MONTEGO BAY, St James — MONTEGO Bay-based furniture maker Mekyah Manufacturing is looking to export in the region.
"We have a lot of hotels, cafes and several residential complexes in South Florida and in the Caribbean who have expressed an interest in our products, and by summer we are going to be exporting to those countries," said Richard Cardoza, Mekyah's managing director.
He added that the company also plans to triple its workforce, moving from 20 employees to 60, by year-end.
Established in 2011, Mekyah manufactures a wide variety of stylish, high-quality furniture, Including modern outdoor daybeds, dining sets, sofa and seating sets, and bar sets at its 8,000-square-foot-state-of-the-art facility located in the Montego Bay Free Zone.
"Our furniture is handwoven using ISO certified fibre and 14-gauge aluminium, which is powder coated for extra strength and durability. Although our current focus is on resort furniture, we also delight in meeting clients' orders for customised pieces for both indoor and outdoor and ranging from accent pieces to full sets for every room at home or the office," Cardoza emphasised.
He told the Business Observer that the company evolved from his dream of the need for more trendy, high quality furniture in the local market and across the Caribbean.
"And with the buy-in of astute-thinking business leaders, the company's shareholders and directors invested time, money and direction in planting the seeds to make the dream come true," he explained.
The directors, he said, include Rita Humphries-Lewin, chairman of Barita Investments; Carlton Barclay, deputy general manager, Jamaica National Building Society; Vanceta Ramsay, an investment banker; and Leesa Kow, general manager, Jamaica National Money Services, attorney Gordon Brown, and himself.
According to Cardoza, the company's competitive advantage lies is in its ability to deliver products at prices that are way below what it costs to import similar furniture, while delivering products at a standard that exceeds competitive products.
Meanwhile, President of the Jamaica Manufacturing Association (JMA) Brian Pengelley, who toured the facility recently, has lauded Mekyah for its superior quality products.
"The products being manufactured by Mekyah are of a high quality and fill a major gap in local manufacturing versus importation," he told the Business Observer.
"This is exactly the type of investment in manufacturing that the JMA has been promoting and that Jamaica needs. The benefits are very tangible covering employment, upskilling and, of course, lessens the demand for foreign exchange."
He said the JMA is urging the tourism sector and other customers to offer their business to Mekyah, instead of importing.