10-MINUTE MANAGER: Melissa Batson
Are you where you’ve always wanted to be?
Almost! I still have some tasks to conquer! My goal is to become a professional chocolatier offering unique chocolates in terms of flavour, design etc. Right now we offer chocolate dipped treats and host events but I think I can safely say “I’m there!” when we start production of our branded chocolates, which will most likely be sooner rather than later.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
Funding! JEM’s Gourmet Chocolates is an “out-of-pocket” operation. We have approached several agencies for loans but it’s hard explaining your vision to persons who aren’t entrepreneurs themselves and then too you have to be careful who you share your vision or ideas with. There are many wolves in sheep clothing, unfortunately, and daily I live with seeing someone who has more money and connections, seemingly being successful on an idea I shared with them. So I can guess my other challenge would be trust! But the funding will come!
What is your biggest life challenge?
Finding the balance. I’m not only the owner of JEM’s Gourmet Chocolates but I am a mother and a wife and sometimes it can get overwhelming.
When you look to the future what do you see?
I would really hope that we are financially stable. I want to always know that my family is taken care of and that business is great! The other day my daughter sat down with me and gave me a list of things she wanted for her birthday and I was like…Lord, help me! I know that with God all things are possible and with Him by my side, my future is bright.
What is your favourite pastime?
When I’m not working, I’m on Facebook or Instagram or watching the television, which doesn’t last long as I’m always thinking of what to do next!
What is your favourite meal?
I’m a big foodie but I love anything Italian!
On Saturday nights where are you likely to be?
It really depends. Most Saturdays I’m home with the babies, I have a five-year-old girl and a 19-month-old boy. They keep me grounded. If not, I’m at an event, since JEM’s is also an event hosting business with a range of chocolate themed events.
What upsets you the most?
Negative people! It’s particularly upsetting when those negative people are those whom you thought had your back or to have been in your corner. Being in business can be so hard at times and it’s even harder when you have people looking down at you for trying! Or they see your efforts and undermine what you want to achieve! If you want to be successful in life, you need to surround yourself with people who can encourage and support you, even when you fail!
What is your guiding philosophy?
Don’t give up! And mind you, there were times, plenty, when I wanted to throw my hands up and walk away! I’m afraid of being a failure so I would rather be safe than assume the risk! So every time I get to that point, after a good cry, I dust off the insecurities and tell myself don’t give up! Thank God for those who remind me of the same! I have more to gain than to lose.
If you had the chance to manage Barbados for a day, what would you do?
Had to think long and hard about this one and I’m still not sure. I would seek to find a way to decrease the cost of living for Barbadians. It’s tough out there, bills forever rising and salaries remaining the same for most. There isn’t a lot of buying power right now and businesses, large and small, are seeing it. For one day I would want to see my fellow Barbadians enjoy life without the worries of bills, food or jobs. Just for one day!