Business

Island Ecoessentials raises the bar

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

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Eight years ago Charmaine Cummings took the decision to manufacture a natural soap bar for personal use after experiencing difficulties finding soaps without harsh toxic chemicals. Fast-forward to 2017, after much encouragement from family and friends, Cummings is not only looking to expand her product line, but is also cementing contracts to start exporting her products to the United States.

“I really only started commercial manufacturing last year around this time doing this one product, because I wanted to give myself a year to see how it did on the market before introducing anything else. Based on the response, I'm actually working on two additional fragrances to put on the market,” Cummings told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview last Friday.

The company, Island Ecoessentials, is a manufacturer of charcoal soap. Prior to the manufacture of the company's signature soap, Cummings noted that she started out making custom blends and special orders for customers, but she made the charcoal soap the company's core line of product because of its active ingredients.

“The soap includes activated charcoal, which is very good for the skin and is also good for medicinal and industrial uses. It's used in water filtration systems and it's also taken internally as well for food poisoning because of how it absorbs minerals. Same thing for the skin, so once it goes onto your skin it will pull all the dirt and the oil,” the company CEO reasoned.

According to Cummings, the facial and body bar has no animal products, no synthetic ingredients, colorants or preservatives. Likewise, Ecoessentials' new moisturising bars — green tea with aloe and coconut milk — will be made free of harmful products.

The new soaps are slated for distribution next month with Ecoessentials' existing distributors across the island, including Fontana Pharmacy, Proactive Lifestyle, Things Jamaica, Monarch Pharmacy, Liguanea Drug and Garden Centre, Total Care Pharmacy, Norman Manley International Airport, and Sangsters International Airport.

She anticipates that the new products will be as successful as the charcoal therapy.

As for how Ecoessentials plans to keep up with the competition: “There is competition with both local and imported products in the pharmacies, but I find that our local companies are very receptive to local manufacturers. They are very encouraging which is one of the reasons why I'm putting more into it,” Cummings told the Business Observer.

Currently Cummings manufactures 500 soaps monthly from her home in Gordon Town, St Andrew. That number is expected to increase, however, with the launch of the new soaps. Cummings will also be employing two full time individuals to manage the operation.

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