Success Stories

Jamaica is home to exceptionally talented fashion designers and is poised to claim a significant portion of the ever increasing global fashion market. Managing Director of Heather Laine , Zoe Heather Summers, speaks to JAMPRO in this feature about the company's success in the fashion industry and her plans for the future.

The brainchild of twin brothers Marlon and Marvin Stuart, Local Spice debuted its Complete Seasoning in the local and overseas market in 2010 and immediately made a strong impact. In its first seven months of operation, the company's production level grew from 5,000 pouches per week to 80,000 in order to satisfy growing demand.

The popularity of Local Spice's Complete Seasoning was buoyed by rave reviews on network television from Phil Lempert, one of America’s leading consumer trend-watchers and analysts. The product, which received an impressive rating of 95 out of 100, was featured on Lempert’s food review segment on “ABC News Now”. It was also highlighted during his popular weekly programme “New Product Hits and Misses” on SupermarketGuru.com, a leading food and health resource website that boasts over nine million visitors a year. Complete Seasoning received top marks for taste, value, health, ingredients, preparation, appearance and packaging.

Local Spice has benefited from invaluable assistance in export development from JAMPRO and has been represented at local and international trade events as part of the agency’s promotional activities. Local Spice’s Complete Seasoning has been featured at the Fancy Food event in New York, Expo Jamaica, and a major in-store promotion in the US with prominent supermarket chain Fiesta Mart.

“JAMPRO held our hand through the export process and guided us to the relevant agencies. Any contact that we had with government, JAMPRO was there and the staff went beyond the call of duty in providing useful insights and direction. They have a wealth of knowledge and we wouldn’t be where are today without the help of the agency,” Marlon Stuart stated.

Marlene Porter, JAMPRO’s Export Development Manager, noted that the Agency had recognised from the beginning that Local Spice's Complete Seasoning was a great product with tremendous potential.

“JAMPRO is pleased with the success that Local Spice has been able to reap through the support services, promotions and market penetration initiatives facilitated by the Agency,” she stated.

JAMPRO launched the pilot of the Export Max programme in 2011 to assist small to medium sized enterprises with growing their export sales. The recently launched ExportMax II promises to do the same, with the addition of a corporate mentorship programme and an added focus on capacity building.

For more information on Export Max I & II and other export programmes, click here .

Leo Cousins and Vincent Hill are engineers by profession who have mined success in the Jamaican hills. They are the owners of Lydford Mining, a multi-million dollar operation located in St. Ann, the birth parish of Reggae legend Bob Marley.

The mining and processing operation is an investor’s dream with full order books for limestone products, zero debt and extensive reserves of high grade limestone. Their tale of success is one of vision and perseverance.

Established in 1991 as a limited liability company, Lydford Mining weathered the early storm when local bauxite companies declined to pick up their merchandise. The resilient team eventually managed to land the US-based J.M. Huber Corporation, with its subsidiary Huber Engineered Materials, as their first customer. With that initial single order of whiting grade limestone, the company charted upward in an aggressive growth spurt that continues today.

Lydford Mining currently exports 120,000 tonnes of high purity limestone, 100,000 tonnes of industrial grade and 2,000 tonnes of ground material each year.  In addition to J.M. Huber, the company’s client list also includes the US-based Mississippi Lime Company and Chilean company Electroandina.

Lydford Mining also sells its limestone to local manufacturers who use it in processing fertilizers, animal feed, fillers for plastics and paints and many other industrial products. Before the company commenced operations, all these products were imported at twice the cost in most cases.

The company’s staff complement has grown from six in 1991 to 60 in 2014, and the rental of 25 trucks and six pieces of mining equipment has created additional employment for at least 30 workers.

Through the years, the resourceful team of Cousins and Hill has invested significantly in state-of-the-art technology – a move that has kept productivity at optimal levels. They are currently in the process of expanding their high-tech lab, which is used to analyse and test processed material.

With their sights set on a larger share of the world market, where there is demand for food and medical/pharmaceutical grade limestone, Cousins and Hill are currently working on securing a US$4 million investment to bring this goal to fruition. According to Cousins, the future plans to increase output of the higher profit-yielding, value-added limestone products are predicated on the quality of Jamaican limestone and the enabling business climate.

“After all, without quality, we wouldn’t exist…With its numerous viable investment possibilities, economic and political stability, Jamaica is both a reliable and dynamic quality brand,” says Cousins.

Heather Laine has been designing and creating beautiful clothes for the past 22 years. Its CEO, Zoe Heather Summers, says that Heather Laine’s designs are inspired by the Jamaican woman: The Heather Laine style is very flowing and comfortable – “comfortable chic” as Zoe describes it. She says that comfort is important to the Caribbean woman:

  • In addition to selling in their Kingston boutique, Heather Laine creates a line of resort clothing which is sold in resort shops in Jamaica, the wider Caribbean, and more recently in Florida, as they seek to expand their overseas markets.
  • Export Max help has been invaluable in expanding their export market. JAMPRO helped them to prepare for trade shows, develop a marketing plan and make contact with potential overseas clients. “They even came into the factory to help us improve our productivity”, as well as giving assistance in obtaining financing. “JAMPRO has my back, and has been extremely helpful”, Zoe declared.

Heather Laine's designs are inspired by the Jamaican woman, Zoe Heather Summers shows a customer one of her unique pieces.

For more information on Export Max I and Export Max II, click here.

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