By Shikema Dey
Crystal Lam, a 28-year-old single mother of two, runs a successful business, specialising in the large scale production of uniforms for business entities.
You’d think she had connections and support to launch into the business world, but that’s hardly the case. Growing up, life was no walk in the park for Crystal, as circumstances forced her family to live in a tent for half her life.
But she battled all that was thrown at her, and four years ago, set up her own company – Crystal Lam Designs: The Clothing Company, for which she is the Chief Executive Officer.
Crystal during an interview with the News Room on Wednesday at her Linden, Region 10 location, explained the challenging times in life under the ‘tent’ at Wismar, Linden.
“My mother was a stay at home mom, and my dad fell ill and could not work and that forced us into a situation where we were forced to set up a tent and that is where we lived until he was better and we were able to elevate and build a home. That is where Crystal Lam’s story all began.”
Back then, Crystal always knew that one day, having her own factory was a dream she wanted to turn into reality. Growing up in a family of talented tailors, she always had that creative touch, and that creativity blossomed well into her adult years leading to her first fashion line entitled “Eye Candy.”
“One of my friends told her mom about me and she reached out and said that we have a fashion show coming up in October and I would love for you to be a part of it. I think I was in fifth form and I decided to take it on as a challenge and it was where I did my very first fashion show, back in 2009.”
But she did not stop there; Crystal would go on to design a few other fashion lines namely, ‘Debonair’, ‘Flame’ and ‘Epiphany’. But the success did not come easy.
Bumpy road and a dream realised
At 19-years-old, Crystal became pregnant with her first child and the dream of being an entrepreneur was put on pause as she craved a sense of stability. It was after being employed at Citizens Bank in 2011, that the dream came to the fore, once more.
There, Crystal recalled that the bank sourced their uniforms from Trinidad and Tobago, causing her to question why it was not being done in Guyana.
“I realised that we did not have a uniform company in Guyana, a company that specialised in mass customisation where you fit a great number of people to their size. From there, I got the idea to make this my niche so instead of being just a regular designer who does clothes, I wanted my own factory.”
It was at that point that Crystal was put into the spotlight, racking up big clients ranging from banks to big corporations.
“I went into a few companies who were very eager because they did not have this service available. So we have these [Human Resource Departments] that do not know much about fabric type, what kinds of fabric they need, help with certain styles, etc. so the idea was welcomed.”
Only last week, the factory arm of Crystal Lam Designs was launched and will see the company embarking on large-scale uniform production, complete with fabric testing. According to Crystal, her company’s mandate is to ensure that every customer looks and feels their best in her designs, especially professional attire.
“I feel like work is something that we do every day. I feel like we should be able to take our individuality there; we should be able to wear clothes that make us feel confident and look good and not just pull on any old thing because we do spend most of our lives at work anyway.”
Balance is key
Being a single mother of two girls is no easy feat, according to Crystal and being a successful businesswoman is twice as tough. But she makes it work and her secret ingredient is balance.
“Being a single mother, it is a challenge but I think being a mother in general, it’s a challenge, there’s so much that you have to learn and you learn as you go along.
“But it does require balance because you have to split yourself between finding time for your kids making sure they’re okay and then you have the business and the business in itself is another challenge.
“I’ve learned to adjust. I think it just requires a bit more organising, some planning so you have to ensure that everything is balanced, I’m going to devote so much time to my kids and then time for my business…that is how you make it work.”
Trust the process
With her flourishing business up and running, Crystal relayed to the News Room that her success is owed to her supportive parents and clients, but it does not stop there. In a few years, Crystal said she hopes to expand her business into other regions and eventually, other countries as well.
Her advice to those persons who want to venture into the entrepreneurial world is to be confident and “trust the process.”
“You have to be confident in yourself and your abilities and you have to have a vision. You also have to trust the process, which is something that I had to come to understand.”
“Do not let anybody tell you you cannot do anything…I say doesn’t matter where you started as you can tell from my journey. It really doesn’t matter how you started, it doesn’t matter what opportunities are there. You create your own opportunities.”
Persons wishing to make contact with Crystal’s company can call 612-3222.