Tue | Oct 24, 2017

Knock on wood

Published:Sunday | May 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Lacey-Ann Bartley, managing director of Bartley’s All in Wood, shows off a hair clip that was made from wood at the recent Expo Jamaica 2016.
Racqul Bryan of Bartley's All in Wood shows off the company's wooden bowtie.
Accessorise yourself in wood.
Accessorise yourself in wood.
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Who else would come up with an accessory line created from wood - including a range of bow ties which are practical and not just showpieces?

At 28, Manchester native Lacey-Ann Bartley, who spent most of her childhood days playing in the family's woodwork shop, is not shy about admitting to being a daddy's girl, but credits that reality as the lynchpin of her success today.

The family's woodwork shop at Hanbury Street in Mandeville, Manchester, served as Bartley's favourite playground, and the time spent in the company of Stanford 'Sugar' Bartley would become more deeply ingrained in the child's psyche, more than either of them could have known.

 

EMOTIONAL CONNECTION

 

"I guess there is an emotional reason because that's where I have most of my childhood memories - being in a shop with my daddy, and it's what comes naturally to me. We have a very close relationship - that's where my affinity for woodwork came from, because as a little girl, when I was playing with a piece of wool, I would think of it as a car, or as a doll, and as I got older, I used the skills that I gained through education and the knowledge to move that into a business," she shared with Outlook.

That education includes a first degree in management studies operation and post graduate studies in international relations from the University of the West Indies, Mona campus. But the young woman's intrigue with the family business couldn't be denied.

 

PURSUING LAW

 

"I remember I loved law and literature and I wanted to be a lawyer, and in sixth form at Manchester High, they asked what do you want to be when you grow up? So at graduation they announced 'Lacey-Ann Bartley - credit certification and she wants to be a lawyer.' I had put lawyer and a cabinetmaker and my supervisor at the time crossed off the cabinetmaker, like what is this?" she recalled with a laugh.

That fascination led to a comprehensive rebranding of the family business, which while maintaining a foothold in traditional furniture offerings, has since moved into other intricate craft items, including culinary pieces, all part of a long-term plan for structured expansion. The diverse offerings continue to enjoy good reception, as Bartley explained.

"For the gift shops, the frames and the pineapple boards do very well; for the food and beverage (industry) our bowls and plates do very well - the chefs love my platters. All they need to do is just hold one in their hands and I get an order.

"And for the local market, my Woogies, which is the hair clips, and the wooden bow ties are really big hits. We ensure that the cut of the bow ties is such that it doesn't hinder the movement and you can adjust it just like a typical bow tie."

So what exactly is a Woogie?

It's a hair clip made largely from offcuts - the waste leftover wooden pieces - created by the Manchester native and for which she has an industrial design, registered with the Jamaican Intellectual Property Office.

So how did she come up with name?

Now that's another story entirely!

"There was a friend and I called him Boogie, so you take the W from the wood and you replace the B with it and you get Woogie," she recounted with a laugh. Enough said.

To get an appreciation of all the impressive offerings from Bartley's All in Wood, check out their website at www.bartleysfurniture.com.jm or email them at bartleys.marketing@gamil.com.