daughter’s school project and the teachers at the school fell in love with them and encouraged me to consider selling. I then decided to make cosmetic jewellery and sell to my friends who continued to request more.”
Bodoo says soon there was a request for her to try her hands at making sandals and she did not hesitate to take up the challenge.
“It was hard work. I sliced my thumb right through the first time,” she says.
“At times I wanted to just quit but my daughter motivated me. I didn’t want her to see me starting something and then giving up half way through because I always tell her once she starts something she should finish it.”
Bodoo says eventually her sandal also became popular among her associates, and shortly afterwards she received an offer to sell some of her wares from a popular store in downtown Kingston.
The former UTECH student added that since she began marketing on social media she has seen an increase in the demand for her products not just locally.
“Recently some girls from Trinidad saw my sandals and contacted me. They were coming to Jamaica at the time and made eight orders. After they went back I noticed people over there began liking the page and the orders kept coming in,” she explains.
Bodoo recently registered her business under the name ‘Madison Accessories and More’ and hopes to one day open a physical store.
She further disclosed that a few months ago she enrolled as a student at HEART Trust/ NTA to sharpen her skills in both sandals and shoe making and become certified.
Bodoo says, looking back, she has no regrets, adding that HEART has equipped her to achieve her goals.
She is encouraging persons who are facing difficulty finding a job to learn a skill.
“HEART is there for everyone to improve on whichever skill area they enjoy. You can have a million CXC subjects and still be at home without a job, but once you have a skill you can make a living for yourself.”
She adds: “With the training I am getting now, when people hear the name ‘Madison Accessories and More’ they will know it’s quality products they are getting.”