Taken from voyageatl.com Jan 13, 2021
Inspiring Conversations with Jennifer Barbosa of International Supply Partners
Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Barbosa.
Hi Jennifer, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I’ve had several businesses, including a fine jewelry store, mortgage and real estate office, to name a few and started ISP back in 2016 after moving to Atlanta from San Diego with my family. At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom with six kids and a military veteran-husband and have always been a busy body. I wanted something to do while the kids were in school. I needed a challenge and something to look forward to that was my own. Becoming a Government contractor seemed like a great idea at the time and I wanted to provide something that was simple and always in demand. At the time, I still ran my insurance agency, Barbosa Benefits & Financial Services of almost 10yrs but it was on auto-pilot, so I wanted to do something more. As I started to build my network in Atlanta, my insurance agency started to pick up and demand more of me.
My supply company became dormant as I quickly learned, despite all of the certifications I had, competition with big-box companies in the public sector was very high. Fast-forward into 2020. I was going through a very difficult divorce and stabilizing the new dynamic of caring for my three biological children and me on my own with little support. All of a sudden, we are hit with the pandemic, I lose my salary job and I started to get calls and inquiries from my manufacturers, past clients and people who knew of my supply business inquiring about PPE. Almost instantly, I was getting a crash course on a totally disrupted system in logistics, supply chain and medical supplies industry. My current network at the time grew exponentially daily almost. Our sales almost double each month and I immediately realized I could not do it all by myself. I needed a team to match and realize the vision I had for International Supply Partners. Since then, we’ve built our team that entails partners in logistics, sales, transportation and manufacturing. We are able to serve businesses in supplies as well as broker multi-million quantity orders for large health systems and governments.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has NOT been a smooth road at all. Because of the high demand on PPE supplies, a lot of money came into play and a lot of people who were never in the industry seem to have a new company involving PPE overnight. There have been a lot of bad actors who infiltrated the industry and I’ve even lost friendships I held dear due to the prospect of a lot of money potentially on the table. Trust and honesty became rare to find. As big as my network had grown, it also quickly shrunk in some aspects. I had to learn to decipher honest business people with those who were just here to make a quick buck and in a lot of cases, at any cost. My biggest struggle has been funding large orders during a time where net term payments with distributors and manufacturers are hard to come by. Cash is definitely King now, mostly as a result of a lot of scams and orders being unfulfilled because of lack of funding by the customers. As a result, we focus our business on building trust! We realize as a small business, the most important thing we can offer is trust and follow-through in addition to quality products and service. We adhere to FDA, CE and other government regulations and protocols to ensure we are providing the best of the best.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
ISP (International Supply Partners, LLC) is a Minority Woman-Owned wholesale supply and equipment company. Our products include Medical (including PPE, COVID-related products), Office, Janitorial and new line of Hydroponics and Agriculture supplies and equipment. Currently, a majority of our business is in PPE due to the pandemic. We are a small business with the ability to serve big companies. Our Partners include Direct Manufacturers, Logistic Services, Private Air Charters and more! We have the capabilities to make sure each client is supported from order to delivery even during times like now where commercial delivery services are strained and backed up. We are excited about being able to offer State of the Art Technology equipments that can simplify and improve effective operations for our clients in business and the customers they serve.
Right now, two of our most popular items include an AI Digital Thermal Face Detector, which can identify your staff and customers, check temperatures, clock in/out and keep accurate records and our Touchless Mask Vending Stations, these are vending machines that dispense sanitized and individually wrapped 3-ply masks that you can give away or sell and help limit the spread of pathogen virus and diseases. We would like our readers to know that we focus on finding ways to improve and save our clients in the supplies and equipment they need to operate daily. We are constantly watching the market and partnering with manufacturers so we can bring our savings directly to our customers.
How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We are always looking for partnership opportunities and ways to collaborate with other businesses. We truly believe in team efforts and joining forces for mutually beneficial business growth and impact. As a Black-owned business looking to grow internationally, we seek to work with like-minded business owners to find better ways to improve and expand.