Since moving back to Barbados a few years ago and starting my own businesses, I've become more aware of local products and supporting local businesses.
Supporting Local is not only very practical in a small island where Amazon Prime seems like a distant dream but it has quite a profound ripple effect. In Barbados we tend to have this perception that something from 'overseas' is better than something local, but these brands below are proving that that is definitely not the case.
Supporting local is more than a feel-good, 'it's-worth-paying-more-for-local' matter. It's about increasing supply and demand and in turn, boosting our economy on a whole.
Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than internationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms -- continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.
While Barbados is largely a service-providing country right now, we're still just a generation away from being a nation of producers. The question is: what economic framework will help us reclaim those skills and that potential? Supporting local is a step towards reaching that potential.
Finding out about local products, businesses and services isn't always easy and many businesses depend on word of mouth recommendations to raise their profiles in Barbados. I did some digging for this post and crowdsourced some of these recommendations. I tried to:
- include a wide range of products and ideas, for men and women
- to stay away from the more better known items that have been around for a while
- List items that I like personally
The items below are either made in Barbados or made up of over 75% local products.
Writing a gift guide is a first for me, so I hope to be able to grow this list to include an even wider range next year. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
Island Bags is a range of cosmetic bags and handbags designed and manufactured in Barbados. Each Island Bag is heat printed by hand with a photograph of Barbadian scenes, or of items such as shells and other sea life, or simpler designs such as this cute striped clutch. Check out their Facebook page.
Donating to a local charity
If you're not sure who you would like to support this season or want to donate to a charity in someone else's name, here are a few of my favourite causes and charities that I suggest you check out:
- Operation Triple Threat: Sing. Dance. Act (Pictured above)
Beard Island Gang
For all of the hairy men in your life! 'Flavours' include avocado and hempseed and eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint. You can contact them via Instagram.
Natasha's products are a staple in my home and a my go-to gift for friends and family. From her passionfruit pepper jelly, to her sundried tomato tapenade and stir fry sauces, everything is delicious and made in Natasha's kitchen. She doesn't really use a Facebook page but you can find her at Brighton, Hastings and Holder's Farmer's Markets with her parents who help her out (Note her Dad peeking in to the photo above!)
Something Samarah has everything from cute clutches and bags to bespoke jewellery and Christmas ornaments, all made by hand in Barbados. Her porcelain beads can be soaked in your favourite scents for a subtle hint of perfume all day long. Check her out on Instagram for pricing and custom orders.
|Image on the right by The Morgan Media|
Suga Apple Swim
These swimsuits blew up this year after Rihanna was spotted wearing on and the brand's designs have continued to evolve. They're all very sexy and flattering for various body shapes and most of the printed designs are produced in small batches. Check out their Facebook page.
Frame & Art Co. - The Anonymous Charity Art Show
Over 100 original paintings created in diverse styles and subject matters are featured on 12” x 12” canvases to be sold anonymously. The artist remains a mystery, until after the purchase. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the Nature Fun Ranch which helps young people with their personal development, by cultivating positive outlooks. The ranch allows young people to speak freely with one another about important topics, including HIV/AIDS, providing them with a positive focus to guide their lives in the right direction, in a rural setting while tending to horses, working vegetable patches, or managing fish hatcheries. The show continues through January 14th. Check their website.
Locally roasted coffee and teas with great branding and packaging. They roast and package the coffee fresh to order, using carefully vetted sources, in-season Specialty Grade beans with preferences of Certified Organic, Fair Trade and Regional Sources when possible. You can check them out on their website.
Local Christmas Cards
You can purchase our these local Christmas Greeting Card Set at Brighton Farmers Market on Saturday 17th December or at Holders Farmers Market on Sunday 18th December. Josh Clarke is a local underwater photographer and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Barbados Sea Turtle Project. You can reach Josh on Instagram.
Barbados has dangerously low rates of voluntary blood donations. According to an article published in 2013, less than 200 people are consistent donors. During hectic times of the year like Crop Over and the holidays fewer people come to the centre, making the deficit even more critical. You can read more about donating blood in Barbados - even if you're a visitor to the island! - in my recent blog post. Give the gift of life this holiday season!
Wax Worx is a candlemaking company located in Barbados producing environmentally friendly candles. All of the candles are hand-poured in Barbados using soy wax, cotton wicks and either essential oils or phthalate free scents - they also have beeswax available! These candles contain no chemicals which means that it will burn clean without any pollutants, which is a win win for everyone and the environment. Check out their Facebook page.
Brown Bag Living
This company has made it easier than ever to get your weekly dose of local fruit and vegetables. Subscribe with BBL and get a variety of locally grown produce delivered to your home or office every week. Not only are you supporting a local business, but you're supporting local farmers and suppliers as well. Read more about it and sign up here.
I hope you enjoyed this list! If you have any suggestions for future posts, please get in touch.