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Q&A with Claudia Pegus
1 How many years have you been in business?
I have been in the business of fashion for 40 years.
In 1977 I opened my first shop named “No Problem Boutique” selling imported clothing. In 1978 I started introducing locally made pieces and made the switch to 100% local production by 1979 when the company was re-branded under the name Claudia Pegus Designs Limited.
2 What has been your biggest success?
Being able to sustain the Claudia Pegus brand with locally produced clothing that stands for quality at an internationally acceptable standard as well as receiving a UNESCO award for my work with West Indian Sea Island Cotton, an indigenous product grown in the Caribbean which happens to be the finest and one of the most expensive cottons in the world.
3 Have you ever failed at any endeavour?
I won’t define failure but setbacks. The path to success is littered with obstacles, slips and slides, hills and valleys. Success cannot be achieved without the ability to learn from and master failure.
It is still my hope and dream that the Heads of Caricom would come together and realise the potential that is and can be derived from the investment in West Indian Sea Island Cotton.
4 What makes you decide whether you want to enter a new venture?
Market shifts/trends to a large extent dictate direction. In the late 70’s I shifted from imported to locally produced clothing because there was a demand for a Caribbean silhouette. In the 80’s I entered the ready-to-wear market and positioned the Claudia Pegus brand as a Caribbean landmark on Frederick Street. Then came the separation of stores, location and merchandise. My latest venture is focused on broadening the product range.
5 Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Yes You Can” once you have a vision and the belief in your ability to realise it.
6 Have you ever felt like you could lose it all?
I came into this world with nothing, I cannot leave with anything. Therefore permanence is an illusion.
7 What drives you?
My passion for excellence, at an individual and at a national level. The euphoria of bettering each achievement along the way.
8 When did you recognise that you’d “made it”?
When I realised the quality of clients that were engaging my services.
9 What do most people think about you that may or may not be true?
That the price of my work is unaffordable. Over the years I have seen and heard the horror stories of ‘bargain purchases’. The investment in quality as a first option is more cost-effective in the long term. It’s the secret of the brand’s sustainability.
10 What do you believe are the key factors
to succeed in business?
(a) Have a vision.
(b) Have a plan for developing the vision.
(c) Have an exit strategy for that plan:
have a back-up plan or two.
(d) Get a mentor to guide you.
(e) Listen and learn from others.
(f) Have regular conversations with self.
(g) The final decision should always be your
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