BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
OVER 10 Jamaican companies have acquired licences from the Jamaica 50 Secretariat to produce memorabilia for the country's golden jubilee anniversary celebrations.
Those awarded licences include Image Matters, Jus Kool Collections, Sun Island Jamaica, and Touchline Industries.
Under the Official Licensing and Merchandise Programme, the companies are allowed to produce items with the Jamaica 50 logo for sale and are invited to do business at events backed by the Secretariat.
"We made an effort, given the short time frame, to get a wide range of memorabilia T-shirts, pens, key rings, tote bags, coffee mugs, water bottles, clocks, commemorative plates and more," said Stephanie Campbell, licence and merchandise manager at the Jamaica 50 Secretariat, adding that there are also several "surprise items" like the "funky 50" sunglasses.
The Jamaica 50 logo is a Government trademark that has been registered in Jamaica, the US, Canada and the European Union, and the Secretariat is in the process of completing applications for trademark in China.
While companies have legal motivation to becoming holders of licences — entities found using the Jamaica 50 logo on merchandise without permission can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law — the business opportunities arising from being part of the official Jamaica 50 programme could also act as a major incentive.
Efforts are being made to make available a full range of Jamaica 50 collection through the outlets of the Secretariat's retail partner, Things Jamaican. The organisation also has a partnership with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission to retail memorabilia through their events and parish offices islandwide.
There will also be an official Jamaica 50 shop at the Jubilee Village, designed by 2011 Edna Manley graduates, while the Secretariat said it has also secured "other retail opportunities" with almost 30 retailers islandwide, including Ammars, Carby's and Lee's Fifth Avenue.
Image Matters saw great value in Jamaica 50 and applied for a licence to add authenticity to what it was doing, said Debbie Morgan, the principal of the branded gift products maker.
"We wanted to be affiliated with the body that is responsible for everything behind Jamaica 50," Morgan told the Jamaica Observer. "To me it feels more nationalistic."
Morgan said that the company has a wide variety of merchandises that are utility-oriented and worthwhile as a keepsake, including umbrellas and key rings. What's more is that the company is producing jute bags, designed with images of athletes in an attempt to benefit from the spirit of the London 2012 Olympics. The businesswoman said sales has been going "very well" so far and commended the Secretariat for doing an "excellent job" getting the products marketed and launched.
Touchline Industries Limited, a local manufacturer and supplier of promotional products, said it is proud to be one of two suppliers working alongside the Secretariat in presenting the lapel "Pin of Pride" for the Secretariat's One Million Pin Initiative.
"We are committed, in this very historic year to play our small part as patriotic corporate citizens, in ensuring that all Jamaicans can capture a piece of the our Golden Jubilee by having access to keep sakes that they will not only cherish, but pass down through the generations," said Christopher Williams, Touchline's assistant general manager.
Touchline is producing souvenir items such as coffee and beer mugs, shot glasses, key rings, directors' briefcases, passport holders, and a myriad of other items for retail sales as well as for co-branding, Williams said.
Other licensees are J&E Industries Ltd, Stella Limited, O & M Global Trading, Worldwide Novelties, Design HQ Ltd, and Jade Lee Investments. The licences are valid up until March 2013.