Monday, April 15, 2024

Julie’s joy


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From a home-based venture Juliana Sealy has pushed her business to tremendous growth in 12 years.

She started her journey straight out of high school, working two jobs before starting her own company. She used her time on the job to learn as much as could, soaking up knowledge.

Now Julie Party Rentals is a household name and no job is too big or small.

“When I started out I had a lot of experience in event planning but I learnt quickly that those experiences were very, very different from me being a business owner,” she said, laughing.

Julie said from a young girl she had always aspired to own her own business.

“I first started out at Geddes Grant and was there for a year. Then they laid off staff and I was one of the unfortunate ones. I said, ‘this looks like a blessing in disguise . . . . Maybe this is my opportunity to start my own thing’.”

Julie said she thought it was going to be a smooth move.

“I got a loan from Urban Development and bought a few stuff, some tables, some chairs, and so on. But it was one of the most difficult things I ever did. It was hard getting customers. Days would pass and turn into weeks and I would get one or two and sometimes none.

But Julie says she is a go-getter and her nature wouldn’t allow her to sit down and whine.

“I can’t just sit down. I don’t sit down and wait for things to happen. I pushed and pushed and it started to take off.”

Julie said she felt it was good to “creep before you can walk” because she took her time to make sure she did things right – answering phones, cleaning the chairs, lifting equipment and setting up at events.

Julie has built up a good customer base and business has grown to enable her to have a location at Bank Hall and employ staff.

She orders her supplies from overseas, initially travelling to make herself known to the merchants and is now comfortable to the point that she can order online and be assured of quality products.

She has grown from a few tables and chairs to almost everything you need for a good party.

“My customers are my No. 1 priority. The repeat customers are what have enabled my business to grow. They also send referrals my way.

“You can’t please everybody all the time but I thrive on customer service. When I go somewhere and spend my money I expect good service and I expect my customers to get the same.”

Even though business has lessened, Julie said she is holding steady.

“The challenges are so much at times but every day is not the same. There are many times I wanted to quit but I love what I do and I think I am going to rent chairs until I die.” She said laughing.

Julie said she faced many challenges as a female, up to today.

“I feel sometimes it’s because I’m short and small,” she said laughing, but added seriously, “I do though get talked down to and talked at instead of being talked to. I have faced men who disrespect me and don’t want to do business with me because I am a woman,” she stated.

She says she is a religious person and gives thanks to God for the “journey I have travelled and still travelling.

“It is not a 9-5 job. If you own your own business, hard work and determination, faith and good staff are important.

“Be hands-on. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and to the plough.”

Julie hopes that she will continue to be a household name and it is clear she is passionate about two things: music (known on the calypso and reggae stages) and chairs.

“There is more to me than meets the eye. I go after what I want. Perseverance and persistence are the keys to my success.”


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