Some of the Blackbelly leather shoes on display at BMEX. (FP)
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BARBADOS’ BLACKBELLY SHEEP SECTOR is set to get a major boost from one of the country’s largest companies.
C.O. Williams Farms is diversifying its range of products and offering leather goods which it recently launched at the Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
While seeking to provide Barbadians with another option to purchase stylish, comfortable shoes, belts and bags, the company will be supporting small farmers with this new venture.
C.O. Williams Construction’s payroll officer Sharon Carew-White said that before getting into manufacturing the items, they were discarding the skins from their sheep.
She said manager of beef in their Farms Division, Nicole Greenidge, suggested they move to make leather goods instead, so they started to explore some options.
“We salted the skins from the Blackbelly sheep which is a curing process. That takes about 12 weeks. We don’t have a tannery in Barbados, so we did some research and at first we sent them to Canada, but now we send them to Italy,” Carew-White said.
“We also sent Nicole to Italy to look at styles and what we got is a range of what persons would like, various styles such as wedges, sandals, pumps for women, oxfords and other styles for men, belts and bags.”
Women and men who were interested were able to order any of the various items from among the prototypes displayed in the booth at BMEX. Patrons were also able to see the leather in various stages before and after it was tanned and used in producing the items.
“What we will be doing is purchasing the skins and generate more revenue for the small farmers. We will . . . purchase the skins from the farmers now and they can rear more sheep so that we can have more products,” Carew-White added. (GBM)
(From this week’s BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.)