This week in our Jamaicans in Business series we with speak Lacey–Ann Bartley Owner of Bartley’s All in Wood. The Jamaican company designs luxury bespoke wood pieces ,handmade personal, home accessories, jewelry, corporate & wedding gifts and potpourri. They are an eco friendly, fair trade, community based business which uses the off cuts of furniture production to make pieces and train young men from our communities in the art of carpentry. They have been in operation to for 3 years and hope to begin exporting to the Diaspora and North American Markets. Here is conversation with entrepreneur Lacey–Ann Bartley .
Q: Are you a business person or entrepreneur or both?
I would consider myself both. While Bartley’s builds on my father’s existing furniture business the level of problem solving, structure, corporate responsibility, social good & innovation I brought to the business is truly entrepreneurial. I also have plans to start other businesses.
Q: What was your profession before you started your business?
Previously I worked in the capacity of regional coordinator of communications and a youth ambassador corps. I enjoyed working with not for profit.
Q: Who or what motivated you to go into business?
I have always seen myself as a self employed person. My Dad is self employed, I think that influenced me to want te same for my self. I also noted the need for job great in my community and the even more grave need for Jamaica to produce to grow itself out of debt and poverty.
Q: Tell us about your business?
Bartley’s All in Wood is a fair trade, community based wood products business catering to the tourist, corporate, export and domestic market. Starting with designer wood products we intent to grow the business and expand into furniture manufacturing and other décor services using wood. The social aim of Bartley’s to train and empower young men and reduce carbon footprint is very important. This is facilitated through an Apprenticeship Programme and Go Green Campaign which entails using the off cuts from furniture production to make pieces and tree planting. The vision of Bartley’s is to bring quality Jamaican Wood products and furniture to the world bearing the Bartley Brand while training and empowering Jamaicans and spreading the message of environmental conservation. The mission of the Bartley’s is to design and manufacture quality Jamaican Furniture and wood products to last a lifetime and to represent Brand Jamaica with highly motivated and professional employees working to provide excellent personalized customer service.
We offer a wide range of products from:
· Corporate Gifts and Branded Promotional Items
· Exquisite Jamaican Wood Jewellery and Woogies
· Home Accents, Accessories and Food Service Items
· Custom Design Services and Consultation
· Custom Furniture ( on a small scale)
· Furniture Repair and Refinishing
Q: Many businesses have a moment they call their “big break”, whether it be a news story, a big contract etc. Have you or your business had that “”big break ” yet?
I do not think I have had my big break as yet. My vision is a 4000 sq ft factory employing no less than 100 Jamaicans. As of May 2015, the BAIW has received 4 major awards including:
· National Bakery Bold One in Manufacturing- 2014
· Expo Jamaica / JMA Most Environmentally Friendly Business -June 2014
· Jamaica Design Competition Top 6- 2014
· Jamaica Business Development Corporation Entrepreneur of the Year 2014
Q: Currently what is our biggest business challenge?
The cost of doing business in Jamaica is very high. I have numerous challenges thus it is hard to pick one that is greatest. I think I would go with 1. Market Access. Getting my products on the shelves and reaching clients in the diaspora and overseas market. As an Entrepreneur, you are wired to find solution to problems but this one has been the most challenging. Once I have found a solution to this challenge, I am confident I can make strides in the other areas as I can stand behind the quality and integrity of my pieces as being world class.
Q: Other than the money what types of satisfaction do you get out of your work?
I get satisfaction from engendering change and empowering others. Bartley’s allows me to empower others through skills training and mentoring the young men with whom I work and train.
I also get tremendous pleasure from learning about the different Jamaican woods.
Q: What motivates you on a day to day basis?
The business journey is not an easy one. There are days when I feel demotivated but what keeps me going is the people who I am obligated to an depend on me to earn a living from my staff, my family, my suppliers and other small subcontractors.
Q: How do you motivate people that aren’t close to you and enable them to see your vision?
I speak from my heart. I share my idea honestly with passion across whatever medium I can. I do not just speak from a place of emotion but I logically explain how my vision is possible.
Q: How do you remind yourself of what’s important?
My family helps to keep me grounded. I also keep notes and reminders. I always have a book and a pen at close hand.
Q. What time do you wake up and do you have a routine?
I wake up at 5 am. I start my day by updating social media and then a quick 5-10 minutes work out. I then plan out my day, eat and catch a shower, then its off to work by 7:30 am.
My day ends at around 8 pm.
Q. Do you have any hobbies?
lol… I like to swim. I do not get much of that in.
Q. If the economy crashed hard and there was no more room for you in the business sector, what would you do with yourself?
I would become farmer. Everyone needs food. My Grand Father is a farmer and I have some experience in that area. I also love nature and animals.
Q: Seven day, six night, all expense paid, my vacation destination is…
Italy or Grenada
Q: My favorite guilty pleasure is…
Chocolate Dreams ….its so yummy 🙂
Q: My favorite Jamaican food is…
Recently , I have been eating a lot of Salmon Grundy with Cream Cheese and Fried Breadfruit . I love picked saltfish, fried dumplings.
Q: Thanks for your time and all the best.
Learn more about Bartley’s All in Wood