Young woman taps into the natural hair product market
Women tend to be defined by their hair. It is a reflection of their identity and even their personality, and while the various textures of natural hair present unique challenges as it is styled, Christal-Ann Thompson-Richards thinks processing should not be an option.
An entrepreneurial genius, a problem-solver and an inspiring haircare provider, Thompson-Richards is the owner of Honey Vera, a company which makes hair and skincare products with natural ingredients such as honey, castor oil, aloe vera and coconut oil.
According to Public Relations Officer Diva Riley, Thompson-Richards' initial drive to start this company was out of a need to address a real-world problem of how to remedy damaged hair.
"The name Honey Vera came about as a result of the ingredients used, i.e., honey and aloe vera. With recipes handed down from her grandparents, she developed her own formulations to satisfy the ever-present market need, and thus, Honey Vera was born," Riley told Rural Express.
Thompson-Richards said: "I was also motivated by a strong desire to help my family and a determination to finish my university studies. I used the typical start-up capital sources of personal savings as well as contributions from friends and family, along with selected investors to launch the company."
Currently located in Darliston, Westmoreland, Honey Vera has two core products - Honey Vera scalp tonic and Honey Vera castor-coconut oil - which are marketed both locally and internationally.
With plans to expand, Thompson-Richards is hoping that in the coming years, she will be able to secure her position on the global market and help fellow entrepreneurs reach their full potential.
"My goals for the business include increasing worldwide sales, making a difference in the country, and growing jobs in my community. I think it is important to do what you love, research the business idea thoroughly, speak to entrepreneurs in the industry you are interested in, listen and note mistakes they made and avoid making those mistakes. These fundamental elements are key to your success," she said.
Having received assistance from agencies such as the Jamaica Business Development Corporation and Youth Entrepreneur Association of Jamaica to launch her business within two months of developing the idea, Thompson-Richards is pushing to ensure it has longevity.
"Entrepreneurs should become very familiar with subjects like company-formation options, Jamaica's tax laws, intellectual property rights and protection, as well as regulations governing the safety of products as they apply to their particular market segment," she said.
She had advice for entrepreneurs starting out on protecting their ideas.
"A poor man's patent can be used. That involves documenting your idea and mailing it to yourself via the post office and leaving it sealed for judicial purposes," she noted.
Thompson-Richards said young entrepreneurs should use disclaimers, have confidential agreements and non-disclosure agreements signed, and make use of the copyright sign.