No ordinary Concrete
Twenty-six-year-old Yannick Sharpe has taken the ordinary and made it extraordinary. Sharpe is managing director of Amazing Concrete Finishes. His company transforms hard, cold concrete into beautiful works of art by staining, stamping and polishing.
Growing up, Sharpe had interest in a more fluid path - he wanted to be a marine pilot. "I became attracted to being a marine pilot when I began researching careers in Jamaica and realised it was one of the most well-paid careers," he told Outlook. "I wanted to be a marine pilot as that's what I went to school and studied, but I fell in love with the decorative concrete industry."
The Ardenne High School past student studied at the Caribbean Maritime Institute to become an officer in charge of navigational watch. His voyages were mostly in the Indian Ocean where he would sail from Saudi Arabia for propane and take it back to India. His voyages have also taken him to Dubai and China.
But, after doing his "time at sea", Sharpe returned to Jamaica. He said, simply: "I didn't enjoy the sea life."
Construction and Concrete
Sharpe began working in his family's construction company, and went back to school for an associate degree in construction management. However, after a few years, he became bored with just being a supervisor on a construction site. "I always wanted to make an impact with my work," he said. So, Sharpe started doing research, and came up with a niche market in the construction industry. A very big trend internationally, he found that there were a few persons doing decorative concrete in Jamaica, but not a company. So, he took the initiative and entered the market, starting his company in 2011.
"Decorative concrete is a fairly new trend - most people don't know about the many uses of concrete in Jamaica. Internationally, it's a big trend - they have a big convention every year in Las Vegas called The World of Concrete, where they display all the newest trends in the decorative concrete industry."
Concrete has become the new flooring material of choice for designers and homeowners across the world. Concrete floors are popping up in retail stores, trendy restaurants, offices, and homes. Whether it's acid-stained, painted, overlays, microtoppings, radiant floors, or a unique personal floor, concrete floors offer a range unlike any other material.
Sometimes referred to as cement flooring, it no longer has to be grey and boring. Now colouring concrete or applying textures, patterns, saw cuts, etc, can bring new life to this traditional substrate. One of the major benefits of concrete floors is the affordability compared to other flooring options. Installing a decorative concrete floor can be quite cost-effective, particularly if you already have a concrete slab that's ready for staining, polishing or application of a coating or overlay.
Decorative concrete can also bring your outdoor area to life. "It's an economical alternative to pavers and natural stone, especially for applications such as patios, driveways, walkways, and pool decks. It also requires less maintenance than those materials because it has no joints where weed growth can occur. Adding to the value of stamped concrete is the material's longevity. When properly installed and maintained, stamped concrete will last for decades. From an aesthetic standpoint, stamped concrete is hard to beat when it comes to pattern and colour options, which are virtually unlimited. A basic concrete floor will carry a comparable price tag to linoleum, vinyl, ceramic tile, or carpet," said Sharpe. "When properly sealed, concrete floors can be cleaned with the quick pass of a dust mop. For an occasional deep clean, a neutral cleaner and water can be used. The frequency of maintenance is dependent on the amount of traffic the floor receives," he explained.
It's easy to understand how much Shape loves what he does. "I love my job. I love to see the look on a client's face when we transform their space into something they could not imagine," he said.
"I consider my team as artists because they transform a blank space into something amazing, giving our name - Amazing Concrete Finishes. Concrete is normally plain, boring, grey. What gets me excited is transforming it into a masterpiece."
As a young entrepreneur, Sharpe sees his business in the next five years being the premier decorative concrete company with offices across the island. And to do that he has received some know-how from being involved the Scotiabank Vision Achievers programme. He told Outlook: "I have learnt so many things from my experience in the Scotia Vision Achievers programme. But one that resonates with me the most is that I can't be the head cook and bottle washer. I can't try to do everything myself and I'm working on that in my business currently."
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