Feature
Sales and Promotions Manager for Manufacturing, Energy and Mining at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Berletta Henlon-Forrester.
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is seeking to boost the local cosmetics industry, by capitalising on potential investment opportunities and leading trade missions to existing and potential overseas markets.
  • Sales and Promotions Manager for Manufacturing, Energy and Mining at JAMPRO, Berletta Henlon- Forrester tells JIS News that studies undertaken by the Agency, show that the cosmetics industry is a lucrative one.
  • “We have data that show that the castor oil market for example, is set to reach in the region of US$2.3 billion by 2024. One of the interesting finding is that the consumers are willing to pay up to 20 per cent more for Jamaican black castor oil than they pay for just regular castor oil,” she notes.

The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is seeking to boost the local cosmetics industry, by capitalising on potential investment opportunities and leading trade missions to existing and potential overseas markets.

Sales and Promotions Manager for Manufacturing, Energy and Mining at JAMPRO, Berletta Henlon- Forrester tells JIS News that studies undertaken by the Agency, show that the cosmetics industry is a lucrative one.

“We have data that show that the castor oil market for example, is set to reach in the region of US$2.3 billion by 2024. One of the interesting finding is that the consumers are willing to pay up to 20 per cent more for Jamaican black castor oil than they pay for just regular castor oil,” she notes.

She states that a major advantage of local cosmetic products is that they are made from natural, home-grown ingredients such as turmeric, charcoal, aloe Vera, castor oil, honey, coffee, lemon grass, garlic, rosemary and moringa.

The Manager notes that the ingredients are used to make shampoos; conditioners; moisturizers; hair and body oils; hair gels; hair treatment; face scrubs, cleansers, mask and wash; and a wide range of soaps.

“These products have found a place among consumers who are looking for products that are more natural and with less harsh chemicals in them, so we have found a very exciting niche because of the movement of markets in general towards natural products,” Mrs. Henlon-Forrester states.

She adds that the local industry is positioned to benefit from excellent export and investment opportunities, with deep implications for the entire supply chain and job creation.

“So from the individual who grows castor beans or lemon grass, to the individual who [does beekeeping] and makes honey, the individual who grows rosemary, aloe vera…all of these growers can find markets locally among the manufacturers, who are producing at the highest quality, extremely motivated and engaged in what they are doing and highly involved in research and development, so new products are coming up all the time,” she outlines.

Highlighting the performance of the sector, Mrs. Henlon-Forrester informs that JAMPRO has led groups of local cosmetic manufacturers to beauty shows and tradeshows in the United States of America, for networking and to showcase their products and services.
“JAMPRO has led missions to the Bronner Brothers International.

Beauty Show in Atlanta in 2017 and 2018, and following on that, we met with a number of retail outlets resulting in us now having some 50 Jamaican cosmetic products in retail stores in Atlanta that were not there prior to 2017. So that has been a huge success and those stores continue to order on a consistent basis,” she says.

From March 30 to April 1, JAMPRO will lead a team to the annual beauty show which will be held in New Orleans, this year.

Over the three days, the local manufacturers will meet with buyers and visitors, and conduct product demonstrations, sampling and sales.

“So it involves networking and getting deals with distributors as we are looking for sustainable business and so, the fact that they are allowed to sell their products to a salon owner and meet with distributors and retailers who can place orders on an ongoing basis is all part of JAMPRO’s mandate of increasing export in a sustainable way,” Mrs. Henlon- Forrester points out.

In terms of projections for the show, she informs that a target has been set for 45 export leads to be generated and 25 buyer meetings to be held.

“One of the activities that we engage in when we go on these shows is to take a day to go and visit the trade (floor), meet with retailers and walk through some of the retail outlets to see what the products look like,” Mrs. Henlon- Forrester says.

“We do the comparison with other similar products, look at price points, packaging, product quality, product ingredients and talk with the retailers, as this is a very important element of our mission. This is where the companies gather market intelligence and can come back and apply some of the learning to the products that they are making,” she adds.

Mrs. Henlon-Forrester notes that plans are being finalised for JAMPRO to accompany a team to Florida later this year to participate in similar tradeshows.

“We are very much focused on the USA market for cosmetics as we have found that because it is a near market, logistically, it is fairly simple for the companies to export their products whether they are going by air, sea, or post office,” she says.

She notes too that the JAMPRO office in the United Kingdom is currently following up on leads that have been generated in markets in that area.

Additionally, she notes that JAMPRO is working with Compete Caribbean – a private sector development programme delivering innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth; to assist in developing an industry strategy for the castor oil sector, which will have spin-offs for the overall cosmetics industry.

“So we know that the demand is there, we know that the opportunities are there, we know that from the feedback from the buyers and the repeat orders, that there is great interest in the products coming out of Jamaica and so, we are doing more work to quantify it more closely and put some more figures to our projection,” the Manager points out.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Henlon-Forrester says that even though cosmetics was not traditionally an export market for Jamaica, it has become a force to be reckoned with.

“We have a lot of young knowledgeable entrepreneurs and manufacturers with background in chemistry and other technology areas who are busy creating new products all the time,” she states.

“There are manufacturers creating 40 or more products while there are others with products in their labs that they have not started to produce and they are very excited, motivated and place a lot of value on the interest and support JAMPRO is providing them,” she informs.

She adds that a major part of JAMPRO’s operation is to create sustainable business opportunities and maintain the relationships in the market with the various partners whether they are buyers, retailers, distributors or agencies that provide support in the market.

“We maintain an ongoing relationship with manufacturers and help them with whatever issues they may have in supplying, whether these are challenges in communicating with the buyers, but we remain constantly engaged with all parties,” Mrs. Henlon-Forrester states.

She adds that the local cosmetic sector is an area where JAMPRO is beginning to pay close attention to, in terms of creating value; increasing investments and export; creating jobs and engaging communities.

“This sector is one of those that Jamaica can reap a lot of benefits from and in that regard, we are encouraging individuals and companies to come on board,” the Manager states.