The Eco-Lover Entrepreneur From South America

Tracy Antoinette Greene Douglas, – born in Jamaica Queens, New York; is an energetic, determined, self – confident and multi-skilled artisan who shifted her base to Guyana, South America following her marriage to Warren Douglas. She co-founded the “Pandama Retreat, Winery and Center for the Creative Arts” with her husband.  They have the retreat component to their business, where they make space available for people to enjoy and relax specially during weekends. Pandama produces vinegar, fruit soaps, scrubs and butters, art and Art Wear.  Tracy is also a Reiki Master and Shift Coach, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art through an independent study program in Vermont, USA.

In October 2014, – Tracy was nominated along with 9 other women from around the world for the Empretec Women in Business Awards (E-WBA) that took place in Geneva, Switzerland. Tracy was selected for her entrepreneurial spirit and innovative business. “Empretec was very interesting”, says Tracy. She interacted with many like-minded women, and advised them on how to take one’s passion to create economic value out of it. The levels of validation in this journey of entrepreneurship were very fascinating for Tracy. She says it felt good to be recognized by an organization like UNCTAD. She had a truly nourishing experience and felt honored about this leg of her journey in her life.

Tracy had a very supportive mother, who stood by her creativity right from her childhood. She would always buy her artworks and instill the value of her hard work and earnings. Her mother planted a strong foundation of entrepreneurship in her which has made her successful in her ventures. Tracy says that she loves to do everything that brings joy in her life. She is multi talented and multitasker in numerous instances – she loves to cook, paint, make jewellery, she does tie dyes, hosts guests at her retreat center, and works with her husband in looking after these businesses.

A major part of Tracy’s work involves surface design, which includes working with fabric. For almost 30 years, Tracy has been a master in the art of tie dye. She utilizes dye-friendly fabrics to create colorful masterpieces. Whatever tasks she undertakes, she tries to give in her best of her efforts, says Tracy. For example, when she paints T-shirts, she does it so skillful and intricately that she has gained positive reviews and recognition from those who know her work. When she cooks food, she does it with so much joy and wholeheartedness that it evokes emotions in others. “These are the few instances that keep me moving forward in life”, says Tracy.

Tracy combines art with spirituality. According to her, a strong spiritual foundation keeps you marching ahead in your life. The spiritual ideologies gave her the universal tools like be happy, be more creative, live in the present, no attachment to any negative outcomes in life, among others. She could get a better clarity on the universal feelings of humanity such as compassion, forgiveness and helpfulness. Tracy’s strong belief is that the earlier children learn these principles, the greater time they get to live happily. “Everyone needs to express their viewpoints and ideas in supporting one another. There are steadfast and valuable lessons learnt while you make mistakes”, says Tracy. She cites an example of once baking a cake with pudding where she says her pudding just sunk into the cake, but as she had promised her guests a dessert, she just put the cake with the pudding in the oven, and baked it anyway. Her guests applauded her for the delicious cake that turned out! An important lesson she conveys is that ” we should not be hard on ourselves, we should try to leave out this hardness, we should not give in to other people’s opinion, just do what your heart and mind tell you to do. Try to make the best out of the turmoil, and that is creativity”. 

Tracy views setbacks as an illusion. “Make use of all your resources, never think there is no money. There is nothing wrong in taking loans for expanding your business, but people get very preoccupied to repay those loans that, they lose their creative skills in the process. Make a little bit of money first, then invest and then make money again and re-invest”, says Tracy.

 Digital media marketing:

Tracy states that her husband manages their Facebook page and Instagram account. She says she had no idea about the online marketing strategies in the initial phase.  She once visited a festival in her locality, and overheard people saying that they followed her and her husband, she got quite intrigued at the episode. Now both have separate social media accounts and they tag each other about their work or products regularly. She posts her work and art related content consistently and the day she has not posted anything, she feels her creativity ceases, she said. So, there is always a double check on her creativity and her online marketing too. Tracy claims that all their business is localized at present. They get people coming to their retreat center during weekends, from different parts of the world, which in a way turns out to be global marketing of their retreat venture.

Future Vision:

Tracy says they have created a strong foundation in their business, she has meetings with her husband every morning. There is a nice rhythm set all about their daily lifestyles and not just business. She has already set up her art studio, and plans to increase her workshop offer for people to come into art. But with determination, perseverance and a drive to achieve, Tracy hopes to surmount the challenges coming her way.

Significance of Empretec training:

Empretec experience completely changed Tracy’s life. The exercises and assignments highlighting the strengths and weaknesses were simply- amazing and mind blowing, said Tracy. There was a moment – where she felt like she had to become a facilitator and she felt so convinced. She also completed a workshop to be able to connect with other women, and felt it was amazing to have a forum where such women entrepreneurs could connect on a regular basis.  In short, the Empretec workshop was very transformative in Tracy’s life. She says she could learn to open and close a business in a week. The activities that were carried out has impacted her in her long term, it continues to be a great influence in her lives and everything she does. Being able to evaluate and see how things are working or not working are some of the leanings Tracy could take with her. She also learnt to make shifts in the business to be more successful and to share these practices with others.She could cultivate some long and lasting relations with many other women who had come to attend the Empretec workshop, which she found very useful for her own business.

 A happy go lucky person, very cheerful, and spreading happiness are just few traits to describe Tracy in person. Self-confidence, never-say-die attitude, resilience, adaptability, making optimum utilization of available resources are some of her entrepreneurial attributes to be found which keeps her forging ahead in her journey. We wish good luck to you Tracy, may you achieve your dreams and vision, flourish in your business and take it to the next level!

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Empretec is a flagship capacity-building programme of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for the promotion of entrepreneurship and   micro, small and medium- sized enterprises (MSMEs) to facilitate sustainable development and inclusive growth.

To know more, visit: http://empretec.unctad.org

 Disclaimer

 This content was produced by the Enterprise Branch of UNCTAD.

Dorothy Dillard, Selahattin Selsah Pasali, and Lorenzo Tosini contributed to developing the concept and mobilizing the Empretec Women in Business Awards finalists of the first seven editions (2008-2020), under the direction of Tatiana Krylova and the overall guidance of James Zhan. Comments and contributions were provided by Irais Martinez.

UNCTAD wishes to thank Dr. Chandra Vadhana Radhakrishnan for interviewing the Empretec Women in Business Awards finalists and getting compelling stories about their entrepreneurial adventures.

Stay tuned till the next edition!

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