A Jamaican Made Christmas: An Explosion of Culture and Design
Happy Weekend!!! It’s the first weekend in 2018 and I hope this finds feeling amazing and having a great day so far. So I know this post is veeeeeeeeeeeeerrrry late and some may say maybe I should just skip it all together but it was such an amazing event that I thought I definitely need to write about it! This long overdue post is just a special spotlight on an event that I thought was an amazing display of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that I think is a great surge of inspiration for the New Year!!!
A little over a month ago, I made the short drive to the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel to immerse myself in the annually held shopping experience, A Jamaican Made Christmas. The event held from Sunday November 26, 2017 to Monday November 27, 2017, saw the Jamaica Pegasus surging into a lively display of Christmas enchantment in a true Jamaican Christmas Grand Market experience. The event was shaping up to be the go-to place for #BrandJamaica entrepreneurs to thrive, flourish and lure in a new set of patrons to their businesses.
When I first entered the event, my sensory overload almost got the best of me as the brilliant and colourful items on display and sweet scents seduced my nose and sent my mouth watering while my eyes stood in a state of disarray as to where to begin my journey. As this was my first time attending the event, the newness of it all added to the tremendous excitement I felt as I looked around the room.
Christmas spirit percolated through the room as innovation, imagination and creativity beamed brilliantly within each display. Droves of artisans and entrepreneurs showcased their amazing Jamaican-produced items while boasting the benefits and uses of each product. No store left behind, there was truly something for everyone and for your pets too. I think Santa may have been out of a job this past Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year came a bit earlier than usual and you were definitely able to shop til you dropped and take home authentic Jamaican gifts for everyone on your Christmas list.
A few stand outs and creatives I really loved were:
Deaf Can Coffee – I first interacted with Deaf Can coffee at the MODA Market. Unfortunately at the time I hadn’t yet tried any of their delicious coffee mixes. But trust me, once I did it was like heavenly warmth spread through my body. With heritage in Top Hill, St. Elizabeth and borne of a renowned Deaf coffee farmer, Deaf Can showcases how a disability does not have to be a limitation. To see more check out the instagram page: Deaf Can Coffee
Hungry Eyes – This vegan catering and diet design company proved how absolutely scrumptious healthy food could be. With delicious samples, especially their Christmas smash hit ‘Sorrel pops’, this company was love at first bite and most definitely can serve a fabulous and healthy dish. To see more check out the instagram page: Hungry Eyes Instagram
Morgan’s Creek – With scents so sweet, I don’t need to be right. This handmade cosmetic company carries a range of skincare and beauty products that are not only good for your skin but also look, feel and smell ah-may-zing!! I was hypnotized the moment I stopped by their booth. To see more check out the instagram page: Morgan’s Creek Instagram
Likkle Tea– If you know me well, then you know I looooove tea. Living in a former British colony, you can say I’m pretty particular when it comes to my teas. And I can say without a doubt that the brews and blends that Likkle Tea makes are absolutely delicious. Perfect to start you day. For mid-morning tea time. For a mid-cricket beverage. To soothe your mind before bed. And even to ‘buss gas’. To see more check out the instagram page: Likkle Tea Instagram
Le Macaroon Pastries and Dessert– First let me say, ‘My sweet tooth made me do it’. I mean, who doesn’t love a good dessert? My taste buds were alive once these delicious pastries landed on my tongue. The perfect composition and right amount of sweetness to make me forgive breaking my diet. A truly tasty treat for every occasion. To see more check out the instagram page: Le Macaroon Instagram
Isle and Lyric – It seems like my nose was being showered with gifts of love when I smelt these body products. The body butters, scrubs and all were just absolutely sensual and alluring every second I inhaled. The perfect gift of pleasure and relaxation for any occasion. To see more check out the instagram page: Isle and Lyric instagram
Froot Silly Preserves – Let me just tell you that these chutneys and preserves are muy bueno!!! They were absolutely delectable and made me even like relish of all things. This is a MUST TRY for any foodie. To see more check out the instagram page: Froot Silly Preserve
Quaint by GSC – My inner fashion diva came alive when I saw the bags offered by this designer. Afro-Caribbean inspirations came alive as these intricate designs of clothes and accessories ignited my desire to see more and wear more of these designs. If you want to make a statement in 2018, try one of these designs. To see more check out the instagram page: Quaint by GSC Instagram
Swypz Plus Wipes – This was one of the first booths that greeted me when I entered A Jamaican Made Christmas. A company advertising locally made wipes and I was like ‘Well I’ll be…’ With glorious scents and a product made for both face and makeup removal while also being gentle enough to wipe a baby’s bottom, these wipes are perfect for all your wet wipes needs. To see more check out the instagram page: Swypz
What I loved:
- For those of you not familiar, Jamaica is a country of pure vibrancy and creativity so it was absolutely fantastic to learn there were so many amazing talents emerging in my country. The sheer level of talent, entrepreneurial spirit, drive, creativity and development going on within Jamaica, made me proud of the leaps that #BrandJamaica is making. There we so many products that I was not familiar with or even knew were being created in Jamaica and it felt amazing to be introduced to and learn about them all.
- I loved the fact that although the event attracted a J $1,000 ($8 US) entrance fee, we were given two J $500 ($ 4 US) gift certificates (redeemable at any booth) on entry to the event. This added tremendous value to our experience and guaranteed that everyone was able to purchase something at the event by redeeming their vouchers.
- The products were all affordable!!!! An issue I had when I attended the Moda Market was that the items were waaaaaaaaay too overpriced, but I’m happy to say that at A Jamaican Made Christmas, everything was reasonable priced; so much so that you wanted to buy everything!!
- I loved the creativity of giving the different aisles that the booths were located at street names that were both Christmas-themed and culturally on point. Are you on Jonkanoo Junction, Egg Nog Avenure or Puddin’ Drive?
- Food!!! There was such a variety of food. Jamaica is so world-renowned for it’s spices, seasonings and flavourful foods so it was great to have so many options to treat and delight the tastebuds.
What I didn’t like:
- I felt the event area was clustered and cluttered. There were so many displays and so many customers, that sometimes it felt like you were tripping over persons just to visit a booth and see everything the entrepreneurs had to offer. I think a much bigger space is needed to allow for ease of customer flow.
- The booths were a bit too standard. While I appreciated the fact that the major event sponsor, The National Bakery, provided the banners and such for each of the participants; I also felt like the uniform and standard look didn’t fully allow all the entrepreneurs to showcase their creativity and uniqueness and it was just a little too bland for me.
It was an absolutely exhilarating event. For me it was truly a place of discovery and wonder as I walked gingerly up and down the aisles. It was a spectacular shopping experience. I really appreciated the event acting as a conduit for connecting amazing and innovative brands with droves of new customers and supporters. I definitely cannot wait for the event later this year!!!!
See more photos of the event below:
*** Tidbit of Info:***
For those of you not familiar with #BrandJamaica, it’s a description used in reference to anything that is made locally in Jamaica for purchase locally or internationally.
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