With the Government’s thrust towards economic growth, entrepreneurs should consider exploring the multimillion-dollar personal-care industry.
Research done by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) shows that from 2015 to 2016 more than 14 million bar soaps and more than three million hand and organic soaps were imported into Jamaica at a cost of approximately US$22 million.
Acting Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communication at the SRC, Carolyn Rose Miller, tells JIS News that “Jamaicans need to start producing our own, and save foreign exchange”.
She is also encouraging persons to look at the opportunities that exist along the value chain.
“In addition to retailing the personal-care products, persons may consider getting into the business of being a provider of the raw material base, such as oil extraction or farming the herbs to be used in the production,” she says.
With the rise in health awareness, as well as concern for the environment, Mrs. Rose Miller points out that there is a demand for organic products such as natural haircare products, organic shampoos and conditioners, body lotions and scrubs, hand sanitisers and organic feminine-care products.
Creating essential oils such as rosemary, ginger or citrus, which can be extracted and infused into body scrubs and other personal-care products is another part of the industry that entrepreneurs could explore.
Mrs. Rose Miller also points to herbal extracts, including extra-virgin coconut oil and the Jamaican castor oil, which are very popular products on the international market.
Hydrosols, which are made from distilling fresh leaves, can also be used in body spritzers and toothpaste, which she identifies as another opportunity.
The SRC can assist with this, as part of their mandate is to promote business development through their provisional scientific solutions, in an effort to stimulate entrepreneurship.
The Acting Manager outlines that for an entrepreneur considering making soaps, he or she can start with as little as $50,000 to $250,000 for the initial 100 units, with costs such as packaging, equipment, raw materials, labelling, marketing and distribution included.
“The cost of entry to the market is not very high, as you can begin with small quantities until you are able to get to a larger platform,” she says.
Mrs. Rose Miller shares the results of a study that was done in 20 countries internationally, undertaken by Datamonitor, which showed that 68 per cent of the consumers of personal-care products think it is important to look their best daily.
She highlights that this figure includes men. “We are seeing dominantly female personal-care products on the market, but there is an opportunity to introduce personal-care products positioned specifically for men,” she added.
It was also found that 39 per cent of consumers are concerned about product results based on promises or claims.
“We at the SRC are here to guide you through that process, validating the claims through research, with the team of competent persons with experience in product development, while taking into consideration the required standards by the market and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica,” she says.
“We help everyone, whether you are a university graduate or a high school graduate; we are here to help, as the training material that the SRC uses is easy to understand and is delivered by a team of experts,” Mrs. Rose Miller tells JIS News.
Presently the SRC undertakes group training in soap, body wash and shampoo making.
Mrs. Rose Miller says that for every 10 persons trained, the SRC hopes that at least one person will take their product to market, which will allow that entrepreneur to employ persons and eventually stimulate economic growth.
“We also do product testing, using our accredited lab, operating at international quality standards,” she adds.
In addition, she explains that the SRC creates linkages, connecting entrepreneurs with the producers of raw materials.
They also assist with packaging of the products; connecting the entrepreneur to financial institutions to assist with funding or grant funding, as well as connecting them with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) to assist with the support to take the product to market.
The SRC also provides market information through market research that they conduct, while working with JAMPRO to guide the entrepreneur towards the export market.