CaribPR Newswire, ATLANTA, GA August 20, 2006: From an almost fruitless online search for Caribbean souvenirs, to a booming business, grossing more than $80,000 in annual revenue. That according to Trinidadian entrepreneur, Leslie Jones is the story of CaribbeanFlags.com in a nutshell.
Frustration over the inability to find products from his homeland or from any other Caribbean island for that matter was the catalyst that set the wheels in motion, leading ultimately to the creation of the website which specializes in Caribbean flag products.
From its humble beginnings back in 2001 with revenue just over $12,000 for its first full year of operation, CaribbeanFlags.com is now a market leader, boasting an inventory of over 900 products.
Operating on the premise that if you love your island, you’ll show your colors, the company provides a variety of products including tote bags, key chains, decorative pillows, blankets, decorative dolls, mini boxing gloves, necklaces, backpacks and bumper stickers.
It is clear that CaribbeanFlags has found a rewarding niche market, catering to the patriotic desires of proud Caribbean nationals.
The company processes about 250 orders monthly. The more popular items are the jumbo flags, the bandanas and stick flags. Jones says they’ve also sold a large amount of wristbands and necklaces depicting the various Caribbean flags but unfortunately the demand is exceeding supply. “Those items are a big hit but the suppliers make limited only during the spring season.”
Products depicting the flags of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico Haiti and the U.S. Virgin Islands are among the top five most popular selling countries.
CaribbeanFlags has a customer base of 8,000 with another 4,000 potential customers included on the company’s mailing list. The majority of the customers are individuals but they have served businesses such as American Airlines, MTV, government institutions and colleges and various churches.
The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada provide the majority of customers. There are very few orders from Caribbean countries and Jones says this helps substantiate their target audience. “We’re not targeting the Caribbean countries specifically but rather people who migrated from the Caribbean. While you may find some of our products on every other block in New York, in Indiana for example, it will be harder to source them.”
The Internet-based company is moving to further expand its customer base and boost revenue generation through the introduction of custom design printing. “As much as I have customers who buy what is available now, they’re always looking for something new.”
In response to the needs of its longstanding customers, Caribbeanflags.com is now offering custom design t-shirts and bandanas for promotional or other events. Previously restricted to selling t- shirts in medium, large and extra-large, the company is now able to provide any size up to 6XL and in a variety of colors.
The introduction of the new service comes on the heels of a newfound partnership with a company, which will create the customs designed products at a reasonable price.
CaribbeanFlags does not subject its customers to long delayed gratification but instead delivers reliable and expedient service, shipping orders with 24-48 hours. Custom printed orders from CarinbbeanFlags.com are usually shipped within 7-14 days.
In addition to the business generated through direct visits to the website, CaribbeanFlags has an affiliate network of up to 250 websites that carry its banner, advertising its products. Up to 30 percent of the company’s sales is generated through this effort and it offers a 20 percent earning to the website that generates each order.
Jones reveals that his company is continuously in search of partners with which it can do business. One of its current partners is Caribbeancookingtips.com and it offers customers a free sample cookbook with each order.
CaribbeanFlags has evolved significantly in the past five years as can be expected of any startup operation. However, one aspect that will not change is the online format. Jones vows to maintain that approach because it significantly reduces overhead costs and allows them to offer customers very “reasonable prices.”
Jones attributes the success of the operation to his focus and dedication in running the operation. His wife, Sharda completes the formidable two-member team. Sharda, who’s Jamaican, has a BA in Human Services. Jones has a BA in Business Administration and also worked as a computer programmer.
Established in 1991, the Georgia-based CaribbeanFlags.com is one of the oldest web-based Caribbean retail companies.
For more information log on to www.CaribbeanFlags.com or call 888-238-0682.
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