Bouncing back even higher
His dream has always been to have his own business and at the age of 16 he promised himself he would.
But Stanley Gill, now 52, had no idea he would be forced out of the market after 25 years or so.
Be that as it may, the enthusiastic entrepreneur has started another business venture and is already eyeing the possibilities for expansion.
After leaving St Leonards’ Boys School at the age of 16, Gill worked as a mechanic before he went on to repair scales.
At the age of 25, Gill started a woodwork shop making furniture for individuals and companies across the island.
His forte was office furniture, but never did he think the industry would be as devastated as it was ten or so years ago and he would have to start all over again.
Three years ago he made the decision and started Mind Body My Health – producing organic soaps, wine, candles, body sprays and various oils for different ailments.
“I also do healing oils; oils for pain, digestion and anxiety. I got started because I had a love for making the soaps and candles. I then got introduced to wine-making. It was difficult getting started in terms of getting the products; sourcing the raw materials,” he said.
Business has been going great for this father of four, who gets help from one of his daughters. His other three children live abroad.
Selling from his Bridge Gap, St Michael home, Gill said his daughter would sometimes take products to fairs and farmers’ markets to generate further sales.
By making attractive labels to put on the products, Gill is able to entice potential customers. One of the reasons he said some young entrepreneurs were not more successful in their business ventures was because they lacked confidence and the will to take a chance.
But that is not so for Gill – he was already considering mass production of his items to supply stores and supermarkets.
As he showed the dusty old workshop he still sometimes works from, Gill said, “My struggle right now is doing the two businesses together, the furniture and making the other products.”
He told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY the furniture industry was once vibrant and “pretty feasible”, but that was not the case anymore. He has gradually reduced that business and said he was about to make organic products full-time instead.
“I started reducing and reducing it because I am going into health care. The furniture-making and refurbishing was taking away from that because of demand; it is hard work,” he said.
“What killed the manufacturing industry is when office furniture started to come from overseas. That is what I was into; office furniture. But the importation really killed that market. That is one of my reasons for scaling down now.
“I used to make office furniture a lot. They started to bring in the furniture at a cheap price, then the suppliers started buying their furniture instead. So I had to scale down,” said Gill, lookingat the old furniture in workspace.
“I am developing other dreams as I go on. Life is a journey and as you go on, you just go and leave some things behind,” he said.
Gill also hopes to open a mini-mart and deli.