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It’s not a pallet – it’s a toy chest

Shawn Cumberbatch

It’s not a pallet – it’s a toy chest

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About a month ago they were strangers participating in an entrepreneurship challenge. Today they are business partners not just dreaming about success but working to make it reality.
Palette Creations, a new eco-friendly company that makes furniture and other products from recycled pallets, originated at the recent National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) Entrepreneurship Challenge, which also involved the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES), Future Centre Trust and Cave Hill School of Business.
Palette Creation’s managing innovative officer Faith Greaves, marketing manager Zuwena Perry, Sherry-Ann Virginie, sales manager Cheryl Headley-Griffith, and three others no longer involved, did not know each other until their participation in the recycling business lab section of the competition.
Speaking to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY during the recent Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Perry explained how it all started.
“The goal was to create a company within five days and the theme had to be centred around something that was environmentally conscious. So we sat together – there were originally seven of us, and we came up with the idea of using pallets during a brainstorming session and the idea took off,” she said.
“At the end of the five days you were to do a sales day where you go and you make the product and you sell the product and we were stationed at Sky Mall and while we were there someone saw our product and they wanted to invest and that’s how we ended up at BMEX and we said ‘this idea is too good for us not to continue with it’.
“So those who wanted to continue, it’s actually four of us, we all said we were going to do it so we registered the company and we are now moving forward with the idea.”
Emphasising that the company’s primary focus was “helping the earth”, Perry said they would “take pallets that persons are discarding from companies all over Barbados” and transform them into a variety of products, including cocktail tables, coffee tables, beds, planters, chandeliers, wine racks, and toy chests,
“We wanted something that was unusual.  A lot of persons in Barbados when they think about being environmentally conscious they think about recycling bottles, but we wanted to create something that had value; cash from trash. So we are taking something that people discard and making something unique so you can’t call it pallets anymore because they are made for so much more,” the marketing manager said.
“We are only three weeks old. This wasn’t something that we decided was a lifelong dream. It has now become a dream for us and now we want to take it further, so in the future we are looking to have a showroom set up where persons can come and visit and see what we have. People are flabbergasted that you can do so much with pallets.
“We see this company going globally. Our mission really is to become one of the leading eco-friendly companies within the world when it comes to recycling and furniture. A lot of persons will say that is a overreaching but to be honest if you don’t reach big you can’t get anywhere at all . So we are looking to expand to the show room and from the showroom we want to see if we can branch out to other Caribbean islands and then from there move as far as we can.”
Perry said she and her partners were grateful for the opportunity provided by NISE, YES, the Future Centre Trust and others involved. She also singled out their “mentor” Meridian Caribbean Inc. Windows general manager Ziad Kazan as someone who offer good advice, including how to price the products and market them.