THE local economy and especially the small business sector might well be facing numerous challenges presently. However, more and more small business owners are capitalizing on the few opportunities available to them by coming up with even more creative ways to stay in business. This has resulted in many small entrepreneurs experiencing a burst of energy resulting in many new innovative goods and services coming to the market.
Meet EthelinaLansiquot, affectionately known as “Ms. St. Rose”. For many years now, she’s been creating quite a stir – make that a spread – with her wide array of tasty jams and jellies. What started out as a hobby back in the day slowly worked its way into a business idea for which she’s now gaining much well-earned recognition and sales.
“I’ve been making jams and jellies for a long time now. However, I only started putting them on the market about four years ago,” Lansiquottells me.
I caught up with Lansiquot during the three-day Saint Lucia-Taiwan Partnership Trade Exhibition held at Baywalk Shopping Mall last weekend. She told me she participated in that exhibition because she wanted to showcase her business to a wider clientele. As small as Lansiquot’s business is, it’s nonetheless too big for even a large pan loaf to accommodate. Here’s why…
“I make golden apple jam, guava jam, mango jam, gooseberry jam and jelly, passion fruit jam and jelly, pineapple jam, breadfruit jam (green and ripe), plantain jam, and banana jam. For most of the flavours of these jams, I also make the jellies,” Lansiqout explained.
That’s quite a sweet collection coming from a woman who boasts about the soul and pride that go into the products she makes. Most of the raw materials she uses are grown on her Bocage, Castries estate. She says she also pays special attention in ensuring that her jams and jellies meet the highest quality standards. In fact, she recently received a Certificate of Food Hygiene from the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards.
Currently, Lansiquot’s jams and jellies, sold under her business’ label, “Ms. St. Rose Creole Delight”, are sold at Super J outlets and at PlasKassav in Canaries. The products come packaged in neatly-labelled and sealed jars or plastic cups and packets.
During the trade exhibition, Barons Foods Ltd’s Managing Director, Ronald Ramjattan, was seen having a chat with Lansiquot at her booth. I wanted to know how that conversation went. I wanted to know just what talk was transpiring between one of the Caribbean’s leading manufacturers and a small-scale entrepreneur who thinks her jams and jellies are indeed the best thing since sliced bread.
“He was just telling me that if I needed any help, such as sourcing the bottles and containers for my jams and jellies, that he was willing to assist me. But I’m already getting them from local suppliers, so I told him that’s okay.”
Lansiquot said much of the feedback she received from patrons during the exhibition had to do with the fact that they never knew that one could make jams and jellies from breadfruit and banana. The breadfruit jam, she said, was a fan favourite. She believes that like her, other Saint Lucians need to become entrepreneurs by using available resources to make a business with a difference.
“I want to encourage especially school-leavers to be creative with their hands. It would do them well if they learned a skill from someone who already has one. School work is very important but working with your hands is important as well. These days, so many people are losing jobs. So by creating your own job, you become your own boss,” Lansiquot said.
Even as the sweet word about her delicious jams and jellies continues to spread locally, Lansiquot is already making big plans for satisfying the taste buds of the external markets. She sees the recent exposure at the trade exhibition as a big step up for her products which she says have the potential for making it big wherever bread is eaten.
“So far, my jams and jellies are only sold in Saint Lucia. But I’m a fighter and I know they will go far.”
For more information on the products from the Ms. St. Rose Creole Delight collection, contact Lansiquot at 287 9251 or firstname.lastname@example.org.