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I am filled with gratitude that the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is able to continuously re-invent itself as the times change. Our agility has resulted in the unveiling of new initiatives aimed at improving our services to the Micro, Small & Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector in 2020. At the forefront of this is the new Client Management System which includes the placement of clients in tiers based on their level of development. This is powered by Neoserra, a customer relationship management system designed specifically for nonprofit economic development programmes to track detailed demographic and economic information about clients as well as assistance provided to them. This process takes them ‘From Concept to Market’ in an incubation system which is unparalleled locally. As we dream big along with our clients, ‘market’ extends beyond Jamaica’s borders. The new Things Jamaican E-Commerce website, which was launched at ‘Breakfast with the CEO’ in February, provides another market access channel for local producers. The website differentiates itself from others in the space by telling stories through imagery shot at ‘hidden gems’ in places like the parish of St. Thomas. It also tells the stories of the entrepreneurs themselves. We have found that sometimes these stories help to sell the products, as buyers get to know the producers in a more intimate manner. Finally, the journey to develop the Cultural & Creative Industries continues with the current mapping exercise being funded by the British Council. The results will guide us as we engage a wide cross section of stakeholders in the next phase. There is an abundance of creative talent in Jamaica, but there is a lot more work to be done.

Valerie Veira, CD, JP Chief Executive Officer Jamaica Business Development Corporation








Suzette Campbell

is a multi-award winning communications practitioner with 13 years’ experience spanning Public Relations, Journalism and Marketing in both public and private sector organizations. With a highly competitive spirit and creativity, she enjoys a good challenge and prides herself on leaving an indelible mark of success in her endeavours. Using her gift of writing, she hopes to win hearts and positively impact the lives of those on whose behalf she tells stories. Suzette is currently the Corporate Communications Manager at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation.

Sancia Campbell

is a PR Practitioner in the business and hospitality sectors with over 13 years experience in marketing, publicity and communications. An excellent writer and avid lifestyle blogger, Sancia enjoys reading, project management and events planning. She is currently the PR & Events Coordinator at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

Dominic Harris

is the Administrative Assistant in the Corporate Communications Unit at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation. She is an aspiring marketing professional currently enrolled at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Andre Heslop

is the E-Marketing Officer at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). He is a graduate of the University Of Technology, Jamaica and holds a BBA in Business Administration with a major in Marketing. He has worked in a range of capacities within the marketing field from Marketing Officer to Customer Care Representative and has extensive experience with customer relations. Mr. Heslop is also a managing partner of the emerging Social U Consultants company, a social media marketing firm.

Janine Fletcher-Taylor

is the Manager of the Marketing Services Unit at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). With more than 20 years’ experience in the gift & craft industry, she has a strong passion for the development of local artisans for whom her team aims to secure market access primarily through the Things Jamaican™ brand and its subsidiaries.

JBDC NEWS more defined path in the value chain to get entrepreneurs ‘From Concept to Market’. Meanwhile, the agency has revamped its client management system which includes the placement of entrepreneurs in tiers, according to their stage of development. Each tier graduates to a higher level until the client exits the system. New Things Jamaican™ E-Commerce Website

A (From L -R) Valerie Veira - JBDC CEO, Hon. Floyd Green - State Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries, Janine Fletcher-Taylor - Marketing Services Manager, JBDC and Harold Davis - Deputy CEO, JBDC are all smiles as they browse the newly launched Things Jamaican e-commerce website. The launch took place on March 5, 2020 at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston.




he Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) has announced developments in its thrust to stimulate growth in the Cultural & Creative Industries. The plans which include a Mapping of the Cultural & Creative Industries, a Client Management System and a new Things Jamaican™ E-Commerce website were presented at the annual ‘Breakfast with the CEO’ event held on March 5, 2020 at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston. The event was hosted under the theme ‘From Concept to Market’.

In his address, Harold Davis, Deputy CEO of JBDC, detailed the work currently being done in partnership with the British Council. “The British Council has agreed to fund the Mapping of the Cultural & Creative Industries in Jamaica. The aim of this study is to define the size and impact of the sector and develop recommendations on how to support its continued growth. We released the survey earlier this week to hundreds of Jamaicans in the CCI. This phase ends on March 23. The next phase includes data analysis, stakeholder “Last year this time, we announced a focus on engagement and the submission of a report to the Orange Economy under the theme ‘Eye JBDC at the end of April 2020.” on 2020’. Well, it is now 2020 and we have The industries being surveyed include: Music, stayed true to our target by leading a critical Literature & publishing, Design (product, discussion and action towards developing graphic design), Visual arts, Gifts and crafts, the Cultural & Creative Industries. The Small Film, Television /Broadcast, Digital media (incl. Business Expo & Conference, which focused video games), Advertising and marketing, on the sector, was a huge success. We have Theatre, dance & performing arts, Fashion, since launched several initiatives to grow Culinary / Gastronomy, Museums, galleries these industries which are at the heart of and libraries, Festivals, Fairs and Feasts. Brand Jamaica. Today, we are unveiling three Continuing, Davis added that once JBDC (3) major initiatives that will assist in achieving receives the report, it will embark on strategic our goal,” said Valerie Veira, Chief Executive action which includes the establishment of a Officer of JBDC.




mong the high points of the event was the presentation of the new Things Jamaican™ E-Commerce website under the theme ‘Buy Jamaica. Click Jamaica.’ According to Janine Taylor, Manager – Marketing Services, ‘From Concept to Market’ has been the guiding force behind the programmes and strategies JBDC has developed over the years. The primary emphasis of the marketing related services is to devise strategies that support the various levels of market access that clients journey through in order to grow from market awareness to internationalization.” The website seeks to promote the concept of brand Jamaica through the lens of the cultural influences such as our music, food, hidden gems and attractions all which are translated into the products our artisans and producers create. “As the Things Jamaican™ motto states, “A Melting Pot of Authentic Jamaican Creations”, the website will be featuring the background stories to these creations and the heart-warming journeys of our clients and creators of these gems,” Taylor added. There are currently 423 active clients with 2192 active products in the Things Jamaican™ client base. The website currently features 61 active clients with 169 active products plus 2 clusters. “The brands currently featured are Jamaica Harvest (Gluten Free and agro processed products) and Irie Magic (casual fashion and souvenirs), with other brands to be launched over the next two years. We are also targeting 100% clients featured on the website,” she added. The website address is thingsjamaicanshopping.com. The ‘Breakfast with the CEO’ event was attended by government and private sector stakeholders. As the event celebrated Jamaica, popular festival song winner Roy Rayon was the entertainer of the morning.





PART 1: WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? by Suzette Campbell

3-step process before one begins to even make a product:

nn Inability to identify customer base

1. Problem identification – what is the

pain, discomfort being experienced around an issue? What job needed to be done or function being sought? What function/benefit is missing?

2. Customer identification – Who is

experiencing the above?

3. Solution

– does my concept/ product idea fit the customer and the problem?

Keera Walters Assistant Business Advisory Services Manager, JBDC


amaicans are highly creative and entrepreneurial. However, the challenge many of them face is converting their creativity to sustainable entrepreneurial ventures. As they navigate, they may discover that they have committed the cardinal error of ‘putting the cart before the horse’. It can be a particularly daunting experience as some creations never make it to shelves and if they do, may encounter a short shelf-life. Businesses must undergo a process of development and this is no different for creatives. The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) prides itself on being the business development service provider which takes entrepreneurs ‘From Concept to Market’ using a suite of services including business advisory services, financial support services, product development, research & project management, as well as, marketing services. In this 3-part feature, we will take you on a journey ‘From Concept to a Market’; a mantra which the JBDC team lives by. Keera Walters, Assistant Manager – Business Advisory Services suggests a

“Before developing a product, one must first identify a need for that product. Think of a potential product as a potential solution and a need as an existing problem. An entrepreneur is also going to consider potential revenue: this problem must exist for a significant percentage of a population or be very valuable to a significant minority (niche) to be worth investing in solving,” Walters explained. Walters advises that the development of the product should then be guided by the needs as identified by the potential customer. This means it must reduce or eliminate the pain or discomfort or add/ improve functionality/convenience or some other value being sought. “These 3 steps can be done without significant investment by doing observation, secondary research to identify and grasp the problem and maybe some primary research to go deeper into the experience and needs of the potential market,” she added. How critical is this process to the sustainability of the business? Walters points out that without going through this process the entrepreneur may end up making a product that is of no value to the market. The business may then fail to get off the ground or fail to generate adequate revenue due to:



nn Too few customers unwilling to pay for the product nn Product solution doesn’t match


n the event that the entrepreneur decides to bypass these steps, he/ she may encounter certain challenges. According to Walters, “the entrepreneur will likely lose his investment when the business fails or might learn enough from the experience to be able change the product partially or completely which is costly if done late.” The JBDC has sought to help entrepreneurs overcome these challenges through the implementation of initiatives including; 1. Training in starting a business 2. Providing pre-start-up guidance to

potential entrepreneurs primarily through our business advisors, product development officers

3. Research based guidance from our

research and marketing teams

By now, you might be asking yourself some crucial questions or gaining some insight into why your product/business has not gone as well as you had hoped. However, we have only just begun to explore your entrepreneurial journey. Let us now take a deeper dive into the development of the product.




n part 1, we established that research must be conducted before attempting to develop a product. This process includes the identification of the problem to be solved, the customer’s needs and the solution. The development of the product is also a crucial step along the journey to market. Let us explore some of the likely pitfalls and how the JBDC helps to tackle them. Colin Porter, Technical Services Manager the team at the Incubator & Resource Centre notes the following Colin Porter - Technical Services Manager, JBDC as major obstacles that entrepreneurs face in product development. These include: (1) Products not market ready, (2) Not having proper labelling and packaging packaging solution based on the product. There are also solutions and (3) Challenges with production facilities. affordable options for printing labels in low volumes “The issue with product readiness could be design (limited to rectangular crack and peel non-water resistant related, poor construction quality, among other things labels). Additionally, the agency offers printed satin which prevent products from being accepted by the ribbon care labels for garments in low volumes. market, despite having a demand,” he explained. Porter explains that the solutions offered include design consultations and counselling; product assessments to determine gaps in design or product formulation; in-depth guidance in improving design/formulation or prototype. Clients may work from the JBDC’s incubators/production spaces to implement changes. These incubators include fashion, food and gift & craft. A significant part of the product development journey involves branding and packaging. Unless, you are trained in the area, you will need professional assistance. “We have found many instances in which labelling and packaging solutions do not meet requirements for the market or regulators. Some producers also encounter difficulties meeting the minimum production volumes offered by labelling providers,” he said.


orter identifies a third challenge as the inadequate or inefficient facility to manufacture products in the desired quantities and required quality. “Clients may not have all the required tools and equipment necessary to fabricate products, so we provide access to our incubator (production) spaces for apparel and sewn products, craft products, processed food products or pastries. Technical support is also given for persons accessing the incubators” he explained. For persons with their own facility, the JBDC offers consultations and facility audits to determine areas of inefficiency and make recommendations such as improvement to layout, process flow and other areas of waste in the production process.

It is time to take that product out of your head or from under the bed and let the experts at the JBDC help you to fine tune it. And if you’ve already gone to market, you may The JBDC provides design services using required find that you still need our help. In part 3 of this feature, guidelines from the NCRA/BSJ and other standards bodies we go to market. internationally; suggesting or designing the appropriate








PART 3: TO MARKET, TO MARKET… by Suzette Campbell


he marketplace is where everyone aspires to be. However, as we have seen, there is much work to be done before we get to ‘Destination Money!’ You must define the problem, conduct research and develop the right product to solve the problem. The process of developing the product and getting it into the marketplace can be an arduous task, but don’t be daunted. That’s where the Marketing Services Unit at JBDC comes in; the place that helps you to gain ‘market access’.

Janine Fletcher-Taylor Marketing Services Manager, JBDC

Barriers to Market Access


ccording to Janine Fletcher-Taylor, Marketing Services Manager at JBDC, one of the most dominant observations is that entrepreneurs do not engage with the market as thoroughly as they need to in order to benefit from an ideal value proposition. “Oftentimes, products and services are innovated from the entrepreneur’s perspective and not the markets perspective, which is akin to the old marketing methods of creating and making products then seeking to sell to the market vs engaging in market research to determine consumer pain points and problems and creating a product that supports consumer’s needs. Disruptive firms such as AirBnB, Netflix and Uber have created significant disruption to the competitive environment simply by developing business models that responded to challenges customers were having in the market with existing products,” Fletcher-Taylor explains. Continuing, she pointed out that when entrepreneurs create products and services that respond to customer needs, their marketing budgets are significantly reduced and marketing efforts are better spent on market awareness and customer engagement. The issue of inadequate research also

impacts the entrepreneurs awareness of the competitive environment that they will encounter when accessing markets, with an underestimation of how their competitors influence their market success. Another barrier to market access is a target market that is non-specific and all encompassing. “Access to markets becomes a random and almost futile exercise. Different market segments have unique buying behaviours that promote the success or failure in a market. Without a specific target market the entrepreneur is then faced with the challenge of convincing all different types of consumers to buy their products,” Fletcher-Taylor added.


arket access success is also sometimes stymied when there is no clear plan for scaling and expanding to meet potential demand due to a lack of capital for instantaneous growth. While production might be limited to current sales, there still needs to be a contingency plan for increased demand. Customers become frustrated and lose trust in products that are inconsistently available in the market and quickly find alternatives that damage the momentum a product might experience during the market access phase.

Lack of knowledge of the regulatory requirements involved in products being sold to consumers, is another challenge entrepreneurs face. “In order to protect consumers, regulators enforce standards and systems in place to ensure products are safe for consumption. In accessing markets, entrepreneurs are often faced with significant barriers due to nonadherence and informal manufacturing practices that disqualify or retard the rate of approval for products to legally enter markets. In some instances, products are removed from the shelves of retailers due to non-adherence which has the potential to create long lasting damage to brands that otherwise would have been successful. Investment in formalisation and compliance is nonnegotiable if entrepreneurs intend to have sustainable businesses,” she pointed out. Fletcher-Taylor also noted that nonexistent and disorganised value chains and supply chains plague the productive sector. Inadequate access to raw materials and inconsistent supplies with little to no substitutes are major deterrents to market access and growth. Again, this highlights the need for entrepreneurs to engage in appropriate research as they develop their business concepts. Another challenge is the absence of a structured marketing action plan that promotes the various stages of market access has resulted in exceptional products being produced with little to no market awareness regarding these goods. Planning and strategy is a critical aspect that supports the success of entrepreneurs accessing markets. In addition entrepreneurs have demonstrated weaknesses in negotiation skills and ensuring that their contracts and buyer negotiations are aligned to sound business practices.

“In 2020 we may be unaware how little technological adoption entrepreneurs may be infusing into their businesses. From advanced technology in record keeping, production and complexed operations to basic tools such as smart phones, emails and social media tools. In many cases after being supported with market access, communication and access to entrepreneurs remain a prevalent problem,” she added. How can we help you?


he suite of services that JBDC has developed over the years has evolved based on the limitations and barriers that entrepreneurs have exhibited and continues to evolve as more concerns and issues are identified,” Fletcher-Taylor noted. According to Fletcher-Taylor, JBDC’s Market Readiness Assessments (Screening) are geared at assessing the client’s readiness to enter and compete in markets. Areas from product development, business processes and marketability are examined and the client is provided with recommendations that are geared at improving their market access survival. “Direct market access channels are available through the varied market access support provided through the JBDC Things Jamaican brand. These include retail, ecommerce and business to business matching initiatives that promotes the clients and their products to the relevant target markets suitable for their products,” she explained. Additionally, through the JBDCs network of partner agencies and private sector partners, clients are linked and referred to resources such as BSJ, DBJ, SRC, COJ and other relevant regulatory bodies to ensure their products and services go through the regulatory rigours that may prevent them from accessing markets effectively.


Maintaining your Place in the Marketplace


is significantly hampered by this culture. Additionally, when promoted and given market access support, entrepreneurs often become overwhelmed with the demand the exposure yields. Far more emphasis must be placed on production management and other innovative methods of fulfilling orders such as clustering and collaboration,” she added.

owever, once the products have made it into the marketplace, staying there is also a challenge. Unfortunately, not all entrepreneurs survive. Research is ongoing throughout the life cycle of the business. Lack of ongoing research on trends, new regulations, supply sources and after sales support. They are On the journey, ‘From Concept to often reactive to the market rather than Market’, it is critical that entrepreneurs seek assistance so that they begin and strategic. remain on the right trajectory. Fletcher“Lack of or unwillingness to adapt to Taylor encourages entrepreneurs to visit standards in their enthusiasm to get to the JBDC early in the journey. market is an issue. The core product may be excellent and ideal for market “Research, research and embrace but not much strategy and emphasis is ongoing research to ensure your given to packaging, branding and other product/service is satisfying a need. marketing requirements of the complete Identify a target market and have a clear customer experience. This results in a understanding of the buying patterns limited market traction and much effort of that market and build your strategies is needed to convince consumers to around that target is key. What’s your story and why should consumers buy purchase,” Fletcher-Taylor explained. your products, engage with the market The entrepreneur may also face the and not just sell them a product but challenge of production capacity and give them an unforgettable customer order fulfilment, which becomes a major experience? Ensure your business breakdown when clients are unable to processes are organised and built around meet demand. “More emphasis is placed the experience you want your customers on participation in trade events that access to have. Know your numbers and directly to consumers versus ensuring prioritise your resources around products production capabilities are fortified to that are winners. Be willing to constantly meet the demand of intermediaries such innovate and evolve your products and as retailers and third party buyers. While understand the stage of the product the entrepreneur may be making short- life cycle your products reside. Be bold, term sales directly to consumers, the brave and willing to disrupt the market pace at which the business grows and for maximum effect,” Fletcher-Taylor their ability to matriculate into exports said.





he ability to export goods and services overseas is a dream of many entrepreneurs, but it be an insurmountable task. The government’s Export Max III programme is designed to enable entrepreneurs to overcome this hurdle through three years of capacity building. The programme is being implemented by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) in collaboration with the Jamaica Manufacturers & Exporters’ Association (JMEA) and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). “At JBDC, when we say ‘From Concept to Market’, we want our entrepreneurs to think of markets beyond Jamaica’s borders and it is quite alright to dream big. Some of our biggest successes have been made possible through collaboration with both private and public sector organisations. Networking is something we encourage our clients to do whenever they enter our programmes. We have had participants in the Accelerator Programme enter overseas markets through networking with mentors. Therefore, as we lead by example, the JBDC is excited to be a part of Export Max III, working together with JAMPRO and JMEA. It is indeed a strong partnership and I look forward to the results,” said Valerie Veira, CEO of JBDC.

Melissa Bennett Business Advisory Services Manager, JBDC

nn Limited strategy and business model development nn Lack of specialized knowledge of industries nn Poor business process documentation and productivity improvement nn Lack of strong teams, due to unwillingness to collaborate or trust issues nn Lack of integrated and fully functioning supply and value chain systems nn Access to appropriate finance due to lack of knowledge of options and risk aversion by investors

According to Melissa Bennett, Business Advisory Services at the JBDC, the agency will be actively involved in Export Max III through capacity building interventions, to participating firms’ leaders. They will gain practical insights and strategies which align the owners and operators’ mindset, process design and interpretation for addressing business operations and management issues and opportunities to leverage the market nn Limited global market penetration strategies access and advocacy support available through JAMPRO and As the government’s lead agency for training of MSMEs, JBDC JMEA. is poised to make a significant impact on the participating “Export Max III is a significant in certain crucial areas such as: companies. “We will embark on knowledge sharing through, (1) Market Potential – Jamaica’ consumer population is small research, training, counselling, hand-holding and monitoring relative to overseas markets, (2) Foreign Exchange Earnings for assistance will allow us to provide guided support by specialists individual companies, (3) Reduced Jamaica’s trade deficit and based on the gaps identified from the detailed business stronger currency and purchasing power of J$ dollar and (4) diagnostics being conducted on each business. Access to specialist will facilitate network building to build stronger teams Increased economic growth of Jamaica,” Bennett explained. and create formal boards with. Group training sessions allow Bennett lists the following as the biggest barriers to export: joint venture possibilities between entities in the programme,” nn Poor entrepreneurial mindset that prevents good Bennett explained. governance A total of fifty companies are currently enrolled in Export Max III which is scheduled to end in 2022.






merging Opportunities abound in global markets for the gift and craft sector. However, creative will need to be bold, strategic and open to experimentation to tap into the “noise” that consumers encounter on a daily basis. Demand for the gift industry has risen especially for artisanal goods under the classification of handicraft or artisanal products. The Global Handicrafts Market Research reports that in 2018 the global handicrafts market was worth US$583.4 billion and is expected to reach US$1,091.2 billion by 2024 a growth forecast of approximately 11%. Ten market signals to watch are as follows: 1. Market demand for the gifting industry has risen, especially for handmade goods, which has had an impact on the retail industry. With this trend there is an increased recognition of the value of purchasing items that are unique and not mass produced. 2. In the past, handmade products were rarely accessible and would only be acquired when visiting regions or places where these unique products were made. However, the advent of e-commerce and digital market access channels has resulted in connecting consumers directly to artisans and has opened convenience shopping, logistics and access to ship anywhere in the world. Behaviour patterns indicate that consumers desire connecting directly with makers and desire. People want to know that products were made by a real person and that they’re spending money on a sense of authenticity attached to them. 3. The growth in the tourism and travel markets, in particular the emergence of the Airbnb segments have provided tremendous opportunities and inclusiveness to local artisans and handicraft manufactures. Global trends in community tourism and inclusive tourism are propelled by growing travel consumption patterns with tourists demanding more authentic vacation experiences and interactions with locals and local shopping that gives greater insight to the particular cultural content and heritage. 4. In the past, artisans typically sought to save traditions that are in danger of being lost, and in doing so, sustained communities and cultural heritage. As artisans shift their design focus to more contemporary themes, the consumer and market appeal has increased significantly, with market segments such as corporate gifting, hotels and attractions now identifying purchasing options that resonate with their purchasing needs.

opportunities by utilising non-traditional materials and recycling. 6. The dominant product types in the industry benefitting from the growth of this market development, range from pottery, embroidered and crochet goods, woodenware, hand printed textiles and fashion accessories. Woodenware is by far the leading product type globally. This is due to conversion to products that are predominantly functional in nature, with particular emphasis on kitchen ware, decorative home accents and corporate gift solutions. 7. The leading distribution channels for artisanal products are online stores, department stores, independent retailers/ producers and speciality stores. While there is marginally little differences between these channels, department stores are considered to be the leading channel based on revenues. However, the projections for the next six years suggest an 11% increase which is due mainly in part to the forecasts in ecommerce channels as artisans increase their digital footprint on online platforms and promote their brands by way of integrated digital marketing strategies. 8. Over the past few years, there has been an increased adoption of handicraft by the elite society and luxury markets. It is notable that the origins of the luxury market can be traced to handmade products. However, this has transitioned to “Modern Luxury” which involves integrating the story and meaning behind products, as well as committing to transparency of the supply chain and responsible manufacturing. According to Jason Keehn, founder and CEO of Accompany, an online boutique, “it’s a fusion of quality, craftsmanship and context”. Consumers are no longer just sold on “Big Brands”, but are instead looking for more meaningful and compelling shopping experiences that create positive social impact. 9. As a means of overcoming the barriers artisans face in accessing market opportunities, committed partnerships with international market influencers are becoming more evident. European luxury markets continue to tell the story of handcrafted, artisanship while outsourcing from developing countries, through key partnerships with internationally acclaimed designers who partner and create with artisans globally to provide solutions. Examples of this trend can be identified with Donna Karen’s Urban Zen line and the EDUN brand which manufactures approximately 85% of its products in Africa using traditional African technique with contemporary product designs.

5. With the advent of the Millennium Development goals 10. The leading region accounting for the largest market and the now sustainable development goals, there is now share in the handicraft market is North America. Other growing demand for products that embrace sustainable regions include Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Latin development and climate change and ethical business America. practices. Artisans are therefore compelled to ensure that sustainability and climate change are addressed in With these trends in mind, artisans are challenged to take a their business models. An opportunity emerging from deep dive into the global market space and develop strategies this however is that, such products have the potential to tap into this global value chain. to attract premium pricing, and offer significant design


DIARY OF A JBDC MODEL by Dominic Harris

the occasion to get the job done, oftentimes saving the organisation on budget. This time, we had the significant duty of telling stories in pictures, on behalf of Jamaican entrepreneurs whose products would be featured on the new Things Jamaican E-commerce website. Day 1 – White Horses Falls/Cook Shop/Bar


e travelled by car, bus and truck. The ride was smooth for the majority but not the same for JBDC model, Sasha McCalla. She recollected her experience throwing up on the side of the road. Of course, crew members Alicia Walker and Camille Hyatt-Wisdom were Dominic Harris is at peace on a rock at Reggae Falls. always on top of things ensuring everyone was being hydrated, fed on time and in their best spirit. In no time Sasha was good to go old it! Hold it!” I can still hear again. Photographer, Terry-Ann Miller’s ardent voice ringing at the back of my head, On another note, our male JBDC crew as she attempts to get the perfect lighting for members Wishant Glover, Andre, Cameron, the current shot. At this point, crew members Jermaine Townsend and Damion Dacres did Andre Heslop and Joseph Cameron are in not hesitate to put their hands to use once we the back carefully manipulating their tools; one slip could possibly ruin this shot. With this reality in the minds of everyone a part of the shoot, even conversations that were in progress have now paused, as we wait in anticipation for a queue…


It all started with one conversation. “Would you mind participating in a photoshoot involving bikini wear?” Andre said. I vociferously responded “nope,” having no clue what I was about to get myself into. But my licensed JBDC model journey had just begun. A few days later, I received an email with the locations and my respective working days. The overall locations included White Horses Falls, Cook Shop/Bar, Reggae Falls in St. Thomas, as well as, Devon House, Bella Day Spa and a private kitchen in Kingston. I was scheduled to work for the first three days.

Of course, she had a magnitude of support. We became overnight road instructors in that moment, directing the incoming traffic to slow down. There were points when Alicia, Camille or Waynette Campbell would run across as well, adding another product in the shot or just for a quick fix. It was crazy! However, there was lots of sense to our nonsense. One would think getting the perfect shot would be the photographer’s problem but it really became all of ours.

Chanaya Farrier looks ready to ride off into the St. Thomas sunset.

Day 2 – Reggae Falls

Damion Dacres pours Makeydia Pryce a drink at Reggae Falls.

got to the location. Easily, what was once the meaningless side of a road became a changing area, makeup area and a whole bathroom. They were quite inventive and made it their duty to ensure the shoot ran smoothly.

It was not the first scene for the day, but it JBDC is blessed with a talented team of multi- was a life changing experience for everyone. skilled individuals who consistently rise to Our focus narrowed on the left-hand side of


the road, where the scene was taking place while Terry juggled between the centre of the road and the right-hand side where majority of us stood by. Every minute that the road was seemingly cleared, Terry would use this opportunity to dash across and get another shot.




hen I thought day one was crazy enough, here came day two. After a long, bumpy ride, we finally got to our destination. However, in order to get to the falls, we had to get across a pool of water. We made what was supposedly a setback, such a joyful experience. Persons with lower vehicles, not willing to risk crossing the pool of water simply hopped onto the back of our Things Jamaican truck. “The bus can swim! Nobody cannot cross it!” we chanted. Our hidden talent was really turning lime into lemonade.


that required genuine laughter and Andre was a huge help in telling those stories. Wait a minute, how could I forget Glover, he is the absolute best pretend mate ever, getting lost

Jermaine Townsend takes a walk in the river.

Brrrrrrr…Reggae Falls was my hardest shoot day. The water was icy, freezing but I still had to keep my composure in order to get the perfect shot. It was at that point I realised being a model wasn’t all fun and games. I shivered through every single scene convincing myself it would be over soon, but Terry was very patient with us, and found creative ways and means to assist both models and behind the scene persons in getting through each scene. At times she would alternate from being a photographer to a motivational speaker, using her inspiring words to reap a masterpiece. Makedia Pryce has the makings of a model a first glance and so she along with Chanaya completed the ‘Sisterhood’ of four at this location While we had our own battles, they were no match for Sasha’s. She had to immerse her entire body in the frosty, freezing Reggae Falls. Getting her hair wet, took some convincing. Believe me, she was very cold and everyone knew it was handled effortlessly. As we watched her repeatedly dip for about five or six times trying to get THE SHOT, we stood by cheering on, “Go Sasha! You can do this!” and as soon as Terry uttered “that’s a rap”, Camille greeted Sasha with a smile and a warm towel. Day 3 – Devon House


hat’s. A. Rap. These words danced and played repeatedly at the back of my mind. How could three simple words bring that much solace? The relief I felt after hearing it at Reggae Falls was part of what helped me get through day 3. However, having a crew member like Andre behind the camera uttering the most hilarious nonsense could make anyone’s day brighter. I mean, how can you not cheer up? There were some shots

Tanisha Tulloch, Sasha and Dominic are fashionable on the lawns of Devon House.

in his eyes while he makes the most hilarious expressions was enough to make you portray the exact expressions Terry was looking for. We took no time to get the ball rolling and Glover was already sweeping myself, Sasha and Tanisha Tulloch off our feet. For shoot purposes, Glover was affectionately called “Dirty Glovy, the ladies man.” We wore high



impersonated these characters, we had to be to tell the story. To name a few stories we told, Chanayah Farrier as a bad bike girl (Day 1), Sisterhood at Reggae Falls (Day 2), Dominic and Damion’s oil bath (Day 2), The Boujee Trio (Day 3) and Tanisha and Glover’s love affair (Day 3). This team of ‘models’ was cast from all over the organization and tasked with storytelling. That is, escaping our shells and surpassing our call of duties. I know for a fact it could not possibly be easy for Andre and Cameron, holding a heavy tool for the majority of the day, in an effort to provide the right lighting for each individual scene. I am not familiar with the technical photography terms but poor Waynette, had to hold a weighty stick in position until a scene was through. Alicia and Camille; the duo was destroyable, handling lunches for the team, maneuvering costume changes and mastering their “pin-up” game when adjusting garments according to body size.

Sasha and Dominic eye Wishant Glover on the steps of Devon House.

end garments, elaborate hats, sipped wine, laughed daintily and dreamed about Glover, the lady’s man. The experience was like a oneday trip to the castle. If you were ever curious as to what happened behind the scenes, know this, we were eager to go through anything, under any means possible to capture the moment. As such, we practically separated our regular lives from the scene. Life paused for us while we

But despite everything, I personally believe we handled the shoot like pros, both behind and in front of the camera, and like I said, stories were told. “A picture says a thousand words.” Aren’t you convinced? Which story is your favourite: Food & Beverage, Aromatherapy, Fashion & Accessories? Buy Jamaica. Click Jamaica. Visit www.thingsjamaicanshoping.com.




n 2019, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) cemented its years of ongoing interventions with the Cultural & Creative industries by dedicating its Annual Small Business Expo & Conference to highlighting the value of this sector to the larger economy.

Despite her personal reservations though, creatives the world over have used this medium, in particular crowd funding to secure financing for large and small projects.

Crowd Funding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who contribute a Prior to this, the Corporation hosted several thought leadership relatively small amount, typically via the Internet. Creatives who use events which provided a platform to the sector’s stakeholders this medium include; musicians, filmmakers and artists who have to address some of the many issues it faces. Currently, JBDC is successfully raised funds and awareness of their project. collaborating with the British Council to map the creative and Among the more popular websites for creatives are Kickstarter, cultural industries with a view to develop recommendations for Indiegogo and LendingClub. industry growth and sustainability as well as to help to define the quick online check revealed that creatives have secured in some sector’s size and impact. cases US$10 million for ventures including tech-related projects Out of these myriad activities, the issue of identifying financing such; bitcoin and apps, Mobile apps, video games and of course, for the sector emerged as the most troubling subject. While the funding independent films and sending struggling musicians on tour. traditional financial sector has voiced its support for the sector, it In 2013, the creators of the video game, Star Citizen successfully has not yet been able to offer any solutions to this problem and as raised just over US$9 million through Kickstarter. Creators went on such many creatives continue to fund projects and ventures out to raise another US$40 million through their own website. of pocket. Funds may also be raised for other areas such as Dance & Theatre, Jamaican actress and CEO of Yaadbridge Entertainment, Sherando Photography, Podcasts, Blogs & Vlogs, Web Series & TV Shows and Ferril says that while it is easier to get sponsorship for smaller Writing & Publishing. projects such as a TV show, doing a film requires much more. Locally, the JN Foundation launched iSupportJamaica, the first “As independent film makers we have to try to identify grant crowd funding website in the English-speaking Caribbean to assist funding or angel investments and those are few and far between,” microentrepreneurs of varying disciplines to source funding for she shares. “Outside of that, she continued, it is very difficult to social ventures and businesses. It also has the objective to create get funding for projects and that is why a lot of independent film new job opportunities and support the development of the Jamaican makers end up making sub-standard films because they don’t micro and social enterprise sectors. have the money to do it properly.” With crowd funding increasing in popularity across the globe, Continuing, Miss Ferril admitted to not having tried to engage Jamaican creatives are being encouraged to take advantage of the local banks simply because of conversations she has had with resources provided by the worldwide web. It should also be noted similar companies or from information gleaned while attending that crowdfunding sites target specific disciplines and funds may be seminars. “The banks that are usually at the seminars indicate raised to finance the venture basically from idea to fruition. that it is almost impossible to fund our business because there is no guarantee on returns,” she noted.


She offered the idea of utilizing online sources, noting that “… they would be ideal for grant funding but it’s been one of my challenges to put out there that I am begging money to make a film.”






ue to the continued growth of the internet, individuals have begun to explore online shopping. While the idea of it causes discomfort for the traditional shoppers, it is fast becoming the main source for the adventurous shoppers. There have been many horror stories like getting a piece of clothing that looks nothing like the picture. However, there is much joy in shopping online. SHOP 24/7


ccording to Life Wire, The Ultimate Guide to Shopping Online, in comparison to a traditional store with fixed hours, online shopping venues are made available at any time of the day. This is convenient for working class people who are generally busy. It is also more suitable during times of inclement weather and global crisis, e.g. Covid -19. Nicole Blake, a 32 year old single mom describes her online shopping experience as the engine to her car. “It’s really a lifesaver,” she explained. She further elaborated that she is always on the move and in order to stay on top of things, she utilizes online shopping. WIDE VARIETY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS


onsidering persons are purchasing items daily, at various time zones, variety is absolutely necessary. The variety available online is unmatched, with countless e-commerce sites available to choose from. There are rarely found any walk-in store that provides everything you can think of under the same roof. Even large retail stores fail us sometimes and could lead to a wild goose chase searching for a specialized store that sells your item of choice. This is not so with online shopping, as everything is available at the tip of your fingers. The second you type what you want into the search engine you will be chauffer driven to the exact site where you can purchase the item, and most likely its available.

PRODUCT QUALITY ife Wire, The Ultimate Guide to Shopping Online outlines that shelflife in a physical store is limited so the variety immediately becomes affected. Why do you think most stores have a stock room, inventory or a warehouse? There simply isn’t enough room to store everything. Hence, any store failing to properly store items could end up providing expired or faulty products. Want to know their biggest secret? FIFO! That is, first in, first out. According to High Speed Training, it is whereas products with soonest best before or use-by dates are placed at the front and items with the furthest dates are placed at the back. The natural customer buying behavior is to grab and go as customers rarely take items from the back.


Monique Bailey, a 21-year-old university student shares how she often receives her items in new and excellent condition. She credits online sites for providing reviews, which she then uses as a guide in her purchases. In summary, Monique elaborates that online shopping provides access to a personalized profile of each product including its condition, efficiency, and even the level of damage made to it. Of course, these peculiarities vary according to the type of product. The customer has the option of weighing pros and cons beforehand whereas they choose the best fit product according to their satisfaction. As such, a chance of receiving an item below customer expectation is minimal. She further added, that a full refund is also available once customers are dissatisfied. DELIVERY TO YOUR DOORSTEP ife is made much easier with the help of remarkable courier services associated with online shopping. To name a few, MailPac, ShipMe, Shipwize, Reliable Courier and CuriJam. Among these courier services, both listed and unlisted, MailPac and ShipMe are the most recognised. Couriers provide their customers with the option of collecting their items or having it delivered to their doorstep. The items are shipped to a secure facility in the USA, most likely a warehouse, then shipped locally. Some couriers even offer a return service protection coverage that allows customers to return products not meeting their requirements. The rates are usually charged based on the weight of the package.


MY ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE hopping has always been something I enjoy. However, when it comes to choosing between traditional and online shopping, I must say it is a pretty hard decision. Despite that reality, I find myself utilising online more often, simply because I don’t have much time on my hands anymore. Some of my favourite sites to shop on include Fashion Nova, Amazon and Zaful. I choose Amazon for most of my electronics purchases such as headphones, cellphones, boom boxes, etc. However, Fashion Nova and Zaful are my choices for my clothing. My experience with maneuvering these sites has been positive and I intend to continue shopping online. Simply consider the wonders one click can make possible. In a world where one has to ‘ride and whistle’ or multi-task, shopping in the comfort of your home while avoiding long lines and crowds will become the new norm. The ability to shop for goods or services at your own convenience, wide variety and available delivery to doorstep services via efficient courier services are some of the most enjoyable advantages of online shopping. It is fast becoming the preferred way to shop for a large cross section of consumers. Currently, thousands of persons have or are purchasing goods or services online with simply ‘one click’.










nline shopping is fast becoming an easy and convenient way for the average Jamaican to shop. From clothing to electronics and everything in between, several local entities are making it easier for Jamaicans to access consumable products from the comfort of their homes and offices. But this was not always so. While online shopping has been a staple service, provided through many international retailers for years, most Jamaicans have shied away from buying online as they found it much more convenient and easier on the mind to transact business in person. Added to this, were the risks associated with the practice. Chief among them were cybercrimes which include identity theft and fraud. A Gleaner article published in 2016, revealed that Jamaicans lost approximately US$100 million due to cybercrimes and that more than 200 cases of fraud or identity theft were reported to the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Cybercrimes Unit during that year. Despite the high rate of cybercrimes though, Jamaicans have become more modernised. Maybe it’s the increased travel opportunities or the lure from cable television but more Jamaicans are now involved in online buying. While international shopping sites such as Amazon, eBay and Walmart enjoy good support locally, local shopping sites like shopsampars. com and fontanapharmacy.com who offer slightly different consumer goods, have become increasingly popular and are holding their own in the local market. General Manager of Sampars Supermarket, Craig Robinson discloses that the idea to create an online space for grocery shopping in Jamaica originated from the company’s chairman, Derrick Cotterel. “As we looked at the shopping trends worldwide, we saw that more persons wanted the ease of shopping within the comfort of their homes or at their leisure without having to physically do the task. Since we are in the grocery business, we decided to pair the two and hence shopsampars.com emerged,” he shared. The response to the service according to Mr. Robinson, has been phenomenal. He credits especially Jamaicans in the diaspora who

utilise the shopping portal to send barrels to their families right here in Jamaica. “The culture in the Jamaican diaspora is to send barrels to relatives at home. What shopsampars.com has done is to make the experience easier and cheaper by offering brands that Jamaicans know and trust, eliminate the cost to buy, ship, clear and transport the barrels as well as offer delivery within 48 hours.” He also shared that the shopping experience offers the recipient the option of picking up groceries at any of their stores and/or choosing the goods based on the amount that their relatives pay for. Locals too, according to him, have warmed significantly to the service. Yet another local entity that offers an online shopping portal to its customers is making waves locally. Fontana Pharmacy, the fiftytwo-year-old company, which continues to expand its physical reach across Jamaica has one of the most attractive online store fronts with a variety of home, beauty, healthcare and office supplies. Most recently, JBDC’s retail arm, Things Jamaican™ launched its online shopping platform www.thingsjamaicanshopping.com. The website seeks to promote the concept of Brand Jamaica through the lens of the cultural influences such as our music, food, hidden gems and attractions, all of which are translated into the products our artisans and producers create.


arketing Services Manager, Janine Taylor, believes that the introduction of the new website is a step in the right direction as it offers another market access channel opportunity, particularly for clients who would not have been able to build out that kind of technological infrastructure. “E-commerce access gives clients the opportunity to venture directly into export markets,” she shares. For the prospective consumers, the website offers a wide selection of authentic Jamaican products in eight categories; Aromatherapy, Entertainment, Fashion, Fashion Accessories, Agro-processing, Literature, Home and Office accessories and Packages and Souvenirs. The site also features ‘house’ brands Jamaica Harvest (Gluten Free and agro- processed products) and Irie Magic (casual fashion and souvenirs), with other brands to be launched over the next two years. Continuing, Mrs. Taylor said “the world of ecommerce is the consumer’s shopping ground for acquiring goods and services. Hence customers will be experiencing improved shopping options with the Things Jamaican chain. They’ll be able to experience omni- channel shopping that allows persons to shop online and pick up their orders or shop in-store and receive deliveries at home via courier options as well as many other shopping options.” thingsjamaicanshopping.com provides overseas shoppers including the diaspora access to their favourite Jamaican-made products.  The overall intention of the site is to facilitate global access to Jamaican products and to support the MSMEs’ access to a market channel that is becoming increasingly dominant.

CRAVING ‘THINGS JAMAICAN’ by Suzette Campbell It is said that ‘home is where the heart is’ and many Jamaicans living in the diaspora can attest to this. They may move on to a better life in a more developed country with vast opportunities and resources, but nothing fills the void of ‘things Jamaican’ that they left behind. A trip home or a package shipped to them, usually cures this homesickness, but only for a while. The Business Dialogue sought to get responses from some Jamaicans in the diaspora on what their cravings are, what they’re most likely to take with them on a flight and whether they would shop for these items online. If you guessed that food is what they miss the most, you guessed right! “Homesickness is terrible; it’s akin to depression. You miss the taste of home, the smells of home and the sounds of home. It also makes you weepy. I once saw someone post a basket of East Indian mangoes and I started crying. I mostly crave tamarind balls, gizzardas, greater cake, potato pudding, hardo bread, June plums, apples and naseberries. I do shop online. I wish there were more Jamaican brands on eBay and Amazon.” Fern White-Hilsenrath, USA Craving plays a major role in home sickness. Being in a familiar setting with familiar foods is always good for one’s peace of mind. For example, I had a jelly man that I’d buy my jelly from every morning. I had a cane man who I’d get cane from during the day. I even had a guinep man who would deliver guineps to the office. Whatever fruit was in season, I had my person or a constant supply. Fruits as you know are seasonal so for me, mango season is hard or June plum season. It’s like clockwork. So, whenever a certain fruit is in season and I crave it, but I’m unable to source it, it makes me homesick. Food is life! And yes, ackee! When it’s ackee season, I’m one who will laugh under the tree until they open (country bumpkin). “To be honest, some things can be bought on Amazon UK but I’m always skeptical of the source. I still like to pick up groceries from the supermarket or the market. However, if I had the choice, I’d like to access canned items such as: ackee, callaloo, sausages, sardines, mackerel as well as gungo peas, sorrel, Jamaican curry powder, Jamaican coconut milk and so on. Let me not forget bun and cheese. My 6 year old loves spice bun. So basically, yes, I’d buy online.” “I always ask people to bring coffee, curry powder, hot pepper sauce and all-purpose seasoning. When I travel myself, I always bring these items in addition to rum (red and white). Jamaican snacks are a must too so I normally bring back a variety. Tamarind ball is a must! “ Yahneake Sterling-Russell, SWEDEN “Craving for me plays the biggest part in homesickness. Be it food, music or family. Anything can trigger the cravings like hearing reggae being blasted from a car, or walking into a space and hearing patois. Things I crave: FOOD - even though I cook Jamaican it does not taste the same. Going to the market...the fresh stuff. Conversations with friends. Going to the beach on a whim. The heat...I miss the heat!” “Yes, I would shop online. I have bought online. Turmeric soap. Usually food stuff - mangoes, roasted breadfruit, fried parrot fish, ackee, sometimes medicine for the kids, like Panadol. I also buy clothes, preferably denim skirts, and slippers, they are way cuter out there. Yes, everyting out deh nica!” Vivene Williams, CANADA “Certain smells trigger memories. The scent of something similar in the likeness of a Jamaican meal, that simply sends signals to the memories of a home cooked Jamaican meal, which in turn raises the thought of going home. Roast breadfruit cannot be fragrantly duplicated, but the smell of roasted or baked yellow yam in an American kitchen can inadvertently set off memories of roast breadfruit back home. The smell triggers imaginations of a wood fire & suddenly ackee & saltfish enters the pic in your mind & now you just want to go home. Once the visual ends, in a moment it leaves you still holding the desire & that craving whispers “buy a ticket, plan a trip, take a vacation, go home!” The craving gets set in one’s anxiety & the desire elopes with the idea. Oh! I’m bringing back spices, pimento, soursop leaf and jerk seasoning.” George Jackson, USA

“In my first year here, I returned to Jamaica three times because I felt I was going out of my mind. I was craving most things at home; mangoes, apples, raspberry and even patties. Funny enough I used to buy patties in Jamaica but I wouldn’t walk to Alaska for it, but that’s how I felt when I came here. Then there is ackee. For some reason, I’m was always feeling for some ackee or jerk chicken. And KFC was a big one for me, so much so, as I land in Jamaica the first go-to meal is KFC. And again strangely that was not something I’d go out of my way to get when I lived in Jamaica. I most definitely would shop online for some of the items... mangoes for sure. Even though there is move to export Jamaican mangoes here, I’m yet to see it in the DC region. Maybe it’s in New York. I always take a lot of these back to the states: patties, ackee, roast breadfruit, round bun, banana chips, Lasco [creamy malt], Red Stripe Sorrel Beer and powdered seasonings.” Kirk Abrahams, USA “It’s a huge part of home sickness. With technology and social media, you are in constant communication with family and friends. It’s more the physical experiences of the land and the cuisine that I truly crave. Patty, patty, and more patties! Jerk pork, jerk chicken and fish at Hellshire Beach. The seasonal fruits and vegetables fresh from the trees. Pear, apples, star apple and jackfruit, just to name a few. Breadfruit roasted on woodfire and sweet potato pudding baked on a coal stove the traditional way. Boy, mi craving everything Jamaican! “ “Yes, if it’s coming directly from Jamaica, I would buy online. We get a lot of Jamaican food here, but it’s not the same quality. They are often times harvested before dem fit or they’re old and out of date. But mi close mi eye and try and remember what it tasted like back home.” Patrice Woodhouse, IRELAND “Cravings do play a major role in home sickness. Being away from my wife and kids, I crave a lot of things. Some things I crave for: love and affection from spouse, playing and cooking with family, helping kids with their school work and hanging out with friends. Yes I do shop online especially when I’m buying things for the family and myself. Most times I will bring back souvenirs for friends and things for the family.” Nigel Hinds, UAE

“Cravings plays a major role. Being homesick you sometimes have depressing days where a quick fix is to satisfy yourself with food. I call it emotional eating. It almost feels like when you’re eating for 2 or it mimics a pregnancy crave. I often crave Jamaican fruits. I keep telling myself it’s a healthier crave or it’s just fruits so you can eat a ton of it. Yes I’ll do online shopping if I can get naseberry and star apple online…sure. On my way back, I bring Avocado, sugar cane, patties, ackee and breadfruit.” Tracey-Ann Bandoo-Daley, USA “Your cravings will be based on your location. The more Jamaican products offered, the less you crave. I actually request a special asthmatic cough syrup each time someone is coming up, because I know it works and the combination of the medicine is not here (asthma med plus cough syrup). I also ask for seasoning...mainly jerk spice or all-purpose seasoning and pimento seeds. Although these are available here, the taste and aroma are just not the same. I can walk in supermarkets and get a number of Jamaican products. Actually bought my bun and cheese Friday from a corner Chinese store.” “Would I shop online? Yes. I actually did already. I bought cerasse and large pack Lasco online.” Keisha Thompson, USA If you recall the ‘From Concept to Market’ articles earlier in this edition, based on the responses above, the new Things Jamaican E-commerce website is solving a problem for the most part by making a variety of their favourites available online. These include food, aromatherapy, fashion & accessories and literature. Several respondents are craving seasonings, which are a major item in the line of products offered. The picture of the ‘jerk man’ on the website says a thousand words and will bring back warm memories to Jamaicans in the diaspora. Before the advent of online shopping, they would have had to buy a ticket or await the visit of a loved one to satisfy that craving of ‘things Jamaican’. Today, these items are just a click and a shipment away.



Cheryl Whytehead is a leather crafter of keychains, sandals, handbags and other accessories, but she stands out. After visiting the USA, she shares that a Macy’s employee once asked where she got her bag from. When she told her that she made it, the employee immediately placed it beside top tier American brands and told Cheryl that her handbag stood out. “I was grown in craft,” is what Cheryl emphatically states when asked why this is her passion. She recounts being a child selling shells at the sea with her mother. It proved to be the way that she supported herself through formal schooling.   “If we believe that we’re going to have things our way all the time, then we’re not ready.” When Cheryl got the opportunity to sell her goods at the Wyndham Hotel in Kingston, she knew there was more destined for her business. She had to be unique. She shares that it was a good feeling to know that she had created a product that had taken to the market so well.   “When you’re an artisan, it can mash up family life” Cheryl dedicates much time to creating her pieces, but she shares it is important to respect her family time. Their support is pivotal and it is encouraging to see her family, especially her mom and sister (Andrea), her community (Cooper’s Pen) and peers being so supportive of her business. “And people love my pieces so much, I decide I want to take it to the whole world.”

Cheryl Whytehead

And she put my handbag beside the Michael Kors and all those pieces. 22


Even though Cheryl’s story is successful, she wants to pass down the blessings. She suggests that fewer imports from other countries would provide more business and less competition for local artisans such as herself. She has been able to reap the benefit of a great support team and plans to teach interested members from her community the leather crafting trade. Most of all, Cheryl sees her business as a way to bless others and does in several ways. One way in particular is by assisting financially with a close friend who has a terminal illness. True Story.





Calling arts and crafts a passion for Baldwin Dulstan is not just an understatement, but a grave injustice to the movement he’s building in the industry. As an arts and craft practitioner, Baldwin is the heartbeat of Balando Designs and the brains behind the Jamaica Indigenous Artisans Society (JAMIA). When he isn’t advocating for the arts, Baldwin can be found in his workshop with his seven counterparts making genuine leather sandals, handbags, wallets and clutches, and having a grand time doing it. “Art found me” Baldwin considers himself an artist and hates to tell people he’s a businessman, though he’s been in the business of crafts for over 30 years. His passion causes him to set and maintain a high standard for his work. Baldwin is not interested in everybody reselling his craft because vendors may not extend the proper treatment and care that he requires. “Dont just throw it down on the ground if it is to be resold,” said Baldwin.

Baldwin Dulstan Balando Designs

It feels like we’re fighting a losing battle. I’m looking forward to a fair fight.

To create his beautiful pieces, Baldwin uses mostly local tanned leather from goatskin. It is, however, becoming scarce because not many people are involved in the transformation of skin to leather. His hope is that people will become more involved in leather making, though primitive it may seem. “It is unfortunate that art and craft is being so locked into a box.” Baldwin wasn’t formally trained and he’s very proud of it. By being self-taught, he was able to explore new horizons through trial and error. He even received a scholarship to get trained, but it didn’t do much to help him because he got more exposure to the craft while being in the field. This year proved to be a good one for Balando Designs as they received a large order that has transformed them, but the challenges still surpass the highs of the small business world. Baldwin is certain that the economy is driven by MSMEs and he wonders why Jamaica isn’t putting forth much effort into the sector. “Competitors are coming out of Asia and they have mass production,” he said. “It feels like we’re fighting a losing battle. I’m looking forward to a fair fight, with equal requisite input to have a fair outcome.” Baldwin is, however, happy with the JBDC’s efforts in arts and craft and believes that at least a dent is being put in the problem of the craft sector on the north coast of the island. Baldwin’s dream is for Balando Designs to be self-sustainable and in time, will get rid of manual services. He hopes to achieve an international standard, then he’ll be free to say to himself “Well done.” Baldwin sees the craft industry excelling for another 200 years. True story.

It is said that a tree with strong roots laughs at the storm. Ishawana Tafara, the “crochet empress,” is the very embodiment of that sentiment. With a combination of a distinct love for crocheting and her homeland, Jamaica, Isha withstands the storms that comes with being a craft maker and vendor in Jamaica. A Wakefield, Trelawny resident, Isha makes her Jamaican inspired crochet pieces and sells them at the Falmouth pier. She specialises in red green and gold, Jamaican flag coloured, very afrocentric detailed crochet hats and bags. Though she typically stays true to the cultural style, Isha will complete a custom piece if the customer requests it. “I’ve done other professions, but I always come back to my craft” Isha began her crochet career at about seven years old when a woman came to live with her family. Though not a typical seven year old activity, Isha grasped onto her new found love and never let go. Now her client list extends to the JBDC, Sandals Resort, islandwide trade fairs like Kumbamiyaba, and overseas clients. She plans to continue crocheting for the rest of her life. In an effort to pass her talent on, she has employed young persons as apprentices and also gets her son involved in the business. Isha speaks positively about the future of her business, but in the same breath wishes that the thread variety would increase in Jamaica. She hopes for more cotton, silk and metallic based threads.  She is, therefore, taking steps to creating her own craft association to help others like herself.

Ishawana Tafara

My pieces represent the Rasta community.



With her love for crochet, Isha explores her talent, gifts people with the red, green and gold and spreads culture she loves. True Story.





The self-taught and self-proclaimed “African-Jamaican” artist, Hopeton Powell hails from the picturesque Ocho Rios. The man himself is laidback, humourous and his personality filters into his paintings and drawings. The veteran shares that he does everything from abstract pieces to custom artwork for his clients. As a young child, Powell found his love for his talent, but he never made a business from it until later as a young man. He shares that there were simpler days, where whatever he drew or painted he would gift to friends. The love people had for his work was satisfying.   “Artist a some crazy people”  Hopeton’s talent also happens to be his favourite form of therapy. Painting and drawing helps him to de-stress from an imperfect world. He describes art as a puzzle; freeing, but filled with dimension because what someone may see at first glance is not what they see as time goes on. This is what Powell calls the “communication of artistry” and what appeals to his customers so greatly. True art appeals to each customer’s nature when they walk away with a purchase. His best analogy for this is, “When yuh see something you like and is like yow mi nah lef’ dis – Is something mi a look fa from long time”. Hopeton’s customers don’t just buy only what appeals to him, he also makes pieces inspired from what others like. This ensures the profitability of his business.  Hopeton Powell

Me’s just a likkle mawga man.

“Me have high hopes, ‘cause mi name Hopeton, understand?” The Olde Market Craft Association is the organisation Hopeton is aligned with. He acknowledges that in some countries, other talented persons don’t have these opportunities, as he lauded the JBDC for their consistent assistance to artisans like himself. However, marketing and further exposure of his industry is needed. Hopeton’s goal in life is to see his work appreciated and sold globally, and to see more persons develop their artistic talents. True Story.

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Profile for Jamaica Business Development Corporation

JBDC Business Dialogue - Jan-March 2020  

In this issue, JBDC explores the 'From Concept to Market' mantra by highlighting some of the ways in which Jamaican entrepreneurs are pushi...

JBDC Business Dialogue - Jan-March 2020  

In this issue, JBDC explores the 'From Concept to Market' mantra by highlighting some of the ways in which Jamaican entrepreneurs are pushi...

Profile for jbdc

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