Lacey-Ann is the Managing Director of Bartley’s All in Wood Designs and is lead designer for the Lacey-Ann Collection in Bartley’s. This fun-loving, passionate, 20-something young lady wakes up each morning and allows her creativity to flow through designs in, you guessed it, wood!
Lacey-Ann creates custom exotic jewellery pieces all from wood. From wood bangles, necklaces and rings to edgy earrings and woogies (hair toggles), Lacey-Ann not only designs these pieces but also works the machinery that creates the finished products.
CH: The pieces that are in your collection are very unique in their designs. Where does the inspiration for such pieces come from?
LB: My inspiration comes from everything around me. I have a collection of earrings named after a sweetheart and the meaning of his name and the Woogie which got it’s name from a past lover… no two woogies are alike and feature no less than two Jamaican woods. I would say, all in all, Love and Nature are my biggest influences followed by my emotions. If you know me well enough you can tell how I was feeling when I was sketching a particular piece especially earrings. I have tonnes of tear drop shaped earrings…I am sure you can see the references. The rings are inspired by nature… The bangle shapes are done free hand and limited edition to ensure exclusivity.
CH: One can’t help but wonder where this love for wood came from and how it lead to an entrepreneurial venture.
LB: Bartley’s All in Wood designs, manufactures and sells quality 100% Jamaican handmade wooden furniture, executive memorabilia, jewellery and home items. The business started with my father being sent to be an apprentice at a local wood work shop in Manchester [so it] is a hand me down business from my father. It was not a choice but a natural course. I am from an entrepreneurial and enterprising family, it is a natural progression. I grew up in wood. I love it as it holds fun memories for me.
CH: Growing up, did you see yourself managing your own business?
LB: I had a very elaborate plan in my head from I was six. Seriously! I put that plan to paper from Dr. Knife in undergrad. My business plan was complete after my 12 weeks training at the Branson Centre.
CH: You mentioned training at the Branson Centre. Other than growing up in an enterprising family, did you have any prior experience managing any business?
LB: In high school, I had a sweet selling business. My family also had a farming business which I was an active part of. I have a long history in summer jobs and internships; I also had a 9-5.
CH: How did you start the business and was there any support for your dream?
LB: I raided my personal funds. It took a chunk of my savings and I had to put some of my long term savings plans on halt for a bit. All my immediate family members are involved in production and design. My friends help me with packaging and marketing.
CH: What challenges did you face in the early stages of business?
LB: Lack of capital, a ‘disabling environment’ and lack of skilled labour.
CH: In light of the challenges, how did you keep focused on the goal?
LB: I motivated myself by talking to myself, visualizing my goals and setting dated targets. As an entrepreneur you are in charge of your own destiny and earnings. On the other hand, it is a lot of responsibility and long hours. Indeed, there is nothing quite like living your dreams.
CH: What has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial career to date?
LB: My first export order to Island Gourmet in Antigua.
CH: What have you learnt so far from being an entrepreneur?
LB: Strength of character. Being in business is like advanced business school – you learn lessons every day. I have less friends. I learnt from many of these experiences what not to do. I learnt that planning is key. It allowed me to identify the key resources for getting to the next level.
CH: Who made significant contributions to your entrepreneurial venture being successful?
LB: So many people. GOD, JBDC, Profit Drive, The Branson Centre, JAMPRO, my lecturers especially Dr. KNife, Dr. Hickling and Dr. Barclay and my family. The list is enormous. Bartley’s is truly a combination of People+ Planet+ Profit + PARTNERSHIPS = Bartley’s
CH: What advice would you give to upcoming entrepreneurs?
LB: Develop skills. Gain knowledge of your industry. Have a humble and determined attitude with a willingness to listen. Persistence is key!
With 90% of her initial goals met, Lacey-Ann Bartley doesn’t plan on stopping there. She has her sights set on increasing Caribbean export of her products, starting two other businesses and gaining her PhD.
Bartley’s All in Wood pieces can be obtained through direct contact on twitter @bartley_s or from any of their retail vendors listed on their Facebook pages: www.facebook.com/BartleysAllinWood and www.facebook.com/BartleysFurniture.