A group of 12 European entrepreneurs went on a visit to 3 female entrepreneurs on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten
The group of entrepreneurs was part of the Freedom Entrepreneur Cruise 2019 and visited the island for 1 day in December 2019. In stead of snorkeling or swimming they decided to connect with 3 local entrepreneurs.
The first stop was at the production facility and shop of Nectar St. Maarten. Nectar was founded a few years ago and was born out of frustration. The founder, Nalia Muriel, was searching for organic and non-chemical skincare products to use herself. Nothing was suitable for her, so she started to produce her first lotions on her own kitchen table. This is so typical for how entrepreneurs start their business. They want to solve a problem that they experience themselves.
From the kitchen table it went to a production facility where they produce dozens of products and work with around 15 employees already. Recently Nectar opened a spa facility on the other side of the island. Nalia Muriel was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year just before we arrived. After hurricane Irma in 2017 life is slowly back to normal again.
Building a product based business is a tough journey and we all loved to hear all stories of founder Nalia. She presented with passion, enthousiasm and dedication. We expect to see so much more from Nectar.
Her boutique shop in Philipsburg was destroyed by hurricane Irma
Zillah Duzon Hazel founded her fashion label Jolie Duzon some 6 years ago. Designing fashion and especially bags are her main passion. Always bright colored and with a Caribbean touch. She started a boutique shop in the main city on the island, Philipsburg, only to see it completely destroyed in 2017 by hurricane Irma. Her dream looked gone. For good.
Resiliently she fought back. She took a job to earn some money and build the brand up again. Now with another formula. She just creates and produces nice bags and the fashion shops on the island sell them for her. Now she calls this a blessing. She has the time to be creative and does not have to manage her shop anymore.
So great to hear real life stories of an entrepreneurs who just keeps going.
She started her life in Aruba, selling illegal lottery tickets
And now on the age of 77 she is a legend where she lives. Our guide and taxi driver calls her ‘his favorite old lady on the island’. She met the Dutch queen Beatrix 5 times, is decorated by the queen, and one of her paintings is shown in the Dutch parlement. We went for a visit to Dame Ruby Bute, an artist, autodidact painter, poet and story teller. She welcomed us in her gallery.
She didn’t have a good day, that day, she said. Her age comes with health issues. She got out of her bed because she knew we were coming, European entrepreneurs and she was looking forward to meet us. From one entrepreneur to the other. In her typical style she welcomed us and asked us where we were from. The Netherlands (that gave us a few Dutch words), Switzerland (oh, such a beautiful country), Austria (oh, Vienna, how amazing to meet you here), Iceland (oh, oh, she expressed her gratitude to the Icelandic people traveling so far to meet her).
As a storyteller Ruby Bute shared parts of her life, her youth and her journey as an artist. She is the kind of wise and old woman who just captures your attention. She made us laugh, she almost made us cry, she shared, she enjoyed, she gave her best. It was an honor, a big honor to have met her.
I will never forget her energy, her optimism, her energy, the oldest silk cotton tree in her garden, her colorful paintings and her dignity.
What an amazing meeting!
This entrepreneurial tour on Sint Maarten was part of the Freedom Entrepreneur Cruise.
To get inspired and get connected with women all over the world.
We are grateful for these opportunities and cannot wait to visit more female entrepreneurs in other places of the world.
What is your entrepreneurs story?