Lacey-Ann loves working with wood
It is a business that thrives on the scraps of its trade. Literally.
One would think wood shavings, chunks, discarded wood ends and furniture offcuts should be headed for the refuse bin, but for Lacey-Ann Bartley, 28, those are the raw materials which fuel her young business,Bartley's All in Wood.
The factory is located on Handbury Road in Manchester, not far from Jamaica's south coast - a tourist hotspot for those looking a somewhat laid-back, rustic kind of vacation, and unusual souvenir items.
Bartley, whose father is a cabinet maker, had sown her seeds of interest in the trade, but it was a perceived need for the craft work that pushed her to venture into the area. She describes it as a simple formula. "I was met with a demand for Jamaican wood art and I met the demand," she says. "Bartley's designs, manufactures and sells quality 100 per cent Jamaican handmade wooden jewellery, potpourri and home accessories."
Since it was set up in 2011, the company has expanded its product offerings and invested in increasing efficiency. It has also increased its customer base and currently has islandwide reach and also sells products in Grand Cayman and Antigua.
Today, the company is making its name with its signature corporate-branded gifts and wedding gift pieces. But Lacey-Ann says while the core business is to supply exquisite craft items, there is also a social component that drives their work. "Bartley's prides itself in a quality finish and a socially responsible and vertically integrated process," she says. "We use the offcuts of furniture and train young men in the art of carpentry, empowering them with a skill."
The company is one of 25 business to have participated in the Scotiabank Vision Achiever Programme, an intensive seven-module course designed to build business competence. Participants are engaged in intense, hands-on business building sessions and paired with mentors who help to guide the growth process.
Some, like Lacey-Ann, have seen immediate benefits and describe the programme as excellent. "The knowledge has helped me to improve my business-processes, (and) there has been an increase in sales so far from the processes implemented," she says. In fact, one session has been a standout in her mind. "'Cash Rich' was the most helpful. It helped me to understand the need to go for wallet share versus market share."
With a goal of expanding her factory space and market share in the near future, Lacey-Ann is already enthusiastic about putting her new plans together.
The Scotiabank Vision Achiever programme hosted its closing ceremony on August 31, presenting Lacey-Anne and all the other participants with certificates of completion. The top three performers were Richard Dixon of Longville Park Pharmacy, Horace Gyles of HBG Associates and Tracey Lettman Duncan of Pineapple Court Hotel, whose major achievements included: a 30 per cent increase in sales for the month of June; a 35 per cent increase in revenue for period of May-July 2016; and expansion of the business to take on a restaurant and bar, respectively.
To date, more than 130 businesses have benefited from exposure through this programme.