With gleaming eyes and purses at the ready, patrons swished in and out of booths this weekend (Nov 30 – Dec 1) eager to sample and purchase 100 per cent Jamaican products.
No doubt a testament to its appeal and success, A Jamaican Made Christmas, the ingenious brainchild of the National Baking Company, is a two-day shopping showcase of local products in the categories of food, art, lifestyle and home décor, highly praised by both shoppers and vendors annually.
Now in year five, BUZZ learned that over 100 Jamaican manufacturers and artisans were involved this year, with more than 70 per cent of them being first-time exhibitors. Many of the entrepreneurs are also testing product-to-market fit right there on the AC Marriott Hotel floors, having never done so before.
We arrived on the scene as soon as the doors opened at 10:00 AM on Saturday (Nov 30) to take it all in… On entry, patrons receive a reuseable bag and two vouchers valued at $500 each to redeem at any booth inside and, as expected, from Pudd’n Drive to Egg Nog Avenue, there was much niceness to shop and see.
Here’s what we’re buzzing about:
Reggaetawa Pickled Saltfish Roast by Michelle Brown — fantastic, much-loved and soon-to-be found on shelves islandwide.
Roseberry Paper Company — super-cute, hand-made, personalised greeting cards by creator-in-chief Nakeeta Nembhard
Time Framed — magical clocks and resin coasters by the woman who can make pretty much everything, designer Simone Michelle [Neilson] and her radiant assistant, model Abihail Myrie, daughter of Grammy Award-winning international reggae artiste, Buju Banton.
Odyssey by Yendi — faith-based merchandise and heavenly, hand-made scented candles by Miss Universe  first runner-up, Yendi Phillipps.
Hungry Eyes Vegan Foods — healthy plant-based snacks, sorrel and Bashy Basket calabash Christmas gift packs [because ‘eyes eat too’] by nutrition advocate and caterer Natalia Welsh
Fen Made pepper sauce and jelly — by Miss Universe Jamaica 2014, Kaci Fennell Shirley [we especially loved her Christmas gift package, complete with pepper board].
Baughaus Designs by Dana Baugh — always exceptional, affordable and lovely creations inspired by life in Jamaica
Charlene Collins Photography — eye-catching and printed on canvas.
Reve Jewellery by Duane & Teasea Bennett — always elegant, unique and fabulous.
The Author’s Corner — so many awesome books by local writers for adults and children alike.
Stephanie Lue-Yen, visual artist — with a smile as bright and beautiful as her work.
Trench Town Ceramics — by the Trench Town Ceramics and Art Centre [check out the hand/pushcart and domino board… brilliant!]
Dae Collection — stylish sandals, made from repurposed leather by former journalist, Debra Edwards
Chocollor — Jamaican chocolates by former engineer, Carl Sharpe
A Jamaican Made Christmas is an exceptional event designed to build Brand Jamaica and inspire a culture of shopping for premium products within our shores.
It is clearly very well curated and organised —all exhibitors interviewed described it as ‘seamless’— and, admittedly, everything was amazing and well worth purchasing, including the options in the food court outside.
For a $1,200 admission fee, which is inclusive of a shopping bag, two gifts worth $1,000, the chance to comfortably feast your eyes on over 100 Jamaican works of art – rain or shine, as it’s indoors, and purchase unique, local products for yourself or Christmas gift-giving – this experience is more than worth it!
See more highlights in our gallery below
— Written by Tami Tsansai