National Bakery boss identifies building amid calls for manufacturing space

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

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NATIONAL Baking Company chairman and CEO Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson says he has identified a building that could help ease the frustration of entrepreneurs now struggling to find adequate space to manufacture their products.

While talking to the Jamaica Observer recently, Hendrickson revealed that he has already approached the owner of the building and is to follow up for a response.

The National Bakery boss, who was accompanied by a group of young entrepreneurs on the recent visit to the Observer's Beechwood Avenue offices in St Andrew, also noted that manufacturers running out of space is a sign that their businesses are growing.

Admitting that he has noticed a shift in the last two years, he said: “They use to worry about market, now they are worrying about space. It is one thing when you can make [products] and don't have any market; [but] obviously, it has started to reverse itself.

“Anytime manufacturers don't have space that's a good thing... Anytime you have space you [are] wasting time; when you run out of space, that's a good thing,” Hendrickson said.

One of the entrepreneurs, who also sat down with the Observer, True Shade Cosmetic CEO Dianne Plummer, told reporters and editors that she had to resort to making products in her living room after spending more than $600,000 for equipment and to renovate a space to manufacture her products, only to have to abandon it.

“Before, I was operating out of my home then I got a location outside. I was there for about two weeks [but] I had to move back and renovate my living room. My entire living room is my lab for manufacturing my make-up and the skincare products.

“I would love to have a space — even to section it off for different types of businesses — that I could do my manufacturing there,” she said, adding that she had to move her living room furniture to her mother's house.

However, despite the challenges, Plummer said her business has been growing.

“We basically started our e-commerce rollout [a few] weeks ago and I know this may not be a lot, but within the first two weeks we sold about 1,250 [products] and I was like, 'Oh my God, this is amazing',” she said.

Noting that a fraction of her sales is from outside Jamaica, Plummer pointed out that marketing is very important where small businesses are concerned.

Motivated by her recent sales, Plummer's mindset about the approach to getting her products to consumers has changed.

“If nobody else wants to carry my product [on their shelves], okay fine, we have a new way. It's a global marketplace 'cause now I have clients in Finland, Germany, all over, [who are] buying my stuff online,” she said.

— Racquel Porter


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