In pursuit of Joalene
When 22-year-old Caryl Dennett and her best friend, 21-year-old Jynelle Cunningham, left their jobs in the business process outsourcing industry a year ago, they vowed never to look back.
Today, they are fully dedicated to their entrepreneurial venture with their product - Joalene Coco-shea Creme - a hair and scalp strengthening pomade made of some of mother nature's finest oils, nut butters, and vitamins.
But for Dennett, creating the product was a bit of "necessity being the mother of invention". She told Flair, "I always bleached my hair. At first, I cut it short, and I wanted it to grow back. Every time it grew, it would break because of the bleach, so I started researching natural ingredients that stop breakage and enhance hair growth and remedy scalp conditions.
"Once I came upon those specific ingredients, I mixed them together and I started using it on her (Cunningham's) hair as well, because I used to do twist-outs for her - and it was perfect," Dennett explained.
Weeks later, they were getting rave reviews from coworkers, family members, friends and other persons who had heard about and sampled the product and were asking them to fill orders for it. Cunningham suggested to Dennett that they plunge in head first and undertake the manufacturing and marketing of the product as a full-time business. There was no hesitation as both had wanted to be at the helm of their own businesses since high school.
"We didn't think of it as a business at first," Cunningham explained. "We were always searching for something. A lot of business ideas came to our minds. So at that time, I said why don't we start as a business to help other people because there is no product like it on the market now," Cunningham added. "Honestly, we didn't like our (call centre) jobs and wanted to accomplish something else."
The brand Joalene is a combination of the best friends' middle names - Joanna and Nalene. Among the ingredients in the Coco-shea Creme are virgin Jamaican coconut oil, shea butter, which is imported from Africa, avocado oil, and Jamaican castor oil. The products are manually prepared by Cunningham and Dennett and then bottled. Together both are able to produce as many as 40 bottles per hour.
So far, Joalene Coco-shea Creme is available at the Overton Pharmacy in Montego Bay and can also be bought online via the duo's website. It is also promoted via street marketing, community posters, and social media such as Instagram and Facebook.
Dennett hails from St Simon in Hanover, and is a past student of Esher Primary and Mt Alvernia High, as well as the Montego Bay Community College, where she studied business management. Cunningham is a Montegonian and an old girl of the Corinaldi Primary and Mt Alvernia High schools.
The two are looking to the future of Joalene Coco-shea Creme with the hopes of it becoming a global product within the next five years, and expanding into a line of skincare and wellness products used in spas and salons.
Cunningham stated confidently: "We go out each day with a positive mind, knowing that such an attitude attracts positive vibrations and good things."