“I love people. I love the act of business. I love to sell. I love to meet people’s expectations and needs.”
Sinclair Flemming is the owner and CEO of P3, Paper Plastic Products Inc., a business he started in 2013, that provides single-use dining and sanitation items. Offering FREE delivery on their wide range of products including utensils, napkins, toiletries and dispensers, P3 also carries adult and children’s diapers, and office supplies like notebooks, notary stamps, staplers and printing paper.
P3’s goal is to provide its customers with the highest service possible, with on time delivery and trained service professionals who can not only help small businesses grow through cost effective products but keep existing businesses thriving with quality products.
Sinclair says he started P3 while working for his family business, Billy’s Supermarket, in Long Bush, Tortola. While he managed that business, he also assisted his father, who was a contractor, with payroll and other duties. He also helped his mother with her home goods store, by doing the heavy lifting, and procuring some items.
While at Billy’s, some customers started asking him to source some items, which prompted him to do research. Sinclair says that even though he has a passion for business, specifically the act of selling and dealing with customers, he did not plan to start a business, especially one like P3.
He explains, “I know something was in the making…I realized that I could provide a service, and I did. It was a side business and people kept asking and I kept meeting their expectations, and it grew…It snowballed into what we have today.”
And snowballed is a good way to put it. P3 has expanded into large warehouses in Johnson’s Ghut, Tortola; carries its own brands, Eco-Island and Reserve; has more than 200 licenced barcoded items; along with trademarks in the US, Asia and BVI.
“I feel like I was naturally born into the entrepreneurial spirit. But I think I [started business] the hard way. I went from selling one case to hundreds of cases very quickly. There were times where I felt overwhelmed, especially in the area of financing. I evolved as the business evolved.”
What makes P3, Paper Plastic Products Inc. stand out from other supplies? According to Sinclair, it’s customer service.
“Every single person on the team deals with customer service. Everyone has to learn and go through customer service training. Everyone has to learn how to direct sell. We really try to meet the expectations of certain customers. We learn to read people and get them satisfied.”
Sinclair also says consistent pricing is also attractive, and notes that prices are not altered very often. And if they are, P3 communicates the same and tries to keep the price of a product at that level for a period of time.
P3, like other private enterprises has been growing steadily over the past five years, but was impacted like other businesses due to COVID-19. Even before that, the CEO said that there have been challenges since the 2017 hurricanes.
“Our business success depends on our customers’ success. With the economy being a bit slower than it normally is, it’s been a bit challenging. I think private enterprise does a good job pivoting, some industries have gone down and others have grown. We supply to almost everyone, so I think we’re in a good spot.”
Sinclair says he has had to lesson inventory because of logistics and shipping issues caused by the pandemic, and says he is hopeful this is only a “hiccup” for a moment in the long future to come.
What’s next for P3? Sinclair says that before 2017, supplies have been successfully sent to the Lesser Antilles, and has a goal to supply to the neighbouring US Virgin Islands, and the rest of the region.
“What we want is boots on the ground. We have infrastructure, personnel and inventory. It’s hard to do a hot roll out with COVID, but we will have a very strong presence in St. Croix, St. Thomas very soon. Our ultimate goal is to have a global infrastructure, including Asia, Africa and Europe. If we can do it, we will.”
The young entrepreneur also says that he has plans to extend his human resources department, to ensure the mental health of the staff is looked after. Sinclair recognises that the business can’t grow without a healthy and dedicated staff and wants to have a robust HR team that can counsel staff in things even outside of the business.
This passion for mental health on the job, also extends to the wider community. Sinclair has made his support for mental health public, and plans to create a platform that will create safe spaces and connect the right people.
Sinclair explains that this is community service, a way of giving back to the community, adding, “I want to bring value to others. Most of us are put here to do that… and even doing things that people can use as a resource.”
While the platform is still being built, Sinclair encourages others to reach out to him to help establish a network of carers to create an environment that encourages positive attitudes towards mental health.
Sinclair also has advice for young entrepreneurs: “Perfection is the enemy of progress.”
“Too many people have ideas but they’re worried about if it’s good enough or what others will think, or if it will make money…People are busy trying to pass me, and they’re not even on the road. If you’re trying to win the game, you have to be in the game. You’re passing zero people if you’re in park. Just get into it.”
He says the most important thing is to just start, while acknowledging that not every business goal will be having a million dollar business.
“Not everyone has the same goals. I like big goals. I want to go global. That’s me. If you choose to cook and sell meals for your community on weekends, that’s your goal. You also reserve the right to change. Just start doing it. Realize that you may be terrible. But you don’t know anything. The only way to get better is to get experience. The only way to get experience is to do.”
Sinclair’s big goals extend beyond P3, with plans for alternative energy solutions, resort ownership – and a helicopter.
“I want to land my helicopter on the roof of one of the buildings in my resort.”
When asked what he wanted to share with customers, if this was the only thing they read, Sinclair said, “I want my customers to know that I truly appreciate them even looking in my direction or supporting me in any shape or form. The world is so small now, especially with Amazon and other vendors.”
“People depend on us. I appreciate the confidence that they put in the company and their supporting us. If this is the only thing people read, I am preaching gratitude.”
Contact P3 by visiting their website www.p3vi.com, telephone or What’s App at (284) 494-3331/2 or 442-3331, email , or connect via social networks @p3paperplasticproducts.