BETTING on the bittersweet concoction of honey and aloe, hair and skincare solutions company HoneyVera is pushing to become the Caribbean's preferred brand and leading manufacturer/distributor of organic personal and body care products.
Founded eight years ago by entrepreneur and CEO Christal-Ann Thompson, the company specialises in natural products and chemical-free processes to enhance the health and well-being of customers.
"HoneyVera uses honey, aloe vera, and other Jamaican herbs and oils to create personal care products for hair and skin for the entire family. In our line of products we provide hair treatments and growth products, eczema products, moisturisers, oils, gels, natural bar soaps, facial cleansers, scrubs, toners, hemp products, butters, shampoos, conditioners, and a men's line called GROOMED," Thompson told the Jamaica Observer.
The wide range of natural products infused with turmeric, charcoal, garlic, hemp, neem, moringa, castor, and coconut oils, among others are available in over 50 pharmacies and beauty shops islandwide. The roll-out of an e-commerce and online platform also allows for products to be shipped worldwide.
"During the course of this year we also want to near double our current number of outlets by adding about three new stores in each parish," she said to Sunday Finance.
With operations based in the tourism capital of Montego Bay, the company moving closer to its decade old milestone also wants to forge greater linkages with key industries, such as hospitality and tourism, as it seeks to bolster revenues and expand customer base.
Citing adversities along the journey, including a fire last year January which damaged factory space, a number of equipment, and a portion of the company's inventory, Thompson said the loyal support of partners, customers, and her five staff members has been very instrumental in helping the company to push past the challenges and secure even more satisfying results.
"HoneyVera received a $2.7 million grant from HEART/NSTA Trust that got us equipment, and this has made a huge impact on our production capacity. We are now able to customise products and to do contract manufacturing," Thompson said.
Armed with knowledge in the field after securing qualifications in biological and cosmetic science, the CEO, who is a part of the Women Entrepreneurs Network of the Caribbean (WENC), said she is now busy working to have her products established as a household name across markets. "Our competitive advantage is that the products work and they do exactly what they were made to do. We're constantly pushing ourselves to innovate and bring you better, safer products."
Growing in popularity over the last few years, the products carried by HoneyVera, according to one satisfied customer in a feedback left on the company's website, has proven to be a worthy contender in the global personal care and beauty market.
"You have great products and I hope to see it in US stores soon," the customer wrote in a review.
Thompson, noting that plans were now in the works to unlock the next phase of future growth, said that she has been working with a number of partners to deliver on some key objectives.
"With help from the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), and the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), we plan to expand our exports to markets in the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada. Research for some new hair and skincare line is also underway and we also have a new spa that will be coming shortly, maybe by about June," she said.
"In keeping with corporate social responsibility targets, we also want to start a philanthropic programme to help partricularly high school and university students along their entrepreneurial journey," she added.
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