Interviews

We know “farrin” isn’t a bed of roses – Discussion With Jamaican Business Owner Rory-Craig Walker

Written by Xavier Murphy

Rory-Craig Walker, is the current CEO/Founder of Jamaican Care Packages Limited.  ‘Born and grow’ in Red Hills, St Andrew, he went to Mona Preparatory, Campion College then University of the West Indies (UWI). Rory-Craig Walker has been building online products for the past 8 years.  He always loved the internet and the opportunities that it provided.

His company Jamaican Care Packages delivers care packages to Jamaicans abroad who miss the sweet taste of Jamaica. This includes banana chips, spice bun, cheese trix, Tigaz ,rum cake and many other snacks and goodies that are hard to get abroad.

A Jamaican Care Package.

Q: Are you a business person or entrepreneur or both?

I mostly definitely consider myself an entrepreneur, not just because of Jamaican Care Packages but for the past 8 years, I’ll be trying different online projects/startups/business. None of them ever really worked or had any traction, but I kept persisting and never gave up.

Q: What was your profession before you started your Jamaican Care Packages?

My profession before running Jamaican Care Packages was a Web Developer/ Project Manager, which helped me to make the transition. As I was able to get the website up and running very quickly.

Q: Who or what motivated you to go into business?

Nothing specifically, I’ve always been keen on having my own business even from a young age. I did the customary young entrepreneur thing of selling of sweets in prep school, then importing video games and consoles for my friends in high school, then trying to launch online applications at UWI and early work life.

I just wanted the independence of making my own money online. My goal in my final year at UWI was to make enough money from online projects so that I wouldn’t need to get a job. Ironically those same online projects helped me to secure my first full-time job as a “Web Marketing Administrator” back in 2010.

Q: Tell us about Jamaican Care Packages?

Jamaican Care Packages is a platform allowing all members of the Jamaican diaspora to quickly and easily get the Jamaican snacks and goodies that they want and miss delivered right to them. No more asking friends and family to fill up a suitcase of banana chips when they are travelling. Order online and have it delivered straight to your door.

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 don’t think I’ve had my big break yet with Jamaican Care Packages, however, I have had moderate successes. I was able to leave my job and go full time, hire my parents on a part-time basis and also appear on Television Jamaica’s ‘The Innovators’ TV show (See my episode preview).

We have recently moved into our own office and hired our first full-time staff. (Something I’m very proud of).

This was from consistently working and improving our product, listening to our customers and most importantly learning from our mistakes.

Q: Other than the money what types of satisfaction do you get out of your work?

The biggest satisfaction I currently get is when our customers get their Jamaican care package and let us know how much they enjoy the snacks that they haven’t had in years or even decades.

I remember one specific customer, she wanted to give her children the same Jamaican snacks that she ate as a little girl growing up in Jamaica. That really connected with me, as when I started Jamaican Care Packages I never thought my simple business could bring so much joy to someone’s  life.

Q: What motivates you on a day to day basis?

Reaching more and more of the Jamaican diaspora, we know “farrin” isn’t a bed of roses. So if we can provide a taste of Jamaica in a box that will help them in their daily life we feel like we’ve done our part.

Q: How do you remind yourself of what’s important?

By every day, reminding myself of the goal of Jamaican Care Packages, “which is to make the Jamaican diaspora feel at home again”. When I do this, any challenges or setbacks that arise can’t and won’t stop me.

Q. What time do you wake up and do you have a routine?

  • Wake at 6 am, reach office by 7:30 am.
  • Handle all email and other customer support queries.
  • Start my task list for the day, I’m currently using the Pomodoro Technique.
  • Double check all care packages going out for the day.
  • Grab a medium red peas soup for lunch.
  • Ensure all care packages are packed, wrapped and shipped on time.
  • Created task list for tomorrow.
  • Head to the gym

Q. Do you have any hobbies?

  • Listening to podcasts (Business, Football, Movie, Music related)
  • Watching every Arsenal Football Club match
  • Use to be long-distance running, now working out in the gym.
  • Going to the cinema (Carib 5) with family and friends.

Q. If the economy crashed hard and there was no more room for you in the business sector, what would you do with yourself?

Get back into programming.

Q: Seven day, six night, all expense paid, my vacation destination is…

Rome, Italy

Q: My favorite guilty pleasure is…

Watching Arsenal play and eating Domino’s pizza (Pepperoni and Pineapple)

Q: My favorite Jamaican food is…

Fry dumpling, red herring with Milo

Find out more about Jamaican Care Packages by visiting the Jamaican Care Packages’ website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

About the author

Xavier Murphy