On the right track
When she started her business in Barbados over 12 years ago, she had no idea her products would later be sold in parts of Britain and Canada.
Amy LaMay is the chief executive officer of Earth Mother Botanicals Limited – a company that manufactures and sells organic and naturally produced skin-care products, including soaps, lotions, and insect repellents.
LeMay told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that since she opened operations in 1999 at her previous location in Edge Hill, St Thomas, there has been a growing popularity of her products.
In 2006 she relocated to Four Roads, St John, where the manufacturing is currently done. She also has two retail outlets: one at the Sheraton Mall, the other at Grantley Adams International Airport.
And she supplies a number of hotels and spas with her products.
Earth Mother Botanicals Limited currently provides direct employment for nine people.
LeMay attributed most of the growth in business over the years to good promotion of her brand. She said it was very important for any small business operator to “get their name out”, as that would not only help to boost sales but also help the longevity of the business.
“It is important to get the name out because branding is how people know who you are . . . your brand says a lot about your company. People will either see a brand and go ‘no’ because they heard really bad things, or they will gravitate to it because they heard a lot of good things.
“And so far we have had very, very few complaints but a lot of good testimonials. So we are on the right track,” she said.
LeMay said since her products were featured on a Canadian television programme earlier this year, they had received a number of hits and that also helped in the growing popularity of her business.
“We now have a distributor in Wales, Scotland, and in Toronto,” she said.
The herbalist said she was “pleased” with the growing level of interest being expressed by younger people. She said she was particularly pleased with the interest shown by students during the recently held Agrofest agricultural exhibition.
“We are still finding people saying, ‘I didn’t know that this was happening in Barbados’, but not as many as even two years ago,” she said, saying that more people were inclined to use naturally produced and organic products.
LeMay agreed that while the recession had reduced a number of people’s ability to visit the spa, an increasing number of them were spending money on products to enjoy a spa treatment at home.
The recession had not affected business significantly, said LeMay. She said she has maintained “level” sales over the years.
She said two of the main challenges for her were “getting working capital . . . . and the banks in Barbados are not so friendly with e-commerce”.
The enthusiastic businesswoman said she was still trying to fully understand the Economic Partnership Agreement so that she could take make use of it.