The just-concluded GuyExpo put the spotlight on a group of local women seeking to increase exposure for their businesses.
United under the banner “Guyanese Women Mean Business,” the group occupied two booths at the expo, which they hoped would help increase their markets.
The group of women explained to Stabroek News that it was First Lady Sandra Granger who helped to organise the initiative and gathered them from across the country. It was the first expo for most of them, like Louisa Haynes, of West Coast Berbice, the owner of L and L Enterprise.
She explained she was elated to have been part of the group as it increased her exposure. “People who don’t know us getting to know us and we were able to get our stuff on Facebook. People were even calling me this morning for stuff and so that’s good,” she said.
Haynes produces green seasoning, pepper sauce, pickles and various crafts, such as bowls and towels. While the exposure was good for her, she lamented that the expo did not attract a “spending crowd.”
“People come here to see what people can produce and walk with their children and when they see, they enquire and find out how they could get these products and they take the brochures and what’s not but they don’t spend much here,” she explained, while adding that although she sold some of her product, it was nothing significant. Diana Plowell, founder of ‘Pleasurable Flavours,’ also expressed similar sentiments. It was her first expo and she too believed it would widen her market and provide her with the exposure to take her products to the next level.
Her main products are her pepper sauce, which come in different flavours.
“We have the different flavours, like Mango, Pawpaw, Corilla and others. And if you don’t like the hot, you can go sweet. Like our slogan says, ‘if you can’t take the heat you can go sweet,’” she said. She also produces fruit cakes, jams, jellies and other products.
Plowell has been heading the business for more than three years and she has been able to get her products into several supermarkets around the country. “It has been very impressive and I didn’t realise that so many people knew about the products and actually liked them.
We are hoping that the wider community accepts and supports us. They don’t know much but it’s coming out and we have grown and this has given us new market opportunities,” she said, while adding that because of the expo she has made new friends in many different places who will assist her in improving her business. “We [women] definitely mean business and we are going to take Guyana to a new level,” she boldly stated, while lauding the opportunity and initiative that brought her and the other women together.
Plowell said that she believes there are a lot of women around the country that are skilled but who lack the opportunities to showcase their products and ideas. She stated that while it is her first expo, it will definitely not be her last.
The versatility of the coconut has been broadly recognised by many Guyanese and Pamela Bradford is among them. She uses the nut to produce virgin and scented oils.
“You have one for hair, the scented one, the plain one and so,” Bradford, of Linden, said, explaining that while she had only started her business last September, it has come a far way and she expected the expo to carry it further. “It was good having the exposure and I hope to be here the next one and even bigger and better,” she said.
Patrons at the expo also expressed their delight at seeing women owning businesses and being able to “to take charge.” “Well, of course it’s welcomed and appreciated. It’s good to see someone is thinking about our women because we know in the business world the men dominate but here you can see that women have ideas too.
They can do a lot of things and more than men can, so why shouldn’t everyone be given a fair opportunity?” one of the patrons questioned, while stating that she hopes to see more women coming out with their ideas at the next expo.