Roshaine Rowe Bryan’s demanding job as an auditor was virtually taking over her life, making it almost impossible to unwind and relax even when outside of the workplace.
The incomplete tasks, ongoing projects and fast-approaching deadlines constantly occupied her thoughts, interrupting sacred moments with loved ones, and causing her sleepless nights.
“I was working in a fast-paced and demanding environment and getting enough hours of sleep became an issue because I constantly thought about work instead of winding down. As a result, I found myself working at odd hours of the night, and with practise, that became a habit,” she tells JIS News.
It was seeking relief from the stress of her job of eight years that led to the launch of Mrs. Rowe Bryan’s aromatherapy business, Inner Sanctum, in March of 2020.
“Inner Sanctum started out as a need for me to find a solution for my insomnia and inability to leave work where it belongs,” she notes.
Mrs. Rowe Bryan recalls that she was introduced to scented candles and their therapeutic properties as a means of addressing her insomnia and found that they worked, so she began purchasing the items on a regular basis to create a space of calm and serenity at home.
Mrs. Rowe Bryan says she was spending so much money on candles that she decided to learn how to make her own with the help of YouTube videos.
“Then, the idea of starting a business out of my need surfaced. I thought, there had to be other people like me so why not make the candles and help others to create their own in-home spa,” she notes.
The young entrepreneur shares that she spent a year in research and development before officially launching her business.
“Our first product was scented candles, and I spent a year researching, trying to develop the type of candles that I loved and thought my potential customers would as well. I wanted to perfect the formula to make Inner Sanctum more unique than any other aromatherapy business in the industry. Once I was pleased with the brand and its overall look and feel, I launched my baby,” she tells JIS News.
The 31-year-old mother of one has literally found an ‘inner sanctum’ through her entrepreneurial venture, which has better enabled her to balance the demands of her full-time auditing job, with being a wife and homemaker.
Roughly one year into operation, Mrs. Rowe Bryan has expanded her offerings beyond candles, adding small diffusers, body oils, massage soap bars, and personalised gift boxes that feature products from young business owners, with whom she actively collaborates.
To expand her network and showcase her products even further, she participated in the Christmas in July trade show this year.
“Though the event took place in the virtual space, I was really excited about the exposure. I was on Instagram live where I noticed over 100 audience members tuning in, and I was being streamed on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media outlets as well. I am looking forward to having my brand featured in the Christmas in July catalogue as well,” she tells JIS News.
“Inner Sanctum is supposed to provide a feeling of an at-home spa and you can’t achieve that with just candles and diffusers, so I’m looking forward to more collaboration facilitated through the workings of the Christmas in July trade show,” she adds.
As part of the process of being an exhibitor in the trade show, Mrs. Rowe Bryan tells JIS News that a brand assessment was done where a panel of judges reviewed the product to determine whether it was fit and proper to move into the actual showcase.
“That process was beneficial to me in that the judges gave some useful tips on how I could improve my brand’s image by tweaking the product labels. It seems so simple, but the slightest adjustment makes a world of a difference, and I am grateful for that,” she says.
As it relates to her goals for the business, Mrs. Rowe Bryan tells JIS News that she plans to expand Inner Sanctum regionally and internationally.
“I’m looking to start a business-to-business (B2B) operation where I am able to supply entrepreneurs with whatever they would need to functional optimally,” she says further.
Christmas in July, which is in its fourth year, is executed by the Tourism Linkages Network of the Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Manufacturers & Exporters Association (JMEA), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), and Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA).
The trade show encourages Jamaicans to support the local economy by making purchases from local entrepreneurs and artisans. It also facilitates a space for small and medium-sized enterprises to showcase their products and network with business operators as well as prospective buyers.
This year, the show featured 146 producers of locally made items in the categories of aromatherapy, fine art, processed foods, fashion and accessories, and souvenirs, such as desktop solutions.