Racquell Brown is a quintessential earth essence goddess. Based in Jamaica, she owns Irie Rock - one of the country’s most successful, locally made natural skincare companies.
Racquell joined the Branson Centre Caribbean early in 2018 through our accelerator programme. She was eager to scale her business and we knew that she had what it took – with her keen business sense and creative nature.
We recently had a chat with Racquell where she shared a bit about Irie Rock and about how the Branson Centre is supporting her business journey.
Tell us about Irie Rock.
Irie Rock is a natural cosmetic company, specialising in skincare. We started making products in 2009, but officially launched in August 2017 in London – the place where the idea was born.
We’re proud of the fact that whatever we say our products do, they actually do. I started making natural skincare products to help my own skin problems and then I began giving them to my friends – they loved them and encouraged me to turn it into a business.
It was when I had my first meeting with a large hotel in Jamaica, that I really realised the possibilities. They were excited about my product range and placed a large order right then and there. I decided then to not just keep it as a hobby and today we’re available in all major pharmacies and beauty supply stores in Jamaica.
When did you decide to start working with the Branson Centre?
I started with the Branson Centre in 2018. I wanted to leverage my brand’s successes from the previous year, get into the international market, and systemise our local operations. I didn’t know how to do that and was uncertain of my ability.
The Branson Centre’s workshops helped me figure out my direction and how to get there. They also gave me a roadmap on how to become investment-ready, whilst exposing me to a network of other entrepreneurs who were able to scale. With the Branson Centre’s help, I’m learning how to scale with fewer mistakes – making this a far less costly process.
Tell us a little about your background and where your passion for business began.
I have a background in marketing and international business, with my passion for business starting in high school. I always knew I’d be an entrepreneur – I was a go-getter and wanted to make things and solve problems.
To me, Irie Rock is not just about skin care - our products build people’s confidence and help them feel good about themselves.
My push into entrepreneurship finally came after being made redundant. It was the middle of the recession and I had already started making product formulations, but was procrastinating.
Being made redundant jolted me to action. I was no longer comfortable, so I just decided to step out and do it – and it was a God-send. Whilst it wasn’t the easiest of times, it really did help mould me. Maybe, if it wasn’t for those difficulties, the Irie Rock we have today wouldn’t even exist.
How do you think your business is benefiting the wider community and the environment?
We employ people who live within the community we operate from and we’re committed to empowering the young workforce. We know that small businesses drive the economy and we want to play our role in that process. To me, Irie Rock is not just about skin care - our products build people’s confidence and help them feel good about themselves.
What is the most important thing that running a business has taught you?
I’ve learned that you have to be determined and really focus. Zoom in on one thing and filter out everything else. You must have a desire to create something better than it was yesterday, to fill a gap, to leave a legacy and make a solution to a problem.
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