Pennywise but not pound foolish

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 22:45

They may be named Pen­ny­wise but they are not pound fool­ish.

While many com­pa­nies have been buck­ling un­der the pres­sure of chal­leng­ing eco­nom­ic con­di­tions, Pen­ny­wise Cos­met­ics Ltd has not on­ly been sur­viv­ing, they have been thriv­ing.


Pen­ny­wise’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Dalvi Paladee said the com­pa­ny had record­ed its best re­sults this year when com­pared to the past five years.

“We are very strong, we are able to com­pete with any­body lo­cal or in­ter­na­tion­al,” Paladee said.

On Mon­day, Pen­ny­wise opened its sec­ond plaza and its tenth lo­ca­tion around Trinidad.

The lat­est Pen­ny­wise Plaza is lo­cat­ed along the Narsa­loo Ra­maya Marg Road in Ch­agua­nas.


Paladee did not give the size of the com­pa­ny’s in­vest­ment in­to the project. But he ex­pect­ed that it would reap div­i­dends.

“Rather not say about mon­ey ob­vi­ous­ly we live in Trinidad we are very cau­tious,” he said.

Paladee said the com­pa­ny had been able to achieve this growth by prop­er plan­ning and in­no­va­tion.

“This is be­cause of plan­ning, we are aware that the econ­o­my is flat or go­ing a lit­tle mi­nus. This year Pen­ny­wise’s growth rate has been the most for over the last five years. That’s be­cause of in­no­va­tion,” Paladee said.

But Pen­ny­wise is not stop­ping there, Paladee said as he an­nounced plans to even­tu­al­ly open a plaza in North­ern Trinidad.

Last year Pen­ny­wise opened an out­let at Long Cir­cu­lar Mall.

“We want to do one more like this in the North, ob­vi­ous­ly it will be a lit­tle big­ger than this one (Pen­ny­wise Plaza in Ch­agua­nas). This one is big­ger than the La Ro­maine branch. It is al­most iden­ti­cal as you can see, it is like a twin but it is big­ger and more spa­cious,” Paladee said.

Pen­ny­wise CEO said there were no plans as yet to open in To­ba­go.

“We will set­tle in­to the big­ger…where the peo­ple can come to us,” Paladee said.

The newest Pen­ny­wise Plaza was con­struct­ed in six months.

“What you are see­ing to­day is a liv­ing mir­a­cle that God has put for every sin­gle one of us to see un­fold in front our eyes,” Paladee said.

He said it was a com­bi­na­tion of hard­work, per­se­ver­ance, grit and team­work that helped the plaza come to fruition.


The new plaza is lo­cat­ed next to the Xtra Foods Plaza.

Paladee said a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Anand Naipaul of Xtra Foods and him­self lead to this mo­ment.

“The prop­er­ty we are stand­ing on is be­cause of his in­ter­ac­tion with me about six years where he came to my of­fice and tried to get me to rent the place that he is at now and we told him that we are not rent­ing any more we are wait­ing and buy­ing and ex­pand­ing as we go,” Paladee said.

“And so with that con­ver­sa­tion what­ev­er hap­pened tran­spired with God’s grace; some­how this prop­er­ty that was here two years pri­or to that con­ver­sa­tion sud­den­ly came in­to our pos­ses­sion and that is God’s grace,” he said.

Naipaul likened the Pen­ny­wise Plaza to Dis­ney­land.

“This is mag­ic, this is ab­solute mag­ic I was pass­ing here go­ing to work and every­day I would see some­thing go­ing up it was so well co-or­di­nat­ed it’s just amaz­ing it’s like Dis­ney­land where you just wake up one morn­ing and every­thing is done and it came out so beau­ti­ful,” Naipaul said.

Paladee said Pen­ny­wise now had at least 18 store brands.

“When we bring our own brands we car­ry prices down,” Paladee said.

“We choose the brands that the peo­ple are look­ing for and we in­no­vate, some­times make our own brands and of course work very close­ly with our in­ter­na­tion­al trade part­ners to make sure that we give you all the best prices ever,” he said.

Paladee said the next step in the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s progress was suc­ces­sion plan­ning.

“The next step is the chil­dren are com­ing in, I have three boys and they are com­ing in­to the busi­ness,” Paladee said.

This will bring new ideas, he said.


“We have one who is a phar­ma­cist; he is go­ing to come on in 2020 and he is go­ing to run the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal de­part­ment and you are go­ing to get very short­ly What­sApp in­for­ma­tion where you could send in your pre­scrip­tion and get it in 20-30 min­utes and we are al­ready num­ber one in eth­i­cal drugs in on­ly three years,” Paladee said.

Pen­ny­wise was found­ed by the late Lall Paladee and sup­port­ed by his wife Shan­ti Lall-Paladee.

Paladee would walk door to door sell­ing pins and clips dai­ly while his wife helped by earn­ing some mon­ey as a seam­stress.

He won a bi­cy­cle in a raf­fle which he used to ride for many miles dai­ly, and sold but­tons and oth­er hab­er­dash­eries door to door.

He used to as­sist a friend with sell­ing items at the Ch­agua­nas mar­ket on week­ends and the friend then moved on to some­thing bet­ter and of­fered the mar­ket stall to Paladee.

Paladee and his chil­dren sold at the mar­ket to­geth­er. They even­tu­al­ly opened an­oth­er lo­ca­tion at the Tu­na­puna mar­ket and ex­pand­ed their port­fo­lio as the busi­ness grew.

In 1984, they opened their first re­tail store at Ari­ma.

“I dropped out of school be­cause my dad want­ed me to be a phar­ma­cist; that was his ide­al. I told him let me drop out of school, I can take this lit­tle busi­ness and do some­thing with it and we took our broth­ers out of school and the one who had his de­gree al­ready and we worked as a unit and this is the out­come,” Paladee said.