Using wood to build a better Jamaica


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

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Taking the helm of her father's company five years ago, Lacey Ann Bartley had already grown up surrounded by the transformative impact of cabinetmaking and carpentry on the lives of young people in the Manchester communities that Bartley's All in Wood served.

Having studied at The University of the West Indies, Bartley knew that by giving her father's dream a modern approach, even more lives would be impacted by the company's products that are primarily sold in the tourism industry.

“My thesis in school helped me to formulate the vision for the company — to affect Jamaica's balance of trade through advocacy and export. That is, if we can export more and we can employ more we can grow the economy.”

And Bartley is as passionate about brand Jamaica as she is about her own brand.

“I share the mantra of His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, using what is right with Jamaica to fix what is wrong with Jamaica.”

A member of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Bartley shared with us her journey into the “lonely” world of business ownership and how she has relied on the Branson Centre for support.

Dennise Williams: As a young woman heading a male-dominated company in a competitive industry where wood imports are the products of choice due to perceived lower costs, what gives you a competitive edge?

Lacey Ann Bartley: Our competitive edge is innovation. Not only that, but we ensure that we are the best at what we do and cater to the needs of our clients. Business and life is about people; keep them at the centre and you will see success.

DW: Tell us how Bartley's All in Wood manages to impact lives of young men in the parish of Manchester?

LB: Bartley's All in Wood is a Social Enterprise. Young men in the art of carpentry, upon the completion of apprenticeship are given a job. They are taught skills that can be applied to various fields.

DW: What impact does working for Bartley's have on their professional careers?

LB: Bartley's allows youth to learn a skill from which they can obtain skill certification making them employable globally.

DW: What are your views on how the creative industries can be supported to improve Jamaica's balance of trade?

LB: The creative industries are a gold mine for Jamaica; for us to reap the benefits of the creative industries, we need to find innovative ways to monetise our culture and talents. The first step, I believe, is to create a structure and supporting network for these industries. Brand Jamaica is a launching pad for the bolstering of our creative industries; however, the systems and structure need to be in place. We need to protect intellectual property.

DW: Where do you see Bartley's All in Wood in the next five years?

LB: We would love to see Bartley's exporting to the Caribbean and the Diaspora. We are also looking forward to a larger commercial factory which would increase our capacity and the number of youth we can employ. Within these five years we would love to increase our community outreach and launch our foundation.

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