Caribbean recipes are simple and complex, but when done right, they’re always flavorful. Spice, seasonings and the cook’s “hand” come together to produce bites as rich as the culture from which they originate.
If you’re Caribbean, you’ve probably asked your mom, aunt or grandmother about one of their must have ingredients or you must have had at least one experience where your mother, grandmother or aunt asked you to pass a seasoning cube. They swear by it: Cubes are the ingredient that you MUST have.
In recent years, the world has become more concerned with maintaining health, and people have become more concerned about how the things which they intake affect their health. Cubes have become a little less common in Caribbean kitchens because they contain an ingredient called monosodium glutamate; an ingredient that researchers have labelled detrimental to health. Amongst other reasons, Regina Smith from the Bahamas started Firehouse Spice Co. to provide a healthy alternative to adding flavor to one’s food.
Take a peek at her story.
What is the name of your company?
Firehouse Spice Co.
What products or services does your company provide?
Spices, Seasonings, Sauces, Infused Oils, etc.
If you were headlining a UN event or Ted Talk, how would you love to hear/see your company introduced?
Firehouse Spice Company, located in The Bahamas, produces spices, seasonings and marinades. The company was established to encourage, promote, and sustain the growth and development of unique and authentically Bahamian products.
What inspired the birth of this company?
There was a lack of diversity and creativity with Bahamian products. Quality and consistency became the driving force behind brand and created a market that preferred quality over price. The company also helps alleviate wastage of local produce by creating value added products.
Do you have any co-founders and/or notable team members?
Our advisory board members, Julie Kennedy, Gustavius Smith and Assistant Production Manager, Ruthmae Smith.
How do you think your company solves any of your village, community, country or region’s problems?
We are offering a healthier alternative to seasonings and products that contain artificial preservative and unhealthy stabilizers and additives like MSG. We also support local farmers by purchasing their produce and sourcing all of our raw materials locally.
What would you say has been your greatest challenge as a company thus far and how have you overcome it or how are you working to overcome it?
We are working to increase our capacity to manufacture our products more effectively and efficiently. With a limited staff compliment there are delays in production. As demand increases and we begin exploring exporting and wholesale options to supply grocery stores, our supply production must increase. We are working on this in the second phase of our business. We are looking at innovative ways to effectively address this issue.
What would you say has been your greatest triumph/achievement as a company thus far?
One of our greatest challenges was rebuilding after structural damages to our processing lab after Hurricane Matthew. We applied for many grants after that to source funding for capacity building and rebuilding and marketing. We were successful by becoming a 2017 recipient ($10,000 USD) of the Island Luck: Own Bahamas grant competition. This helped us purchase equipment and machinery that has assisted tremendously with the growth we’ve experienced within the last year.
What would be your advice to other Caribbean entrepreneurs?
Be persistent, Be fearless and Be innovative. We are special individuals that have so many talents. No matter your goal, vision or business idea, keep working towards it. it won’t happen overnight but eventually the hard work will pay off.
What is your vision for entrepreneurship in your country or in the Caribbean?
My vision for entrepreneurship in The Bahamas is to see men and women reshaping the culture and economy in our country. I would like to see us entering non-traditional fields like technology, agriculture and sustainable development. I would like to see like minded individuals thinking outside the box and creating friendships and partnerships that are mutually beneficial and profitable. I would also like to see the encouragement of non-traditional industries from the classroom; it’s ok to go against the grain and explore your passion.
I do believe government should make funding and support more available for small business through networking and strengthening Caribbean relations throughout the region. We need to move away from selfish thinking and realize that together we can accomplish so much more!
What would you say has been your most valued entrepreneurial lesson thus far?
My most valuable lesson so far has been to find your circle. That network of friends and family are important because they will support you during your highs and lows. They will motivate and believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself and they will be the ones to push you and keep you going. Cherish and appreciate them. Your win is their win!
The Woman Behind The Company
Country of Birth
Country of Residence
Favorite Music Artist
What are the three books that have most influenced your life?
- Secret by Rhonda Byrne
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou
- 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
What recent purchase of yours has most positively impacted your life?
My Nikon Camera. It has been great documenting life through my eyes even though its only for personal viewing. I love beach scenes and nature shooting.
How has a failure of yours set you up for later success?
I have failed so many times through deals falling through, failing to meet deadlines, and failed recipes. However, by failing so many times I have learned the value of perseverance and can enjoy success as it begins to happen. I’ve also learnt to be humble and to respect and acknowledge all persons that I meet.
What is a quote that you think of often or live your life by?
- Do good and good will follow.
- Love thy neighbor as thyself
What is one of the most worthwhile investments that you have made
Investing in my dreams as an entrepreneur through courses, certificates and business ideas.
In the past three years what belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life?
Don’t give up! has been my life motto, when the road seems dark and rough be the light that you need to see your way through.
What advice would you give to a school leaver in your country about the braving the uniqueness of the entrepreneurial environment in your country?
Don’t mind the noise in the market. Follow your passion and stick to your dreams. Set goals, create a plan and execute!!
When you feel overwhelmed/unfocused what do you do?
Go to the beach
Who most inspires you? What about their life, habits or model have inspired you?
My greatest inspiration has been my parents and my grandmother. Their lives have always been about family, self and love. Take care of your family, take care of yourself and give everyone love. Family has always been a big motivator in my life. I am inspired by our togetherness. Whenever there’s an issue we come together to solve it. Money, fame and riches will come and go but family will always be there!