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SKN’s Anastasia Elliott featured in CARICOM and UN Youth in Agriculture Social Media Campaign

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): As part of the ‘I Am Agriculture; Youth in Agriculture’ Social Media Campaign, conducted by the CARICOM Secretariat with support from the United Nations World Food Programme, Miss Anastasia Elliott of St. Kitts and Nevis, shared her experiences working as an agro-processor.

After four years of baking as a means of making an income, Elliott decided to venture into a different sector – making herbal products from locally grown produce.

“At the end of four years, I was like, “Okay, it’s time to start. This is my time to really jump in. What I really had to think about was how I was going to get products on the market in a way that people would accept. That was my challenge at that point. My family comes from Africa. My grandad was born in Africa. On my mother’s side, my grandfather was born in the Dominican Republic, so I have quite a bit of a mixed background and because of [those] mixed recipes, that [is what I] was able to draw on to create the products that I do have now. Everything is based on Agriculture [produce] that is grown here in St.Kitts and Nevis, using a lot of the herbal laws based here in St.Kitts and Nevis. I intertwine them with those of my family to create something that is unique to the space I am in and unique to the problems I am seeing around me.”

Like any entrepreneur or small business, Elliott explained that she faced several challenges, the most significant being finances.

“I would say my biggest challenge is finance, as any small business, especially as a woman leading a small business in this space. Women tend to have it a little bit harder. I was also in a space that wasn’t developed for entrepreneurship. I had to figure out other ways to get a lot of the assistance that I needed. I was supposed to go out of my country for a lot of help.”

Meanwhile, Elliott said acceptance of her business type by the local community was important and has contributed to the success of her business. She added that travelling and being an entrepreneurial ambassador for St. Kitts and Nevis through the marketing of her products and byproducts have also ensured the success of her business.

Moreover, Elliott explained that her family traditions and upbringing played a part in shaping the woman she is today and the contributions she is making to society.

“I am the eldest of six children, and so I had the weight of expectations of my family to achieve and be something more. I was always encouraged into entrepreneurship. It was something that the women in my family were encouraged into; not to go and work for anyone, especially a male, but to have their own business and be able to manage their [families] themselves. So it was something that was [instilled in me] from a very young age. I think my mother started to teach me how to bake at three. At least that was one of my very first memories, baking cake at three. So, I think entrepreneurship was really where I always knew I would end up, as a result of how I was raised.”

In words of encouragement, Elliott advised entrepreneurs to be certain of what they want to do, explaining that serving everyone isn’t possible; instead, focusing on who or what the products are intended to attract will help secure an entrepreneur’s base.

Elliott is the founder and CEO of Sugar Town Organics, an indigenous Caribbean natural food and food-infused cosmetics company consisting of two brands, Flauriel and Yaphene. The products under the brand Flauriel include gourmet condiments and biodynamic wines. Yaphene is a natural cosmetic brand that fuses Caribbean foods and traditional medicinal practices to create everyday bath and body products.

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