Jamaica-based Black Ink Marketing & Event Solutions Limited was established in August 2011 by its CEO and founder Maxine Miller, a marketing and communication expert with over a decade of experience. During its early days, the firm specialized in providing marketing consultancy and promotional sales support to a handful of clients in Jamaica. This quickly blossomed into a multifaceted company with more than ten years of experience as a top marketing and event solutions agency in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
Black Ink started at a time when Maxine was grappling with a failed partnership, in which she was taken advantage of, and so she decided to walk away and has never looked back since. Maxine never wanted to stay under the proverbial glass ceiling and be dependent on another person’s vision of growth for her life. So, she decided to create her own space and grow far beyond limit. “It is often said that the sky is the limit, but there is vast space out there beyond the sky…sky on top of sky.”- she states. “In retrospect, this has been the biggest blessing as I have realized that I was helping someone chase their dreams, not mine.”
Before founding Black Ink, Maxine served accumulatively fifteen years at Couples Swept Away and Sandals Beaches Negril respectively as an Entertainment Manager. She was regarded as one of the most innovative in the industry, says Jeremy Jones a former boss and mentor. Maxine developed ‘excellence’ in the entertainment staff from training in guest interaction; microphone and equipment technique; grooming and deportment; interpersonal skills; internal customer relations; and time management, etc. She was exceptionally creative in planning group and individual guest activities and entertainment programs and participated in numerous overseas Sales and Marketing activities promoting the resorts.
After serving Sandals Beaches Negril, she moved to Red Stripe / Diageo where she started with the company as a Sales Representative and quickly made her mark as one of the best on the team from winning monthly incentives and awards to then being promoted and relocated to Red Stripe’s head office in Kingston, Jamaica as an On Trade Channel & Route Executive. The Route Channel Reinvigoration Initiative was her main assignment, where she designed and implemented several Marketing Activities/ Below the Line Activities for the company’s Route customers. She served at Red Stripe / Diageo for six years.
For the past eleven years, Black Ink has operated as a multifaceted firm offering a full range of services to help clients build their brands, increase sales and consumer awareness, and improve their business performance and ROI. Under Maxine’s leadership, the firm offers a wide range of services, from field force management, where it recruits, trains, and handles staffing for its clients’ projects. It also provides event management, integrated marketing communications, and content creation for its clients. In a nutshell, Black Ink operates as a full-service agency; and it does everything from ideation and planning stages to execution to post-event reporting and analysis.
In 2018, Maxine led her firm to expand its repertoire further by establishing Black Ink Images and Signs Limited. With the new sister company specializing in large format printing and custom fabrication, they acquired best-in-class machinery to ensure high-quality results from the design to fabrication process of lit and non-lit signs, banners, retail displays, booths, vehicle wraps, and more. Maxine’s vision for the business was now in full effect, so they are rebranded and repositioned as A Creative Marketing and Branding Agency. Recently, the organization was recognized as the winner of the Productivity Innovator Award for 2022, the top prize in the corporate category presented by the Jamaica Productivity Center, an arm of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Additionally, Black Ink is a proud member of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association with an unmatched reputation in the Caribbean region.
The Transformational Leader
Maxine is a transformational leader, enabling her employees to reach Black Ink’s goals using creativity, experience, resources, and technology. She says, “My style carries the five F’s…Focus, Fair, Frank, Friendly, and Firm. I am driven by my instinct, talent, and heart. I have never questioned and looked at what others are doing to the left or right of me. Fame is not my end game…I just want to be successful at doing what I love; if fame comes along with that, I’ll take it. God enables me…and I will forever sing of His goodness.”
As the firm’s leader, Maxine feels blindly following other people’s advice and not going with her gut feeling was one of her biggest mistakes. However, now she has learned not to allow anyone to dumb down her abilities, vision, or passion.
Tackling the Pandemic
When the pandemic brought uncertainties to the global market, and everyone started looking at the economic crisis and pondering about the next step, Black Ink decided that it needed to come out on the other side of the pandemic in a much better way. Maxine remembered the advice from one of her learned friends to “keep the faith” and went into ‘faith activation mode’ and invested in machinery that would allow the company to take on much bigger projects.
“Now, I thank God for responding to my faith. As a leader, one must take calculated risks.“ – she said.