Jamaican Made Christmas exhibitors praise conceptualiser
BY JAVENE SKYERS Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
EXHIBITORS at the inaugural Continental Baking Company Foundation’s A Jamaican Made Christmas expo could barely keep up with the enormous response from patrons at the two-day event, which saw many booths running out of products on the first day.
The expo, which was held over Sunday and yesterday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, saw crowds of Jamaicans turning out to support local small manufacturers.
“My English isn’t good enough to describe yesterday (Sunday). The exhibitors have been really overwhelmed, a number of them ran out of products, they’ve all restocked, and that’s a good thing. A number of them had to go all the way back to the ‘country’ where they’re based’ and come back, up and ready to run,” Gary ‘Butch’ Hendrickson, chairman and managing director of Continental Baking Company, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
He said that, while he has received a lot of positive responses from the attendees and is appreciative of their support, the expo was really for the exhibitors. He said his desire was to see all 53 exhibitors leave the expo with real success stories.
“We are not waiting until Christmas next year, by March we are going to try and do something; and I give you a hint, it’s going to be in the west,” Hendrickson said, referring to another show in the western part of the island.
The support, although overwhelming, was welcomed by the exhibitors — many of whom did not expect the high level of interest from the public.
“Today (Monday) is a lot slower than yesterday (Sunday), but it’s going good. I’ve never seen a turnout like this at any of the other shows I’ve been to. It was great for us; we were sold out in the first three hours. We restocked overnight and we’re back again today,” a pleased Lise-Ann Harris, proprietor at Treat Confectionery, told the Observer, noting that the expo allowed her products to be seen by representatives of local corporate entities that tend to import gift items for Christmas from abroad.
While considerably slower than Sunday, yesterday afternoon still saw well-stocked booths with exhibitors eagerly anticipating a bump in number of visitors at the end of the work day.
“The second day is good; day one was good so I can’t really complain,” shared Sydia Brown Griffiths, the director of marketing for Sidcile Limited. “We got a lot of traffic, which has put a lot of attention on my business and on the brand; it has really given me a lot of publicity and a lot of visibility. After just one evening, I’m getting Instagram likes even more, Facebook likes even more, so I’m sure it boosted the brand.”
Meanwhile, Sasha Palmer, founder of popsicle company Liqy Liqy — one of the Observer’s 2015 Mogul in the Making top competitors — described the experience as “overwhelming”.
“…We sold out on Sunday by 4 o’clock; we just have to say thanks to National Baking Company, Mr Hendrickson, for putting on this expo for us local manufacturers. It’s another opportunity for us to highlight our products, the right marketing for us, especially small businesses,” Palmer said.
The expo, which carried items such as sweets, hair products, pottery, clothing items, and accessories, saw the addition of other new and innovative local products yesterday. These included container gardens and Nano tanks, referred to as ‘aquatic escapes’, from exhibitor Little Oasis.
The beautiful container gardens consisted of plants, artfully arranged in glass bowls, that only require watering once every two weeks. Customers also have the option of choosing to get fish that are also low maintenance, needing to be fed once every two days and water changed, once every three weeks.
“I thank the Continental Baking Company Foundation on behalf of current and future entrepreneurs. In terms of events, [it’s] probably one of the best, the only difference is the mixed offerings, as shows nowadays are very themed so you have crafters and so on. But my work is art, living art, so you wouldn’t necessarily see it at fairs like this. There’s nothing like this out there, that’s the truth,” Marsha-Rae McBean, creative director of Little Oasis, stated.
“This is great for exhibitors. National Foundation thought of everything, every single detail is so well thought of, and to have another company go through all the trouble to put in all this work on your behalf is just exceptional, so they really should be commended for that,” added a beaming Kelly Magnus, who is the publishing director of the Book Industry Association.