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Vincy Pride, 38 Years Strong! (Part 2)
We’re all about our blue, yellow and green throughout the month of October. We anticipate the days when we can come out in our colours and proudly wave the national flag and declare that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the piece of rock in the Caribbean Sea that we are glad to call home. This year after the annual Independence Day parade we had even more activities through which we could express our Vincy pride thanks to Invest SVG. The Everything Vincy Exhibition held at the E.T Joshua Airport over a three day period (October 27th-29th), was the place to be during the independence weekend. This new initiative is aimed at highlighting the products and services that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit as we continue on in nation building. Training workshops were also offered to the business owners who took part in the exhibition to gain knowledge on topics such as customer service and marketing which equips the business owners with tools that would help them take their businesses to the next level. This initiative is one that we are happy to see so well executed and the patrons are excited to attend in the coming years as it gets bigger and better. This is part 2 of the article where we bring you a little insight on some of the exhibitors and their products. If you haven’t read part 1 as yet, click here to view it!
Brio Ché is the brainchild of Bernadette Warren (pictured above) who many may know as Camille. They provide a line of luxury health and beauty products which inlude virgin coconut oil, body scrubs, lotions, lips balms, foot soaks, soy scented candles and massage oils. After looking at the list of products offered by Brio Ché, you’ll notice that just about everything has coconut in it and here’s why. Bernadette was raised primarily by her grandmother and coconut was a huge part of how she earned a living. Along with selling vegetables, she would make and sell coconut snacks and coconut oil and the profits allowed her to provide for Bernadette. She also credits coconut oil as the reason she’s able to stay in good health as she would consume it and use in her hair and on her skin. When Bernadette started out making concoctions to soothe her own and her husband’s skin conditions, she did some research and she knew coconut oil had to be a part of it. The end products were all natural, organic and infused with herbs and healing plants. After they experienced how well the products worked for them and received great reviews from family and friends, she officially registered the Brio Ché business in 2013. The effort that goes into producing such a health conscious yet aesthetically appealing line of products is apparent even in the packaging (which Bernadette shares she plans to make even more eco-friendly). Very soon, you might be able to watch your purchases being made from start to finish; Ms. Warren has high hopes for the next phase of her business which could include a storefront with designated production and retail areas.
Since 1985, Nzimbu Browne has created art that thoroughly reflects the rhythm of Vincentian living. Our history, culture, traditions and landscapes are so eloquently expressed through collages made from what some would consider to be waste. “I take it up and add some intelligence into it” he said as he explained that dried banana leaves and coconut shells are his choice of medium. In addition to his beautiful collages, he also does tie-dye and makes drums. He refers to his creativity as his survival kit as this has been his way of earning a living for over 30 years and his passion and determination shines through in his work ethic. Browne expressed a desire to be on an international market to have his work appreciated and purchased by millions of people and says he’s ready and willing to put in the hard work that this will take.
Melissa Ashton’s Jewelry making talent is actually the gift she prayed for and she’s passionate about putting her blessing to good use. When she made her first pair of earrings she used her teeth to do what her hands couldn’t. Fortunately, her sister saw her need and bought her a pair of pliers which she still uses to this day. She attributes her success thus far to the fact that her aim is to make her customers happy which in turn gives her the greatest feeling of fulfillment. At the moment she makes earrings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, beaded key-chains and has just started dabbling in the production of scented candles. She hopes to eventually have a storefront where she sells not only her jewelry but glass beads and the findings and components that are involved in the craft. She’s eager to continue building her business and see her small beginnings blossom into great achievements.
If you’re an avid snacker, chances are you’ve seen and probably buy several Cyrus Snacks. After retiring from her day job, in 2008 proud owner Betty Cyrus started making plantain chips for sale. Since then, sweet potato, breadfruit, spicy banana, eddoe and sweet cassava chips have been added to the line of snacks offered. It started out as her way of making use of the food items that she saw would go to waste. It has now blossomed into a substantial business that makes the snacks many Vincentians love to munch on. Betty’s products can be found in almost all of our major supermarkets but she hopes to eventually develop the demand necessary to export her snacks.
Michelle Bacchus Barbour the talent behind tasty creations of Me-Shelli Unique started out as a seamstress. Over ten years ago, she learnt the basics of baking from a friend and went on to try out new things to create cakes and cookies as requested by friends and family. She incorporated these two skills as well as her crafting abilities into a venture that would provide a one of a kind wedding package. This package included custom clothing for the bridal party, handmade bouquets and of course, she could provide the wedding cake. Over time, she became more renowned for her baking than her sewing and so she has decided to stick with it.
The Richmond Vale Academy’s attendance was a timely reminder of the role we play in global warming and climate change. This organization has researched and taught lessons on climate change and initiated projects that include beach cleanups, tree planting and setting up model gardens. They also produce informative radio and television programs and hold open days to help spread their message. The team was eager to share flyers and have insightful conversations with the attendees in hopes that more of us will become Climate Activists and fight to make our country more energy, food and disaster secure. Climate change is real and we have to work together to build a nation that can withstand and overcome its effects.
The exhbitors mentioned are only a sample of what the Everything Vincy Exhibtion had to offer. Some of the other businesses that attended the event included Immense Bags, Link Up, Erica’s Country Style, Escape Health and Day Spa, Fanfare Events, Searles Agro Products, Mudulla Propagation, East Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC) and so much more. We can’t wait for next year’s Exhibition!
If you haven’t read part 1 as yet, click here to view it!
Photos by Ricky Hill, exclusively for Express Vinci®
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