Sat | Oct 31, 2020

Bold and Broadtail Beautiful in entrepreneurship

Published:Monday | May 13, 2019 | 12:26 AMJessica Harrison - Lifestyle Writer

Dania Beckford enthusiastically participates in a review session of the IVLP in Kansas City.
Dania Beckford enthusiastically participates in a review session of the IVLP in Kansas City.

As the years go by, women in entrepreneurship are coming to the forefront and doing great things. Dania Beckford is a local entrepreneur, who is the head cook and bottle washer at full-figured fashion house, ‘Broadtail Designs’.

Since 2016, the brand has been designing and producing striking resort wear, namely swimsuits, cover ups, beach dresses, and pants for full-figured women. Driven by a desire to help these women boost their confidence, the full-figured queen manipulates her pieces to please curvaceous fashion lovers who believe that they cannot be sexy because of limited access to a comfortable, chic, and well-designed clothing.

Growing up in Discovery Bay, with the beach being just around the corner, the St Ann native and her family would spend their weekends basking in the sun with the sand between their toes. However, there was one challenge. At that time, for her, ‘swimmie’ options were few. She had to sport her mother’s hand-me-down black halter monokini from the ’70s each and every time.

“As a full-figured woman, I have always had the challenge of finding sexy, colourful, age-appropriate swimwear that I wanted to wear. I was always very comfortable with the way I looked so in my mind, it was the designers of swimsuits that had an issue by not having more options for plus-size females,” she said.

Broadtail Designs’ influence

If you are a carnival junkie, you would have noticed that for the past three years, Xaymaca International has had a full-figure option in their band, courtesy of ‘Broadtail Designs’. Upon request, the company also conducts empowerment sessions in corporate companies and schools in an effort to encourage body positivity for females because, as a brand, they believe that confidence has more to do with confidence, not necessarily a body type.

The International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) is a programme that is spearheaded by the United States Department of State where participants across world are chosen by US Embassies to travel to the United States for approximately three weeks to interact with global professional leaders.

“The specific programme that our embassy in Kingston nominated me for was the IVLP Women in Entrepreneurship programme. Myself along with 22 other women from around the world travelled to five cities (Washington DC, Charlotte, North Carolina, Minneapolis, Kansas City and New York City)” she said.

The group was sent to gain insights from each other as well as from a number of workshops. They were also given the opportunity to visit companies owned by entrepreneurs, conferences, seminars and funding agencies to ultimately grow our businesses. Therefore creating mutual understanding between the United States and other nations through carefully designed professional visits to the United States for current and emerging foreign leaders.

Beckford described the experience of being able to represent Jamaica in this way as eye-opening. “I expected it to be a good networking experience where we would learn about the business landscape in the United States but I did not expect the level of interaction with other entrepreneurs in the various industries we visited. We interacted with small start up businesses, large thriving businesses, entrepreneurial communities, universities, law firms, investment companies and media houses. We also had home visits with families that were interested in our companies.”

Encouragement for ‘Broadtails

Grateful to have completed this prestigious programme, Beckford was ready to pass on encouragement and tips to women of like mind.

“Think Global. We live in a global environment where many entrepreneurs are benefiting from the use of the internet through digital and social marketing. Use these resources to the benefit of your business to open up new markets.”

She also implores women in business to ensure that their copyrights and intellectual properties are protected as it is easy to lose one’s entire life’s work due to not being meticulous enough with content or products. Beckford explains that sometimes entrepreneurship can be a lonely and tiresome place, but persevere, endure, remember why you started and what your passion is, ask for assistance when you need it, and keep trying.

Of course, she could not leave out her fellow full-figured women.

“To my Broadtails (full-figured women), all bodies are beach bodies, all bodies are carnival bodies. Plus size is a positive thing, it means you have more of everything, embrace your body, nurture it, keep it healthy, buy garments that fit it and remember that other than a Broadtail Swimwear, CONFIDENCE is the best suit you can ever wear accentuated with a smile”. Be Bold and Broadtail Beautiful.”