Thriving in a recession
By Laurie Gibson
Jamaica Sinclair has a diversified worklife, with several business activities all contributing to her success.
She’s the owner of Encore Boutique, teaches dance at Monterey Peninsula College, and is also a professional dancer, performing in belly dance shows with her troupe at events like Good Old Days and also at local venues such as Amir’s Kabob House. In addition, gives belly dance classes at her shop.
“They all go together,” she says. “It’s like having my eggs in different baskets.”
Her energy and enthusiasm have helped her sustain that full schedule over the years. “What’s got me this far has been my outlook and my attitude,” she says. “I guess I’ve always looked at it like the cup is half-full.”
This perspective is reflected in a small sign in the window of her shop, which reads: “We wish to announce that due to prior plans and commitments, we are unable to participate in the current recession.” Sinclair says the word were emailed to her a while ago by a friend, and she took it to heart. To Sinclair, the message of sign is “we create our own reality. … My philosophy is, ‘We’re here now, and we can choose how it can be.”
One of Sinclair’s recent choices has been to limit her exposure to TV news as a way of helping her keep a positive mind-set.
She has some ideas for those trying to get beyond the negative headlines. ”Do something for somebody else; make a difference in someone else’s life.” Volunteer service to others-including youth. “They’re so full of hope,” says the mother of three. She also stresses community involvement and connection with friends as alternatives to a bunker mentality. “I think that’s what we need: a change of perspective.”
Another option Sinclair offers to help people snap themselves out of the doldrums and boost their own morale is to go outside. “Take advantage of the beautiful place where we live,” she says. “We’re so lucky to live here.”
Although sales at her store were healthy during December, business has fallen off lately. Sinclair has responded in various ways. “I cut back in every way I can, and try to be more creative.” She also does a lot of cross-promoting with allied businesses, such as Amir’s, where she performs Saturday nights. She’s also included more items in the sale racks at Encore Boutique.
She has owned the boutique for eight years. The specialty and focus of her shop is “fun, unusual clothes” that range from blue jeans to belly dance costumes. Like many self-employed people, her business reflects her values. “I have the resale shop because I’m into the recycling thing,” she says. “The world is shifting into the whole idea of reuse. We have to recycle.”
Sinclair gives a different spin to the mass media’s relentless drumbeat of downbeat statistics. Instead of focusing on the unemployment rate, she notes California’s current employment figure shows that a full 90 percent of workers in the state have jobs-and are contributing to the economy. “Things seem to be looking up a bit,” she says.
But, in a nod to the tenuousness created by a challenging business climate, Sinclair also encourages consumers to seize the moment. “If you see a cool store, and you want to stop, do it now because it might not be there [in the future],” she says. She also reminds PG residents to consider shopping at Central Avenue businesses.
Both humor and positive thinking are important contributors to success, according to Sinclair. “I think we need more fun,” she says. “People need to enjoy themselves and don’t be scared. Why ‘pre-worry’? It is what it is.”
“Let’s love the situation we’re in and learn how to cope.”