JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The continued mentorship of young entrepreneurs by the Scientific Research Council (SRC) has resulted in several successful small businesses becoming international brands.
  • Barnhill Organics is one such company that is looking to infiltrate the international market with its wide range of organic products.
  • The small company, which started at the SRC, now operates on its own, with a small factory based in Kingston and employs five persons.

The continued mentorship of young entrepreneurs by the Scientific Research Council (SRC) has resulted in several successful small businesses becoming international brands.

Barnhill Organics is one such company that is looking to infiltrate the international market with its wide range of organic products.

The company entered the hair and skin care market in 2014 in a bid to take advantage of the growing need for natural products and the renewed movement towards a healthy lifestyle.

Managing Director of Barnhill Organics, Kellye Jean Barnaby-Barnett, credits the SRC with helping to make her dream business a reality, and shares with JIS News her experience working with the SRC.

“I went in [to the SRC] with my vision, and they helped to develop the idea. I told them what I want in terms of the feel [of the product]. I told them what benefits I want [it] to have on the skin and the hair. From there they conducted the research on the raw materials to be used and how they would benefit the skin,” she says.

“Although I already knew the ingredients I wanted to use, I was lacking in the manufacturing and chemistry background. Therefore, the SRC came up with the formula and the percentages of the different elements that would optimize the product’s quality,” Ms. Barnaby-Barnett adds.

 She says that it took approximately six months between contacting the SRC and the time her business became a reality.

Skin therapy oil from the Barnhill Organics skin care line. The line was created through the assistance of the Scientific Research Council (SRC).
Skin therapy oil from the Barnhill Organics skin care line. The line was created through the assistance of the Scientific Research Council (SRC).

“They ensured that the shelf life of the product was okay, that the chemistry behind it was safe and the benefits that were depicted on the label would be what the customers experience. I wanted to have a product on the market that was safe for all skin and hair types, which did not contain chemicals,” she tells JIS News.

Meanwhile, Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager at the SRC, Roselyn Fisher, tells JIS News that they have seen an increase in customers who want to get into the business of producing essential oils as well as natural and organic products.

 “The megatrends now are that persons are influenced by lifestyle and convenience, the trend for you to stay healthy, as well as the movement for natural hair,” she says.

Ms. Fisher explains that these trends and styles encourage embracing the natural self, with many natural hair blogs, natural products websites, as well as local entrepreneurs capitalizing on the growing movement.

“In our labs that are internationally accredited, the SRC has the necessary infrastructure in place to produce natural products,” she notes, adding that the SRC will continue to assist budding entrepreneurs.

 “We want to take them from concept to market. So, we provide them with information, such as where the demand is and what are the trends,” she says.

Ms. Fisher explains that during product development, the Council takes into consideration both the local and international markets.

“All our products are done to internationally acceptable standards, with emphasis on labeling and the requirements to facilitate export,” she says.

Miss Fisher points out that the process to work with the SRC to develop a product is a simple one.  “Persons can just come in to our office with their idea or their vision. The Council will then take them through the product development phase and assist with market information,” she says.

Barnhill Organics initially began with a body oil, which is made up of all natural ingredients.  “I was always trying to mix oils, since I found that the market was lacking in products to suit my needs,” Mrs. Barnaby-Barnett says, noting that she started the line because she had an issue with a lack of moisture in her skin.

The Managing Director tells JIS News that she has since expanded the natural product line, which now carries coconut oil, tea tree oil as well as cocoa butter for the body. These products help with dry skin, aging skin, adds moisture, reduce stretch marks, and have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

The brand also produces castor oil, a combination of coconut and castor oil, and coconut and tea tree mix (which can be used in the hair as well as on the body).

Mrs. Barnaby-Barnett says that there has been significant growth in the business due to the increased demand for natural products; hence she will be expanding the company’s offerings. They have also recently expanded into the coconut water market and her next idea is to start packaging coconut milk.

“We use many strategies to market our products, including social media.  Through Instagram and Facebook, we have seen favourable results. We also do in-store promotions as well as displays at expos,” she notes.

Based on the positive response to the products locally, Barnhill Organics is now exploring the idea of exporting. The Managing Director says that despite the challenges of the market, she still believes that the business will have success internationally. She adds that the products are of international standard, and will be able to compete with international brands.

The small company, which started at the SRC, now operates on its own, with a small factory based in Kingston and employs five persons. Their products can be found in select supermarkets and pharmacies islandwide.