4 min read
Meet Seon McKend, a skilled woodworker with over 17 years experience under his belt and owner of the small, Barbados-based, woodworking business McKend Enterprise. McKend Enterprise, located in Cottage Plantation, St. George, specializes in the construction of wooden kitchen cabinetry as well as household and office furniture.
From inception, approximately 7 years ago, Seon has strived to make quality, affordability and uniqueness a principal focus of his business by providing clients with signature products that set McKend Enterprise apart in the relatively saturated local woodworking market.
While skill, talent and a creative eye were in surplus, these attributes alone could not deliver on Seon’s vision for his business. He needed access to equipment and materials that would make his products unique and of superior quality without sacrificing the affordability and originality that his products had become known for.
He needed access to equipment and materials that would make his products unique without sacrificing the affordability and originality that his products had become known for.
Seon needed help and approached RDL Eagle Trade for guidance.
Deciding to register
For Seon, the first step in making the decision to register as a manufacturer was realizing that he was indeed a manufacturer. Seon is not alone. Many of us may be typical candidates for a manufacturing concession but fail to realize.
Do you produce items for sale? If your reply is in the affirmative, then chances are you are a manufacturer. Perhaps you produce saleable food items such as bread, teas or seasonings, personal care items such as soaps or lotions, clothing, jewelry, and the list goes on. Manufacturers fall within a wide spectrum and are defined by the Customs Act as persons who carry on the business of manufacturing or producing taxable goods for consumption in Barbados.
Seon ticked all these boxes - he was the ideal candidate. The next step for him was understanding the many benefits that registering as a manufacturer could bestow on his business. For starters, as a registered manufacturer Seon would be exempt from the payment of duty on the equipment, materials and packaging imported for use in his business. Added to that, he would be able to export his signature cabinetry throughout the Caribbean without his clients having to pay import duty in their resident countries.
As a registered manufacturer Seon would be exempt from the payment of duty on the equipment, materials and packaging imported for use in his business.
The ripple effects of having access to a duty concession by way of being a registered manufacturer would have a tremendous impact on Seon’s business. He would no longer be limited to the standard, cost-driven equipment and raw materials available locally but could expand his repertoire to include a diversity of high-quality inputs sourced from far-reaching corners of the international market. Seon could achieve his dream of not only having truly unique creations that stand out in the local market but also ones that are specifically tailored to the needs of his discerning clients. Furthermore, with inputs unimpacted by duty, Seon would have more profit built into the price of his outputs.
The combination of increased quality and diversity of raw materials, decreased expenditure, increased profits, enhanced products coupled with increased competitiveness, was a simple sell for Seon. He acted upon suggestion and took the leap that had the potential to propel his business forward. In September 2017, Seon applied to become a registered manufacturer and was successful.
Dispelling the fear
The registration process may seem intimating and many small business owners are hesitant or even fearful to proceed, especially as it relates to the required inspection of your workspace and your manufacturing processes. Seon was no exception. He openly admits to having resident fears; his major concern being that there would be several demands made of him and his business that he could not accommodate. However, he was relieved to find out this was not the case.
After the site inspection, it was just a matter of waiting. Seon’s application process took approximately two months.
“Because the gain is so much more, regardless of the fear, it is worth doing.” – Seon McKend
Reaping the rewards
Without the cost of duties included in his imports, Seon now offers better engineered products at a lower price. What’s more, he is able to order more high-quality inputs from as far as Germany for less and pass these savings on to his clients. This makes his business stand out, claiming a win against his competitors.
Without the cost of duties included in his imports, Seon now offers better engineered products at a lower price.
Prior to registration, it was too expensive and inconvenient to keep excess stock, uncertain of when it might be used. Now, McKend Enterprise can better afford to create an inventory of readily available supplies, which in turn translates into a faster turnaround time. Seon no longer has to endure a 3 to 4-week time-lag before his supplies arrive on island, in order to commence a scheduled project.
The demand for more of Seon’s cabinetry and furniture equates to an increase in orders from suppliers, which aids in fostering good business relationships. Seon notes that in his case suppliers are more willing to work with him as they view his business as one that is expanding.
Since becoming a registered manufacturer roughly one year ago, Seon has grown his business and has experienced a significant increase in profits. He has been so busy that currently his biggest challenge is increasing staff. And with the company booked until January, it is a definite sign that things are progressing rapidly. All of this from a small business whose only form of advertising is personal referrals.
McKend Enterprise is soaring to new heights. This is surely not the end of his story, but it can be the beginning of yours.
Written by Dr. Nakita Haynes
If you want to increase your profits and believe that registering as a manufacturer is the right fit for your business, enter your email address below and we will send you a sample cover letter that can be used as a guide when creating your application.