Mon | Oct 21, 2019

Comfortable, Chic and Trendy: Shoan’s Collections

Published:Sunday | September 15, 2019 | 12:09 AMJessica Harrison - Gleaner Writer

With years of experience in the business, Joel Laing and Juliet Morgan head world-class Jamaican brand, Shoan’s Collections.

It all started when Morgan had a clothing store some years ago and would repurpose items that weren’t being sold as quickly into bags. These bags, because of their uniqueness, would fly off the shelves and the word spread quickly through the Corporate Area. Over time, the business expanded its bounds and ventured into the realms of sandals and accessories, all handmade.

The process

The process includes choosing the style, the best fabric that suits the style, and the most appropriate machine for the desired finish.

“Comfort is one of the main factors we consider when making any item. Getting a product to look good is the easy part when you have a creative mind. We also add various features to ensure top quality. For example, anti-slip sole, flexible sole, room for personal customisation, an embossed logo and, of course, the stamp of origin – Jamaica,” said 27-year-old Laing.

When asked about the materials chosen, Laing explained that while the company takes pride in using leather, they also use synthetic materials, because leather is not the definition of a ‘good product’. A good product takes time and attention to detail.

“We also want to cater to vegans who have an issue with wearing anything from animals. So really, it’s just about finding the right process for the right material and it will last just as long as leather-based items,” he said.

Challenges, Support and Advice

“The accessibility to raw materials. All our raw material is imported from different regions of the world because it’s so hard to get them here. Thankfully, I negotiate well in Mandarin, because that’s what I studied in university, so getting materials from China is usually a lot simpler,” he explained.

There is also the issue of logistics. Deadlines are always on the horizon, and for whatever reason, sometimes shipments are delayed. Laing said that this affects the costing and the company would much prefer to keep all items at an affordable cost.

“Also, the issue of copycats. There isn’t much you can do to deter people from copying your style, as the law isn’t very keen on protecting this kind of intellectual property. I spoke to a lawyer and he said it would be too much of a hassle to pursue,” said Laing.

No company thrives without good support and Shoan’s Collection is no different. From word of mouth from past customers to spreading the word on social media, the company has blossomed into what it is today.

“Over the years, we’ve also come across prominent people who willingly gave us advice and tips to head in the direction we wanted to go. Also, really grateful for the JMEA (Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and Jampro (Jamaica Promotions Corporation) team, as they really take time out to point us to the proper channels and explaining what is necessary and expected of us,” he said.

“My advice for entrepreneurs who are working with the ‘Made in Jamaica’ stamp, if you need funding, there are grants available. All the money does not need to come out of pocket. Look at the various agencies. It will take some amount of work but it may very well be worth it in the end.”

To get your hands on these gorgeous items, follow Shoan’s Collections @ShoansCollections, visit them at the Sagicor Life head office center in New Kingston or simply call (876) 773-7676. Looking to ship overseas? Not a problem, there’s an online shop ready to ship worldwide at www.etsy.com/shop/ShoansCollections

jessica.harrison@gleanerjm.com