Coronavirus advice from business owner

Coronavirus advice from business owner

Observer writer

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

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In a period when many businesses have hit a profit hurdle due to the spread of COVID-19, marketing manager of Sophie Sam Fragrances and More Adrian Lawrence-Samuda is urging stakeholders to maximise use of technology.

“I'd encourage all business owners to use this downtime to get creative. We're living in the era of technology and due to the circumstances we're all faced with, more persons are virtually present than ever before. Use this to your advantage,” the 24-year-old told the Jamaica Observer.

To date, there have been 63 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Jamaica, with three fatalities. Last week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness ordered social gatherings be kept at a maximum of 10 people, and effective last Tuesday, a national curfew spanning from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am came into effect.

Sophie Sam Fragrances and More was launched in 2005 by Adrian's father, Kerith Lawrence-Samuda. The store is based at Angels Plaza in St Catherine.

Though it has seen a decline in customers since the virus was declared a pandemic on March 11, sales have been above average due to the company's delivery option.

“Because we're into retail and our business depends somewhat on people coming in-store, we have not seen as many people since the outbreak. However, we have a loyal customer base that ensures to utilise our delivery service,” he said.

Lawrence-Samuda noted that the company is more than just about selling fragrances.

“We take the time out to educate our clientele — tailor the experience for each and every customer that we come across,” he explained.

“We have trusted suppliers that we have been partnering with for the last 15 years. We enquire about our customers and their current fragrance collection; identify their personality traits and a scent profile that is common amongst their collection. This helps us to narrow our decisions, whether it's going to be something to add a little flavour to their collection or something within the same olfactory family,” Lawrence-Samuda added.

According to senior research officer at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (Jampro), Carlos Applewhaite, the personal care market is the world's largest with an estimated US$49 billion earned in 2016 in the United States on products ranging from make-up, hair-and skincare, and fragrances. Meanwhile, London-based Mintel Research forecasts that by the end of this year, sales will reach US$3.4 billion among black Americans, and Jamaica's fledlging cosmetics industry is positioned to benefit from “excellent export opportunities”.

Currently, Sophie Sam offers popular colognes such as Issey Miyake, Bvlgari, Jimmy Choo, and Versace. However, Lawrence-Samuda says the company is looking to start manufacturing its own scents to profit from such a promising market.

“Since we're fragrance retailers in Jamaica, if we have our own perfumes here, it would serve in Jamaica's best interest when introducing ourselves into the fragrance world,” he said.

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