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Jason Hines shows off his unique creations

Staff reporter

Sunday, February 11, 2018

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Passion radiated from Jason Hines as he shared his story with the Jamaica Observer, and demonstrated how he made his craft items.

Hines is the mastermind behind Glass work Design, a successful small business in Spaulding, Clarendon. He makes a variety of items using glass, aluminum and beer bottles. “Me cut glass fi people weh mek aquarium. So after a while me learn fi mek aquarium. Me mek pulpit from aluminum and glass. Me do rearview mirror replacement. Me do picture frames, centre table, jewellery box, shoes stand and bedside lamp,” he explained.

His signature product, however, is drinking glasses that he makes from beer bottles.

“Den you have people weh do woodwork weh like, build furniture fi Lucky Dollar and Courts, sometime me sell like mirrors. Suh when dem mek di dresser dem and stuff, dem carry di template come here, me cut di design and charge dem.”

People from all over the island put in their orders for souvenirs. Hines supplies Rose Hall Great House, Hilton Hotel in Montego Bay, Jewels Hotel in St Ann, Fontana Pharmacy, among others. He has even sold items to persons overseas in the Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago and Canada.

Hines was employed at Patmore's Hardware prior to becoming an entrepreneur. “When me just start to work deh now, a really truck me used to work pon. The work did kind of hard and rough — I used to unload block and dem stuff deh,” he explained.

Looking for another option, he considered joining the Jamaica Constabulary Force when his then employer taught him the skill that would change his life.

“Him start to encourage me and a seh 'yow if you cyaa get a job you can create a job'. Suh him start to teach me how fi cut glass. But the art and craft thing, me just start to see one and two design inna di street and try dem... change up di pattern a likkle bit. Other people come order tings and dem gi me idea.”

He fell in love with his new-found hobby and made his creations in his spare time. Eventually, after many positive reviews and an influx of orders, Hines started his business in 2007 at his home in Spalding. The business grew, and so he relocated to his current shop space on Main Street.

Initially, there was difficulty getting more clients but with help from his childhood friend Dylon Stewart, who is also an entrepreneur, this was resolved.

“Fi him ting name Dylo Tech. A him normally help me. At first me never know what dem call pro forma invoice. A him do me email dem. A him invent me logo and a him build me website,” Hines said.

Stewart told the Sunday Observer that he sometimes assists his friend to make the products, but he was more a technology person. His main focus was getting the market for Glass work Design and building a strong online presence for the business. However, he still helps to make the products when there is demand for a large quantity.

Like any other business, there were challenges as Stewart worked to build the clientele. “One of the main challenges was that persons were skeptical in buying the Red Stripe glasses. They were saying they're not sure if Red Stripe would sue them or anything like that. But I told them that we actually get approval that we can actually use the bottles.”

Potential customers were also concerned about the small workspace out of which Hines operated.

“When some persons come and see the space for the first time, they'll be like how he does it. But then I actually redirect them to an online base where they can see what has been done,” Stewart said.

The workspace is indeed small, perhaps about a third of a storage container, but Hines makes do with the limited space. “If me ago mek all a pulpit, me wait till everybody gone. So me stay here till midnight and set up and work. But me haffi mek it a way suh it can come through di door. Suh me haffi move di table.”

Completing orders on time became another issue once the customer base grew, but Hines started training persons to work with him. Currently, there are about five other persons working with him, including the mother of his child Tresselle Bartholomew.

The 32-year-old expressed that he has an undying love for his craft and was never discouraged or felt like closing his business, even when sales were slow. Instead, he made a concerted effort to learn from his mistakes and use customer feedback to improve on the quality of his products.

“When the customer dem see it at first, it have di chip chip, so me just get a machine to smooth it out. Like all di picture frame, me used to mek dem like dis (untidy edges) before but now me have vinyl fi do di border.”

Acquiring a larger workspace is on his agenda, but right now Hines is focused on starting a Level Three entrepreneurship course with the Clarendon Municipal Corporation's Youth in Business programme, to further educate himself about business operations.

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