Street peanut vendor plans to expand market reach
With the widespread attention that she got from a story that was published in THE STAR as well as on social media, peanut vendor Melissa Blake was given the opportunity to be a contestant in this season's business reality TV show, 'The Innovators'.
Despite selling her home-made snacks on the streets since she was a child, it was when she started to dress in formal attire that she became more noticeable, catching the eyes of the producers of the show, who invited her to audition for a place in this season's contest.
After a successful audition, Blake believes that she could go all the way to victory in the reality business competition.
"I am hoping to win, which I think I can win," she told THE STAR.
The show offers more than $1 million in cash and prizes.
"After being on 'The Innovators', I want to have a store where I have all my products labelled and sealed, as well as have them distributed to supermarkets, shops, and bars in Jamaica and, eventually, worldwide," she said.
And she has even started the process of branding her products and expanding her reach.
"I have started going to shops in my area and have my products labelled and sealed, so I think I am on my way," she explained.
Although she is seeking to formalise her business, Blake says she is still selling on the streets and intends to always have a presence there.
"Everything you doing takes money to push it and it takes time, so for me not to be in the streets is not an option because I need the money and I don't really want to forget about the streets. But probably in the future, you will see persons in my branded shirts, and from you see them then you will know that it is my product," she said.
"Even if I get a store, I still want to be on the streets because sometimes people want the product, but they don't have the time to come to you, so if you can make your time available for them then they will appreciate it," she added.