Crystal Cameron Designs thrives over a decade
DESIGN, printing, and publishing company Crystal Cameron Designs has successfully navigated over a decade in the industry, witnessing significant growth. Mary White, co-founder and marketing manager for Crystal Cameron Designs, shared the business journey with the Jamaica Observer, expressing pride from inception to the present.
Initially working in the printing industry, White noticed a deficit in graphic designers, leading her to outsource at her own expense. A significant project prompted her to involve her daughter, Crystal Cameron, a graphic designer, who officially took the idea and launched the business in 2013 at the age of 20.
With an initial investment of a $3-million loan from her parents, the business accumulated over $10 million in the first three years, transitioning from operating at home to acquiring their storefront in Half-Way-Tree at Savannah Plaza.
Though the flagship of the business was digital graphic design, fate led the company to expand into printing, which was not initially part of the agenda.
“The printer came in when a friend said to us, ‘I understand you are digital but you need bread and butter that you can see, feel, and touch — get a printer,’ ” White recalled.
Despite initial reluctance, the printer became the staple of the business. In 2014 the business expanded into press printing, unintentionally printing an annual report for Development Bank of Jamaica for 2014 — a task initially planned for a contractor.
“Crissy took on the printer and said, ‘Mommy, this printer can do all kinds of things,’ ” said Mary, reminiscing on the start of what the business would transition into. “We used to give people our stuff to print for us because I didn’t want to mash up the printer,” she expressed.
Although hesitant at first to use a typical office printer to do heavy duty tasks, that printer ended up printing several more annual reports.
“We marketed ourselves and we got clients in government for annual reports, and that opened up a whole slew of government clients to us,” White told the Sunday Finance.
The business quickly registered for credibility, and it moved into more printing for corporations. The new focus of the business was printing, and most profits came from that segment. Over the last four years profits faced a downturn due to COVID-19. However, this challenge turned into an opportunity.
” PICA [Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency] employed us to do a notebook, and after we did that notebook she [Crystal] said, ‘Mom, I want to create our products,’ ” shared White.
The business ventured into designing its books and began publishing corporate planners and diaries in 2022 for 2023. But the diaries experienced a late start in 2023 as many people were searching for their yearly planners as early as September the year before. Crystal Cameron Designs received their diaries in February 2023 because the company was unaware of the right timeline for the publishing and marketing of the books.
“We had to shift our business plan. Our business plan was to sell to government and corporate companies but by the time we got them we had to push them into retail,” Mary explained.
Their corporate diaries have increased sales by 40 per cent and, as of October 2023, the corporate diaries for 2024 are already in select stores. As the business continues to expand it is looking towards stationery distribution and novelties, offering more to corporate companies by way of adding logos and names for branding their products.