Spur Tree fights on
JAMAICANS are known the world over for their 'spunk and spirit'. For Spur Tree Spices, this is the winning recipe.
Forced to rebrand and totally remarket one of the company's newest products in its first bid to enter the UK market, Spur Tree is not daunted.
"This just shows that for a small company trying to enter a new market, you have to take the knocks and just move on," said Spur Tree director, Mohan Jagnarine.
The company was earlier this year barred from using the word 'reggae' in the previous name of one of its products by UK-based competitor Reggae Reggae sauce on the grounds that it was a copyright breach.
Jagnarine said to avoid an "expensive lawsuit", Spur Tree opted to take the comparatively cheaper route of rebranding its product as 'Top Rankine Table Sauce' and has attempted to re-gain the confidence of its UK customers.
He said the company did not incur any major losses as a result of the setback and has since shipped 500 cases of the rebranded product to the UK.
Having grown from a two man operation to a staff of 50 in its 16 years of existence, Jagnarine says Jamaican manufacturing companies are faced with many barriers to productivity.
He said the shortage of manufacturing space and daunting rental charges for such facilities is one such issue, with most rentals "being quoted in US dollars".
Local entrepreneurs often underestimate the value of going abroad to get first-hand accounts of international market conditions, said Jagnarine, noting such a move has proved quite valuable to his company.
"Distributors simply distribute, you have to go and see what's happening and push your product," he said.
Though he declined to name the company, Jagnarine said Spur Tree has since inked a deal with a major US sausage maker for the use of his company's seasonings, which he expects will deepen his company's strength on the US market.
Spur Tree products are currently distributed by NBC Distribution Limited in the UK.