Anastasha Elliott owner of Sugar Town Organics based in St. Kitts, developed an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. She told Caribbean Essence that “Entrepreneurship was always something I did”. During her childhood, she had one business or another whether it was selling patties, cupcakes, and crochet hats – bags- accessories. “It was something I always did and was encouraged and supported by my mother. I also think I saw how hard she worked and how bosses treated her because she was a single mom without influential connections,” Elliott also shared. As a result, she set the goal of owning her own business by the time she was 30 years old.
This determined, persistent, and ambitious young lady did indeed launch her company in 2010 and she was 28 years old. Goal achieved. “My entire life up to then, was practice you can say. I learned, grew, made many mistakes and learned from them, survived much and came out the other end still going. Sugar Town Organics came at a time when I needed help financially and work wasn’t cutting it.” Detecting a need in her community, as well as a reaching her own goals and desires are in essence the impetus for launching Sugar Town Organics. “I grew up in a house where if there was a medical need we looked at nature first. Sure you went to a doctor for a diagnosis if you weren’t sure what the exact issue was but then you turned to nature. I am not a people person by nature. I am very much the introvert and so I am in a good space to observe change and spot needs and with the knowledge gained being a member of my family, it was a natural progression to want to meet the needs I observed in my community in a way I knew could work,” Elliott stated.
Sugar Town Organics’ goal is to create a strong and vibrant company that is truly Caribbean branded, offering beauty and wellness solutions that elevate and revitalize the value chain of our agriculture sector across the Caribbean through its people, culture and food while leaving an entrepreneurial legacy for generations to come. One product at a time she and the Sugar Town Organics brand strive to achieve this goal, since the launch of its first line Yaphene a skincare and hair care line for people with sensitive skin issues.
Over the years, Elliott crafted three other lines from Yaphene. Out of a need to utilize excess raw material and thus reduce wastage, Flauriel Foods was created. It is a circular eco-system where not much goes to waste from fresh fruit/herb/spice to dry and ground to compost everything is used. Marapa, a luxury beauty line was introduced sometime after Yaphen. And then Elliot created Baba Lullaby, a baby care line. Yaphene itself has expanded from a basic wash and treat line to now include styling products as well as sub-divisions Yaphene Botanicals, Yaphene Men and Yaphene Bath n Body.
Sugar Town Organics’ products are both natural and organic. “My hair care, skin care and baby care products I consider natural because much of the ingredients I utilize are sourced in nature. My food line I consider to be organic as I utilize a higher percentage of organic material in their production and are wholly sourced on St. Kitts and Nevis whether through my own garden or organic farms that operate close to my location.
We utilize much of the local agriculture fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, roots, barks, flowers, pods. Everything has a use. I pull often on our own traditional and herbal lore. Our cultural practices of how we as a people use food to sustain and maintain life be it as protection or as a ward,” Elliott stated.
Sticking to timelines, drinking lots of water, and going for walks often and listening to her body are just a few ways this businesswoman maintains a healthy lifestyle and balance between work and self-care. For instance, Monday is Elliott’s day off and on Saturdays she takes part in a sailing class.
Elliott has had the opportunity to discover new countries and places since she launched Sugar Town Organics “I have had the opportunity to travel quite extensively as a result of my business and have had so many amazing opportunities that have led to exponential growth of my company and of myself professionally and personally. I have learnt that your skill will open the doors you need to enter, trust in it.
Trust your processes they are how you learn and grow but also do not be afraid to pivot. Starting over isn’t as scary as it sounds. Listen to your instincts they rarely lead you wrong and trust yourself. Knowing yourself is also important as it provides a stable ground for you to stand on,” she said.
Her advice to those also looking to get their business of the ground when asked is simply to start! “If you are waiting until everything is neatly lined up in a row you will miss out. Pick a point and get started. Also have a mentor or coach who believes in your dream or can see its potential. You do not know everything. Also network! I cannot stress this enough. You cannot be everywhere.”
And on February 8, 2021 Elliott opened her first store in Pelican Mall in downtown Basseterre. This is still just the beginning for this determined entrepreneur.