It's All About Unity, Togetherness

title taken from “Fly” by Square One

“Rant and Rave” Business Edition

On June 19th, The Slope Lounge hosted “Rant and Rave” presented by DysChick & SocaSaySo. This time we sat down with entrepreneurs who have invested in Brooklyn’s Caribbean Community. Ontrackdisco who owns Bklyn Prime, Palooza Kitchen, and Bklyn Space shared his challenges opening and operating multiple businesses, Barbadian-American attorney and owner of Sterling Real Estate Group, LLC Terry Hinds told us why we need to take an "active interest" in what's going on in our community, and sisters Jo-Laine Duke-Collins and Deidre Duke of Jolie Studios told us how doing business with family has impacted their success.

Ontrackdisco

Ontrackdisco, as he is known to many, told us how he went from being considered “just a deejay” to a multi-business owner. Growing up in his Panamanian household, he knew that success was the only option. Although his journey took different paths, going from college athlete to touring deejay, he always intended to be a restaurateur. His deejay skills allowed him to save tens of thousands of dollars to start his business. However, he encountered setbacks that quickly depleted his savings. Undeterred, he began saving again and opened his first restaurant in Brooklyn. Since then he has ventured into catering and opening an event space. His message to future entrepreneurs is simple: balance. Make sure that you make time for family as well as business because they impact each other.

Terry Hinds, Esq.

Terry Hinds, Esq. also noted the importance of family in his success. Hinds was born in East Flatbush to community-minded Barbadian parents. “My parents spent a large portion of time bettering the community, and I learned from that,” he said in an interview with Caribbean Life. His parents instilled in him a desire to take an active role in his community, which he does through his businesses. The Hinds Firm LLC’s work ranges from hosting free forums that focus on foreclosure and tenant issues, housing and immigration to educating the community about their rights with law enforcement. “We get so caught up in our own lives of going to work and going back home that we forget,” Hinds said. “Everyone should give a little bit of their time to improve the place we live in.”

Deidre Duke & Jo-Laine Duke-Collins

The Jolie Studio sisters grew up in Brooklyn and so they felt it was important to provide a service that would enhance the lives of the people in the community. They have intentionally created a space where guests, clients, and partners can come together to share, laugh, and fraternize. Jolie Studio is ideal for private parties and photo/film shoots, but their most popular community event is their signature “Table For Two” night, which gives couples an exclusive and intimate private dining experience. In addition to rental space, the sisters offer event setup, breakdown assistants, tablescaping, and wait staff as needed. Jo-Laine and Deidre are also active members of the Nostrand Merchants Association.

NYC Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop

Prior to the panel discussion, the Commissioner of New York City’s Small Business Services, Gregg Bishop addressed the audience to ensure that “Rant and Rave” guests knew about the services offered by his department, including access to capital and how to be compliant. In his online message to small business owners, Mr. Bishop notes that in this past year, his team has “worked tirelessly to promote economic growth and opportunity. We have served more than 9,400 businesses, including more than 1,500 immigrant entrepreneurs. We hit a record high in certifying more than 5,000 minority and women-owned enterprises, putting us ahead of schedule to reach 9,000 City-certified M/WBEs by 2019. And we invested more than $130 million in community-based organizations to further improve our City's neighborhoods.”

With his permission and encouragement, I implore anyone thinking of starting a small business or if you need help maintaining one, to contact Gregg Bishop at gbishop@sbs.nyc.gov.

Check out our brief recap shot by Kordel Fermin Visuals. Our full panel discussion will be available for viewing in the coming weeks. Join us for the next “Rant and Rave” on July 24th!