Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Sleek Enterprises Has Style

Published:Tuesday | January 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Millard Dunbar (left) explains his line of cosmetic products to Gillian Hyde (right), general manager, JNSBL, and other members of the touring party.
Millard Dunbar (left), managing director, Sleek Enterprises, speaks with Parris Lyew-Ayee, (right) chairman, JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL), about his Chantique gel. Listening is GillianHyde, general manager, JNSBL.
Millard Dunbar (right), managing director, Sleek Enterprises, greets Parris Lyew-Ayee, chairman, JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL), during a tour of his factory at Twickenham Park, St Catherine, in December. Looking on are Gillian Hyde, general manager, JNSBL, and Paul Hamilton, a partner in Sleek Enterprises.

In 2014, Millard Dunbar received an offer which he did not refuse and which, subsequently, led to transforming his approach to doing business and managing his life.

Dunbar and his partners were involved in a failing computer supply business; however, when their friends offered to sell them what was deemed to be a growing cosmetics manufacturing business, Sleek Enterprises, they bought it.

But, after accepting the offer to enter into this exciting new field, their enthusiasm was severely tempered when they examined the operational conditions at the cosmetics company, which was located on Washington Boulevard in Kingston 20.

Sleek Enterprises was neither "shiny nor glossy". In fact, the manufacturing and distributing company was in total disarray.

"There was a wide cross section of manufactured products, which were sitting on shelves in the warehouse without buyers," Dunbar pointed out. "Therefore, we had to cut our losses by selling products at half-price or for almost nothing."

Dennis Robotham, the then president of the St Catherine Chamber of Commerce, was one of the partners from the failed computer business who came on board with Dunbar, as a director of Sleek. Robotham declared that the previous owners had obviously spread themselves too thin.

"They clearly tried to accomplish too much, too quickly," Robotham explained. "They were producing products such as shampoo, conditioner and body wash without exploring the level of demand for these items in the market; therefore, we had to rationalise the production line."


Location problem


The partners also discovered that there was a major problem in regard to the location of the manufacturing company.

"The previous owners were spending more than $130,000 a month for rent," Managing Director Dunbar revealed. "Therefore, we made the decision to move the operation to St Catherine because we had access to a building there, which would cost us a lot less."

Another major concern was that they could not acquire funds from commercial banks to purchase new equipment.

"We needed additional mixers to refine the production process, but could not access funding," Dunbar pointed out. "And we were on the verge of being frustrated when someone recommended JN Small Business Loans."

When the new owners of Sleek Enterprises approached the loan company, they discovered that the application process was not challenging; hence, they quickly received the loan requested.

With the funding from JNSBL, the management team planned their way forward. Consequently, the company currently employs five persons and they project to double that number in 2017. In addition, the production line at the small factory, which includes shampoo, acetone, nail polish remover, shampoo and body wash, will be expanded.

"With the JNSBL loan funds, we acquired critical equipment and raw materials," Dunbar explained. "We were also able to acquire a van, and when this was not efficient enough to meet our delivery needs, we bought a truck.

"Fortunately, the key to our expansion was the identification of one product with a winning potential: the Chantique Styling Gel," Dunbar pointed out.

Gillian Hyde, general manager for JN Small Business Loans, commended Dunbar and his team for the successful strategies they implemented, which were instrumental in turning around the operational fortunes of Sleek Enterprises.

"We were happy to provide financial support at a critical time for the company," Hyde said. "And, we are looking forward to the day when the Chantique line emerges as a cosmetic brand across the country, regionally and internationally."

The lead product, Chantique, is now a popular cosmetic item in Montego Bay, downtown Kingston and May Pen, Dunbar declared. "Our market acceptance is growing, and we have also identified opportunities to market our products overseas."

Robotham said, "At this point ... the sky is the limit, because we are confident that we have identified the key strategies to do well; and we value the support of JN Small Business Loans."