Carnival Glam Hub takes centrestage on Trinidad’s beauty scene

Toronto-based music writer @wannasworld is all smiles with her Tuesday glam for her section, Ryoko, designed by Solange Govia. Photo: Azi Photography

The beauty scene truly comes alive at the height of Trinidad Carnival. From makeup to hair for women, to haircuts and other grooming needs for men, there is no doubt that everyone wants to look their best for Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

“We had over 400 people.”

— Businessman Kibwe McGann

Jamaican businessman Kibwe McGann is all too familiar with those demands. After having experienced his own professional shortcomings during Jamaica Carnival 2019, he began to think of solutions that would meet those market gaps.

“The inspiration for Carnival Glab Hub started after my agency was hired to do makeup on eight girls for Jamaica Carnival,” the entrepreneur said.

No easy feat

A makeup artist puts the finishing touches on an eager masquerader at the Carnival Glam Hub on Carnival Tuesday morning. Photo: Azi Photography

“We hired my business partner, Gabrielle Waite, to get the job done, but then found ourselves running up and down between several suppliers Carnival morning, which made little sense and logistically was a nightmare. I thought, ‘there must be a better way’. There wasn’t … so Gabby and I created our own solution.”

It turns out, McGann explained, the rest of the Caribbean had the same challenge.

After successfully executing the Glam Hub experience in Jamaica, it was time to move into the mecca of Carnival – Trinidad.

Founder of Carnival Glam Hub, Jamaican businessman Kibwe McGann. Photo: Azi Photography

McGann reminisces on introducing the product to potential private partners in the twin-island Republic and readily admits that it has not been an easy feat.

“Corporate Trinidad was very sceptical. In some instances, we were told it wouldn’t work and that Jamaica isn’t Trinidad,” he said.

Corporate sponsors

He goes on to rationalise that organisations who have a presence in both islands were the first to support, such as WiPay, Sun Mix and ICEBOX, while other corporate sponsors took some amount of convincing – and financial guarantees.

McGann said that the scepticism also stretched beyond corporate interests.

“I must also add that these restrictions extended to makeup artists, hairstylists and even potential clients,” he said.

A flurry of activity at the Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Trinidad for the first annual Carnival Glam Hub on the island. Photo: Azi Photography

Nevertheless, the beauty professionals came on board, and the final numbers told a different story. On Carnival Monday there were 150 clients that walked through the Grand Ballroom doors at the Hilton Trinidad, and those numbers tripled for Carnival Tuesday.

“We had over 400 people starting from 12 midnight to 2 p.m., which surpassed our expectations,” McGann told BUZZ.

Full range of services

New York-based makeup artist Heidi Paul was impressed with the logistics, look and feel of the Trinidad Carnival Glam Hub experience.

“Carnival Glam Hub takes away a lot of the challenges and makes my job as an artist easier. It gives me the comfort of knowing that all of my clients’ needs are met,” she said.

Soca Princess Nailah Blackman sports her stunning Tuesday makeup look that was done at the Carnival Glam Hub. Photo: Azi Photography

The seasoned makeup artist, who has had soca songstresses Patrice Roberts and Nailah Blackman as clients in the past, appreciated that there was a full range of services offered in one location.

“Whether it’s a costume malfunction to a hair crisis, there is someone that can help customers out,” she said.

One-stop shop

Popular hairstylist Kissa Abdullah of Dollz Beauty Spa, who has worked with a number of carnival bands – including TRIBE Carnival, Fuzion Mas in St Lucia and Zulu International in Barbados – was thrilled with the one-stop beauty shop experience that is offered.

Carnival Glam Hub customers received complimentary transportation from the Hilton Trinidad to meet their band on Carnival Tuesday. Photo: Azi Photography

“The beauty was all in the details and the organisers thought of everything: mirrors and dressing assistants; shuttles each day to take masqueraders to their bands; an overnight bag check and mimosas on the house,” she praised.

With Trinidad Carnival now in the distant past, regional expansion is in the cards for McGann and his Carnival Glam Hub Team.

“We’re taking on Miami and St Lucia carnivals this year as new destinations,” he told BUZZ.

Tenille Clarke is an avid wanderlust, Carnivalist and cultural enthusiast who pens about her ongoing love affair with travel, culture and entertainment through a Caribbean lens. She is the Principal Publicist of Chambers Media Solutions and Managing Director of Industry 360. (@tenilleclarke1 on Instagram/Twitter)