NASSAU, BAHAMAS — After being gifted Out Island Printing in 2014 by its original owner, entrepreneur Natasha Jones multiplied the business, strengthening the flagship location on Abaco and opening an additional location on Exuma.
However, like most success stories, the journey has been a winding road, with potholes the size of craters and the road to her current triumph lined with challenges.
In September 2019, the gusty winds of Hurricane Dorian rendered a catastrophic blow that left Jones’ business virtually lifeless until a grant from the Access Accelerator blew a breath of fresh air into her passion and gave her the drive she needed to move forward.
“I don’t know where I would’ve been without the help from the Access Accelerator,” she said.
“It brought the business back to life, and we couldn’t have recreated Out Island without the assistance.
“This second opportunity inspired me to keep going.”
Jones said she lost around $70,000 in equipment and inventory in Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
“It was especially difficult because the business was not insured and I was pregnant at the time,” she said.
“The only thing I had left was the Exuma location, with one printer and one computer.”
After Hurricane Dorian ravaged her home and swept away her livelihood, she relocated to the United States, giving birth to a son in February.
At that time, the little money she earned went towards rebuilding her home and raising her newborn, leaving her with little to no funds to rebuild her storefront.
Undeterred, Jones pushed forward, always keeping in mind her dream.
I don’t know where I would’ve been without the help from the Access Accelerator. It brought the business back to life, and we couldn’t have recreated Out Island without the assistance.
– Natasha Jones
While in the US, she received a call from the Access Accelerator telling her that the grant application she submitted was approved.
Still abroad, Jones got back in gear and began ordering new equipment. In May 2020, she moved back to Nassau and set up temporary operations working from her mother’s home.
Once she announced that Out Island Printing was back in business, the response she received blew her mind.
In just weeks, her print shop was flourishing, and on occasion, she would have to stay up all night — sometimes working until five in the morning — to complete and ship orders.
In March 2021, Jones returned to Abaco, where she purchased an office trailer, and on April 19, she officially reopened Out Island Printing.
While the journey seemed to even out a bit, Jones still encounters ruts in the road now and then.
One of her most “difficult challenges” to date, she said, is operating a business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jones said she would like to build her facilities in the next five years.
“I want it to be modern and state-of-the-art,” she explained.
“I want to eventually hire a full team so we can offer more services.
“Ultimately, I want to become a marketing firm and offer marketing services. I also wanted to expand to Eleuthera.”
All in all, Jones said her experience has inspired her to pay it forward.
“Because we are celebrating nine years, we are going to gift a full rebranding package to a lucky client,” she said.
“This business was given to me, [so] it’s our way of giving back.”