Behind the Brands
ervian Johnson was missing the taste of her favourite fruit, mangoes, while she was studying for her Master’s in Environmental Engineering in South Korea. While there, she saw a lot of preserved foods in the shops and supermarkets. Although the dried mangoes were not very ripe, she still enjoyed it, and was delighted to have finally tasted mangoes after being away from Jamaica for such a long time.
As she was delving into this new world of dried foods, a light bulb switched on in her head. “Everyone who comes to Jamaica says that we have the best fruit in the world…why not dry and preserve them?” She thought.
As an engineer, Jervian always had the natural desire to create things and solve problems. Her love for chemistry and her passion for healthy living served to be a recipe for the birth of Tropicks 365. That moment in the supermarket in South Korea inspired her to go into the business of preserving fruits.
Laka Sharah is a term of Amerindian origin that I came across in my cultural studies. It roughly translates to “fresh herbs”. While I was pursuing my master’s degree in Serbia, I came across a soap brand called Nesti Dante. It quickly became something I looked forward to. The experience of using those soaps transformed my entire day, and became a daily ritual. This was perfect for me because I suffer from eczema, and it has been a lifelong struggle finding soaps, particularly fragranced soaps, that don’t irritate my skin, and allow me to pamper myself like a normal person. Nesti Dante rekindled my love for soaps which started at an early age. Some of my fondest childhood memories are playing with bubbles and using up my mother’s soaps in the bathtub.
Nesti Dante sparked my desire to create soaps of my own.
As a child I always liked the idea of being financially independent. In sixth grade, I started a business of making and selling Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards. When I went to High School, selling on school grounds was prohibited, and I almost got caught selling Bath and Body products. Fortunately, I was able to join a club called the Wolmer’s Financial Services Committee which is essentially an entrepreneurship club. We were shown how to create our own small business, how to price our products and even had to pay a small fee to the school to be able to operate our small businesses.
De la Enzie Essentials
When I was a little girl, I accidentally stepped on a very sharp nail. Instead of taking me to the doctor, my grandfather roasted banana skin and tied it on my foot with some other herbs.
Growing up in rural St. Catherine, I was surrounded by Jamaican bush medicine. In my household, we never had traditional tea bags or modern medicine in the house. We would always just go outside and pick the leaves for whatever tea we wanted; mint leaves, soursop leaves, fever grass, you name it, we had it.
My mother was an Avon sales representative. She sold skincare and cosmetic products to people frequently and her customers would always light up whenever they bought a new product from her. She also worked in a lab. I was always curious about the lab and how scientists worked, so this fostered my interest in science, which explains my passion for science. Jamaicans have a culture of self-care with an emphasis on grooming. We love to keep “fresh” and smell nice. We love the process of grooming from showering daily to using various creams. As a culture, we indulge our senses in the grooming process.
The first word I would use to describe myself is a hustler. I used to sell ice out of my igloo at school to help my mother. I’ve always believed that if you have hands you can make money, and luckily for me I’ve always been good with my hands.