HIGH STYLE: Watkis discusses her vision and building her brand.
With a new flagship store now open for business on the grounds of the historic Devon House, Patwa Apparel is a bonafide label on the rise known for its vibrant and youthful clothes (and accessories) and an ambitious and highly driven leading lady. Meet Heneka Watkis, a street-savvy businesswoman, who says she is welcoming the delicious advantages of their new location while keeping a sharp look-out for the hurdles as she takes her brand to the next level.
"One of the great challenges with a business like mine is in building your team," she confesses over the phone. "I have a great vision to build a team that caters to our customers. I'm very customer-oriented, and I'm a person of professionalism and quality. So finding a team to do that is really important, but I'm getting the tools to get the job done."
Patwa Apparel's sporty-trendy, casual-chic line of tees, dresses, shorts, sweats, shirts and a host of accessories (featuring witty Jamaican sayings) remains a hit with the brand's diverse clientele, island-loving tourists included. "They like that the products are designed in a simple yet creative fashion," explains Watkis, who has participated in numerous expos and brand-boosting intitiatives since the line's inception a few years back. "Most of our customers appreciate the simplicity of the designs and the fact that the writings and expressions in the Jamaican language are funny and make people smile."
Meantime, in spite of limited resources, Watkis, who turns 35 this month, has set her sights on setting up shop in tourist hotspots across Jamaica. Beyond that, the sky is the limit. "I'm in the planning stages of really expanding the reach," she tells me excitedly. "I'm even thinking of establishing a base in Miami."