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Bouncing back even higher

Marlon Madden

Bouncing back even higher

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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.