Charles passionate about the environment
Shalika Charles is the owner of Lune x Jefa which is an eco-friendly company that offers reusable straws, stainless steel bottles, natural loofahs, kitchen sponges, and facial pads.
The businesswoman said that she decided to sell eco-friendly products as she wanted a brand that does not impact the world negatively.
“I wanted to create a brand that doesn’t negatively impact the world. So, when I thought about something that could help, I wanted to tap into what is best in the long run. I was exposed to a business that provides eco-friendly products and I just thought “Shalika you need to create your own brand of these products”. A brand that then becomes recognized in the region for being eco-friendly whilst creating a lifestyle,” she said.
Adding that she always wanted to start her own business as she wants to leave a positive impact on society and the region by extension.
“I have always wanted to own my own business. I always wanted my name on something, and I really cannot stress that enough. Moving forward I want my life to leave a positive impact on society and the region. I will not be physically able to be a fire officer for the rest of my life, it is not something I can leave for my family. So that is what pushed me more, leaving something behind that helps and not hinders,” she said.
The former Lodge School student said that the response thus far has not been as strong as she had hoped but she is hopeful that by starting an education drive persons would become sensitized to why they should invest in an eco-friendly product.
“The response hasn’t been as great as I would have hoped but I’m hoping that with more education persons would be willing to pay a little more to do their part. Because what is the sense of buying the cheaper items if they destroy the planet? What will the future generations have to look forward to? Small changes have a great impact. Also, in the long run, the upfront cost ends up being cheaper because the products last longer or they are reusable so there is no need to constantly repurchase or replace,” she said.
Outside of being an entrepreneur, Shalika Charles is a fire officer at the Barbados Fire Service. She said she decided to become a firefighter because she always wanted to help persons in her community.
“A part of me always wanted to help. I know it sounds cliche but that is essentially what it is. I wanted that I was not working hard to make someone else rich, I wanted my hard work to mean something. With this job it does. We don’t only save lives, we protect properties that people would have worked so hard to get,” she said.
She added that one of the challenges she has had as a female fire officer is that persons question her a lot as it pertains to her size as she is 5 ft 5, 120 pounds,
“I usually get questioned a lot when it comes to my size. I mean come on I am 5” 5’ and 120 pounds but I know how strong I am, and I know that no one person can do everything alone. What society needs to realize now is that bigger does not always mean better, we are no longer in an age where fire officers only need to be big and strong. Yes, being strong is good but we also need to be smart, our job involves knowing a bit about everything. A lot of education takes place to become a fire officer to a point where several fire officers are EMTs, so when you see one know that you are looking at a professional,” she said.
Charles said one of the highlights of being a female fire officer is the joy young girls have when they see her.
“One of the highlights of my career has been how little girls look at me when they see that I’m a fire officer. I would say children altogether but when I was their age, I was not exposed to anything like that to believe I could be such a strong woman. Seeing that light in their eyes is always a great feeling,” she said.
The owner of Lune x Jefa which can be found on Instagram @lunexjefa said that Barbadians should purchase her products as a way of protecting the environment.
“We need to take care of our surroundings if we want a good quality of life. I understand that it will not be easy, but it is necessary. I would like that Barbados as a whole becomes more eco-conscious so that every household has sustainable products,” she said.
Charles said that one of the highlights of her business thus far is to know that she has someone interested in her products.
“Every sale I receive as having someone interested in what I have is such an overwhelming feeling. I am still just starting out as I am trying to get a steady supply of products so when someone gets a product and tells me how great it is I end up overflowing with joy,” she said.
The fire officer and businesswoman also wished to thank Ashley Phillips from Bijou MEDIA and Branded Bunch for working with her on ensuring her business dream become a reality.
I wish to thank Bijou media and Ashley Phillips for really being a catalyst for all these opportunities. Joining Branded Bunch has been great so far and I look forward to growing more with everyone involved,” she said. (Write Right PR Services)
Shalika Charles was also featured on Mornin' Barbados where she was interviewed by veteran broadcaster Pearson Bowen, to watch that interview click the link below: