Young entrepreneurs give meaning to “the world is your oyster” as they bravely enter the world of business, with no experience but a whole lot of passion. Entrepreneurship can provide a thrill and excitement that many traditional jobs do not, but like everything in life, there are highs and lows. Navigating the terrain of business ownership can be filled with clear paths and in other instances those paths can become rocky. Young persons thinking of taking the plunge can learn from others who are in the early phases of riding the waves. Entrepreneur Weekly features Jo-Ann Morris of Rachel Lane, who along with her mother Charmaine Morris started the entrepreneurial journey together.
What is Rachel Lane?
Rachel Lane currently manufactures and sells Jamaican handmade fragrances and body care items. Jo-Ann describes the almost three-year-old business as “a treat to yourself.” The exquisite and memorable name is a combination of the dynamic mother-daughter duo that founded this brand. The merger of their middle names, Rachel and Elaine, now Rachel Lane rolls off the tongue. Rachel Lane manufactures and sells a variety of products including: candles, room sprays, body washes, soaps and bath salts.
The Story of Rachel Lane
The past few years has proven to be a tumultuous time for many individuals and companies. Jo-Ann was made redundant from her 6-year place of employment in October 2019. Ms. Valerie Veira, CEO of JBDC, says Jamaicans have the opportunity to “move from panic to passion”. This is exactly what Jo-Ann did, pivoting from unemployment to entrepreneurship by launching something that has now become her passion. She recounted, “I didn’t want to look back 60 years from now in regret that I did not make this step.”
Jo-Ann holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Technology and noticeably architecture and aromatherapy/ skin care are not within the same field, so what brought her here? “I had seen my mother experimenting with soap-making for a few months and was getting good reviews. Also, I have always loved candles and one day decided to randomly purchase a candle wax kit and so the idea for the business started out as a light hearted joke but after my redundancy it became an actual option,” she added.
Knowledge for Young Entrepreneurs
As a young person in the arena of entrepreneurship for nearly 3 years, Jo-Ann believes it is important to share her current story. “We often hear about the successes of bigger companies, when they have achieved their big profits but it is important to hear the beginning stages of the journey, you have to crawl before you walk.” She said one of her leading philosophies is “fail fast, recover quickly.” She encourages young entrepreneurs and those early in the game to register their business, test their products or services, do research and quickly get the brand trademarked. She added that there are various learning curves that every entrepreneur will go through and for her these included, “learning the best working environment and what conditions I am most productive in. I also had to change my mindset from being an employee to a business owner and had to take the time to work out operational systems for my business because I was now the one I was reporting to.
After weighing whether to continue her professional journey within the field she was qualified and trained in or to take the leap of faith, Jo-Ann was reminded that as a young person, if her venture was not successful she could always just apply for a job. This is important for young entrepreneurs to remember, so as to not be crippled by fear.
Essential Oils Industry
Rachel Lane is one of many Jamaican brands which mine the essential oils industry. Following the global trends, a growing number of micro and small enterprises in Jamaica have been entering the nutraceutical, aromatherapy and alternative health markets locally, producing a range of products including soaps, lotions, hair care products, and candles which utilise essential oils as raw materials.
The production of essential oils in Jamaica is very low, and most oils are imported. These businesses are seeing tremendous opportunities for marketing their products both locally and internationally. In response to this need, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is building an Essential Oils incubator which is designed to help entrepreneurs in the industry further capitalise on its potential through this manufacturing space.
The Way Forward
The inspirational young entrepreneur Jo-Ann Morris has her eyes set on building out the Rachel Lane brand. She desires for this feel good and self-care brand to launch out into becoming more of a lifestyle and wellness brand, that emphasises the importance of looking out for and taking care of yourself. “In the next 5 years Rachel Lane will be one of the Caribbean’s leading home, beauty and lifestyle brands,” she said.
The road to entrepreneurship is not always smooth sailing but rather fulfilling. Take it from a young woman who with 3 years of entrepreneurial experience has already gained life-long lessons.