Oliver Welsh took a big risk in 2012 when he started his small business – Wood Land Roots Natural Drinks – in Portmore, St Catherine.
He faced many challenges, such as having to walk from Portmore to Kingston. Along the route, he would try to convince people to patronise his natural juices.
“It wasn’t an easy road…,” Welsh said, adding: “Rain wet me, and [I faced] all kinds of challenges taking public transport.”
He said his break eventually came in 2018 when he participated in the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association Expo at the National Arena, where he established a booth to showcase his natural drinks.
“A lot of people crowded me at Expo. They tasted the drinks and felt good about the natural ingredients,” he explained. “Expo worked for me, and I can’t wait for the next one.”
Such was the impact that Welsh now supplies several local outlets and customers overseas.
He told the state-owned Jamaica Information Service that sales from Expo assisted with the purchase of a motor vehicle, and he is now seeking to expand the venture and to provide additional employment.
Welsh stated that, before going on the market, he ensured that his natural drinks were certified by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica – a process that he said was ‘very important’ in winning consumers’ confidence in the products.
The Jamaica Business Development Corporation also assisted Welsh with training, labelling and marketing.
Welsh asserted that the natural drinks venture has been a good source of income for him.
“I love this business with all of my heart. I had an aim and a plan that I must make it. Where I am now, it is God who took me there, and He is going to take me to the highest heights,” said Welsh, who previously worked at hotels in New Kingston, North America and the Caribbean.
“It is not all about money. This business is to see persons’ health improve…where they eat right, exercise, drink a lot of water and natural drinks, and get lots of sunlight,” Welsh added.
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