Sun | Aug 19, 2018

A love story of 'Devine Treasures'

Published:Friday | June 16, 2017 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
Local entrepreneur and co-owner of Devine Treasures, Cheryl Thomas-Whytehead (left), displays locally made craft items at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, 14 Camp Road, Kingston, earlier this year.

It's a love story, but not the ones you read in books. It's a story of a married couple and the love behind their unique custom leather accessories - Devine Treasures. It all started in Duncans, Trelawny, more than 14 years ago.

Co-owner of Devine Treasures Cheryl Thomas-Whytehead said the business was just a regular home-based craft operation at first. Soon after, the opportunity to sell items at the Wyndham Hotel presented itself. At the time, leather products provided the only sales opportunity in the hotel industry.

"I had to learn how to make products to sell there and leather was the only thing that was available at the time, so I started learning how to make sandals," Thomas-Whytehead said.

The pair soon started making bags, jewellery and other accessories for the Devine Treasures brand.


Tremendous growth


Fast-forward to 2017. Thomas-Whytehead said the business has been improving, especially with the level of exposure they have received from the National Baking Company and being an exhibitor at various events across Jamaica, especially during Christmas.

"People got to know our products more, so it has been growing tremendously. People call and order, people come to the workshop, so it's a blessing," she said.

Recently, Devine Treasures was selected by the National Baking Company to be an exhibitor at the Jamaica International Exhibition (JIE) 2017 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. National created an open marketplace for them and seven other entrepreneurs by providing them with outfitted spaces to exhibit.

Thomas-Whytehead said that two years ago, she was an exhibitor at the Montego Bay Convention Centre at an event put on by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industries. She said that's how she got introduced into the "National family" by Tiffany Wong, special projects manager at the company.

Later that year, Devine Treasures was one of the 52 entities selected for the inaugural staging of A Jamaican-Made Christmas. After a successful first time, they were invited yet again in 2016 to be an exhibitor. Their exhibition landed them an interview on Business Access TV.

With their products now available at Native Creation inside the Sangster's International Airport, Kerry-Kay's in Kingston, and the shipping pier in Falmouth, she said she sees Devine Treasures growing exponentially.

"That's where I want to take it. It's very hard, because it's only my husband and I that are behind it, but we are doing it in stages. I know that Devine Treasures is going to make it to the international market," she said confidently.