if yoU sEE a gaP, fiLL it. In my belief, I am a solution to some problem that my society faces.
Clemvio: I think I always had the idea that I wanted to take over the family business being that I'm the oldest of four. I had that in my mind since primary school, and my dad really brought me on when I turned 12. That's when I started going out to the Ronald Webster Park for Anguilla Day and taking pictures of the chief ministers and following them through that whole process. From there, I started getting more involved. We had a weekly publication called The Light that I started doing the children's section for as well. Afterwards, my dad realized I was doing a good job and had me do some more work to the point where if he were to go away, I would prepare the pages for the newspaper to send to the printers in St. Martin/Maarten. I did mess up a couple of times. I had some big hiccups where I sent the wrong edition and we had to reprint, but all of those were a learning opportunity and he never really took it out on me for making those mistakes. Then one year, I told him I wanted to work on the cover page for the guide.
What does the process of putting the annual guide together look like?
Ad sales. Going out to different businesses and trying to get them interested is probably the hardest part because you have to sell, which can be difficult. I had the advantage of coming into a business that was already established and that everyone knows, but it was still a matter of getting people to spend their money on marketing. It came easy as a result of how we transitioned from my dad to me. We did a 25th anniversary and a handing over ceremony, where we invited government businesses who've advertised with us in the past and awarded some of them who've been with us from the beginning, and I was able to convey my vision for the magazine there. In that way, I was able to gain their trust, and it became a little easier after that. The ad sales process continues up to August and September when advertisers send in their artwork, and then I start creating the actual magazine from September to November. At this time, it's really just me who designs it. I used to do a lot of photography, but I've been trying to pass that down to my younger brother and cousin, who've been doing a really great job on that.
I had some real sleepless nights from say 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. listening to Lauryn Hill on repeat--something soothing (laughs)--when I first put the guide together in 2015. Last year, I went to university just as I was starting to work on the editing part. I knew I was going, so I started earlier on that and didn't have much to do when I left as a result. I've also gotten used to the new program that we edit on, so it was a much faster process for me this time. My dad says this  issue is the best so far. We print in December and have them on the island by the middle of the month in time for the Christmas rush. Then, we deliver for the rest of the year and start the process over again.
Probably the Anguilla Summer Festival aspect because you have so many pictures and colors, so putting that together is fun. The cover page is probably the most important I would say. We don't focus on just one picture because there are so many things that we do in Anguilla, so we try to grab a little bit of each aspect of the island so visitors can see that right away.
You recently expanded to the web. What has moving online done for the brand?
Moving online has given us a wider reach because with the publication, people have to come on the island and get it or take it home for their friends to see. The web gives us a way to reach people before they even know about the actual, printed magazine and tell them about the island and what it has to offer. It also gives us more flexibility because we can produce and put up content on a regular basis opposed to the guide, which is yearly, so we try to keep up with what's happening here. It opens us up to a larger market and gives us a lot of freedom because there are so many things you can do on the web.
It was the most important part of everything I'm doing. I started out without a team. My sister has since graduated from sixth form, which has given her the opportunity to become more involved while I was away at university. I was also able to build a team of writers. Funny thing about it is I went to a debate for Campus B students, and the young lady who was the timekeeper for the event revealed she wanted to be a journalist in her bio. The next day, I called her and offered her an opportunity to assist me in building the business and pursue her aspirations. Since then, she's brought on two other people. I believe in having passion first over everything, and so far I've seen that in my team. Each of them is passionate about writing about and promoting Anguilla for what it is, and they're passionate about their own dreams, which they're able to realize through the business by getting to know people through networking and even becoming known themselves. That's a big thing for me. Additionally, I've started my little brother and cousin out how I started in photography and, now, videography. It's really just me splitting my roles among several other persons and passing on that responsibility to them while giving them creative freedom and seeing what fruits blossom from that.
Capturing the various facets of Anguillian culture is inextricably tied to what you do, so is there anything profound that you've learned once you took the reins of the guide?
We did a video on the Mango Garden. I always passed it since I was young, but I never knew it was over 100 years old. That amazed me. There's a landmark--an arch that's out in the sea--in West End. When I was in geography class, my teacher said those things don't exist in Anguilla, so I found that out recently. I knew a lot of things about Anguilla growing up so not too many things surprise me, but there are so many things that I want to uncover.
I believe as young persons, we start off on a timeline of not knowing what happened before us. The way to learn that history is by going out there, getting experiences, and talking with persons about where we come from to figure out what needs to change and what needs to stay the same so we can build upon that. That's a big thing for me. Through my roles, I've connected with people who are willing to assist me in my business, and they've pointed me in a direction that I've been able to develop upon, and I want to be able to transfer my knowledge and experiences to others and give them a head start on their life goals from this very age. The importance of youth development for me is connecting with someone who's gone through what you're going through so you don't have to fail as they may have or take as much time as they did in reaching where you want to go.
Do you feel entrepreneurship ties into that and opens doors of opportunity for the youth here?
Yes, definitely. There are so many things you can go into in Anguilla. There are going to be missteps along the way, but that may even point you in a better direction than you were originally in, so entrepreneurship is something I always promote. I always look at Albert Lake--everybody looks at Albert Lake or J.W. Proctors as key persons when it comes to entrepreneurship--but there's much more to it than that. Anguilla started out from a point where we had the revolution, then what? Companies and businesses had to expand. We had to be able to supply our own resources. From that, we've been able to develop our whole society just by persons who took the risk and started their own businesses and provided quality services. That's what I want to continue to do. Also, you live free (laughs). You do what you want.
As you continue on your journey with WWDIA, are there any misconceptions about Anguilla that you hope to defy?
That it's only beaches. That's probably the main one. People say, "You’re from the Caribbean. The Caribbean doesn't have much." People ask, "You from Angola?" That's another misconception. I want to show that Anguilla has many of the amenities that larger countries have even though we're small, and I also would like to show that Anguilla has a lot of opportunities for young people, especially. Some don't feel there's enough, but it's up to you to make those opportunities. If you see a gap, fill it. In my belief, I am a solution to some problem that my society faces.
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