Designer says quality lacking
A local t-shirt designer has poured cold water on complaints from managing director of River Bay Trading Ian Pickup that imports from the Dominican Republic were threatening the garment industry, and his Wildey, St Michael busines in particular.
Owner of Brand Evolve clothing, Rhaj Paul, told Barbados TODAY that if the products that were being made locally were of better quality there would be no problem maintaining market share and competing successfully against imported goods, whether or not duties were paid on those items.
Paul has been putting his designs on t-shirts and selling them for the past three years. He imports plain t-shirts from the United States that he said attracted “over 100 per cent tariff”.
While the designer said he understood the need for duties to be charged on imports to help protect the local industry, he insisted that local manufacturers needed to up their game when it comes to producing quality products and marketing their goods.
“These guys [local garment manufacturers], I swear they are committed to mediocrity. I am not seeing the evidence of you trying to upgrade your product. You are just trying to stop other people from getting their thing in, so that you could maintain a monopoly? So that you can maintain a hold in the local market? I don’t think that is acceptable,” insisted the entrepreneur.
“Personally I would be very happy to be able to go up to Wildey and get my shirts to work with instead of waiting for them to come in from outside and dealing with [not being able to] get the right sizes or colours in the particular sizes and so on. I would be happy to step up and get the shirts that I want right at home . . . I wish I could say my shirts are completely Bajan but I can’t,” he added.
While he acknowledged that sales could be better, Paul said he was satisfied that he was making a name for himself through marketing his products to both locals and tourists.
Paul insisted that people are willing to pay for top quality and rather than gripe about competition, manufacturers had to bring a top product and market effectively.
He added that workers at those companies also need to be motivated in order to “put the best thing on the market, not just the fastest and cheapest thing”.