Shop Local For D’ Christmas

What a year!

2020 has truly been one hell of a daunting rollercoaster ride but we’ve made it to December despite all the challenges and I don’t know about you guys, but I sure am grateful!

I was stuck in the UK for basically the entire year but I made it back home in time for .. *clears throat* “ the most wonderful time of the year” ! 

It’s Christmas time and to all my international readers Trini Christmas is the BEST thing you could ever experience! The music which is called parang, the food, the cleaning, the energy in the air, everything is just so joyful and crazy at this time and I absolutely love it with all my heart. However, like a true Trini, I have found myself waiting until now to start shopping for presents and during my hunt, for unique, locally made items, I came across some absolutely amazing artisans that can take every penny I own.

COVID-19 related restrictions and closures impacted almost all of T&T’s small businesses in several challenging ways. This global pandemic has thrown one too many curveballs our way, which really forced businesses especially small business owners to constantly shift and test their ability to remain open, resilient, and profitable. Moreover, several people lost their jobs forcing hobbies or side hustles to become the main sources of income.

With the holiday season now in full swing and the madness level through the roof, it is more important than ever to keep our small businesses in the front of our minds when tackling our shopping lists. Amazon can be super convenient right now, don’t get me wrong and I am definitely not telling you what to do but while online shopping can be convenient, what “warm and fuzzy” feeling do you get from that type of transaction? Does the ease of shopping trump the emotional benefits you would feel from contributing to someone’s livelihood during a terribly trying time by shopping local? The ability we all have to support our country’s brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, neighbours, friends — all the people who make our community and country a wonderful place to live — will always be worth the collective time and effort in my book.

Shopping local also has several environmental benefits. As you know I am an environmental blogger so I must throw that in somewhere but, we will save that article for another time. I would, however, like to highlight that all the businesses listed below are taking actionable steps to reduce their environmental impact by providing either reusable packaging, incorporating low waste strategies, using organic and ethically sourced natural materials, and providing discounted refills. No one business is perfect, as going 100% zero waste is extremely ambitious and mostly unattainable but the small steps today has major contributions later on and as the consumer, we can make better choices to support those who are trying to protect the environment.

Ok so enough rambling from me, let’s get into the list!

1.       Aféxan’s Cosmetics is an all-natural and organic skin and hair care company with products made from 100% Organic Grade A Shea Butter and African Black Soap.  Produced naturally and without chemicals, Aféxan brings you the finest quality ingredients with eco-friendly packaging. They dedicate their craft to helping women in remote parts of West Africa so every purchase helps support these women to financially contribute to their family’s wellbeing. To learn more follow Aféxan on Instagram, Facebook or visit their website to order!

2.       Afrocessories- It’s NOT a wrap, it’s a HAT!” Afrocessories is the creation of Marcia Seales-Rodney, and was born from a way to make a favourite accessory—the often elaborate headwrap—easier to wear. Boasting a wide range of fabrics and patterns, from spandex to cotton, bold colours from Ankara to Kente prints, Afrocessories represents an innovative way to protect natural hair. The brand boasts of two main designs: The AfroBonnet, their very first design, and the Lola Turban, which is made from soft stretchy material and features a more conservative knot. Follow Afrocessories on Instagram, Facebook or visit their website to order.

3.       Bamboo-bash  is a place where one can find quality products at affordable prices made from bamboo and calabash. To learn more follow Bamboo Bash TT on Instagram and Facebook.

4. Craftii Meraki specializes in handmade, hand stitched journals along with journal making workshops. They provide high quality, beautiful journals that are fabric covered or leather-bound. They believe in doing the things that bring us joy thereby encouraging us to use journaling as a tool to heal, to explore ourselves on a deeper level or simply record anything that is noteworthy. To order follow Craftii Meraki on Instagram or Facebook.

5.       Chantal Quamina Accessories (CQ Accessories) is a jewellery and accessory brand based in Trinidad and Tobago. Chantal blends her love for painting and fine art with her love for fashion to create beautiful hand-painted earrings, handbags, reusable shopping bags and other fashion accessories. Each piece is vibrant, unique, and made with the Caribbean woman in mind. To order visit CQ Accessories Website and follow them on Instagram and Facebook !

6.       Handmade BY Nitaki – As a result of the downtime COViD-19 placed in some of our lives, Klisha Murray decided to resume crocheting, a hobby that she picked up during her pregnancy. Three years later and she finally got the motivation to start Handmade by Nitaki. They specialize in beautifully crafted crochet pieces, mainly bikinis and crop tops and custom orders to fulfil every client need. To order follow Handmade By Nikati on Instagram!

7.       Hannah’s Hand Made – A well-curated soap brand born out of a desire for Hannah to use her chemistry degree to create stunning neutral pH tested soap bars that are 100% safe for your skin! Her love for soap making has extended into creating facial serums, facial mists, face masks, hand lotions and the occasional body scrub. Follow Hannah’s Hand Made on Instagram, Facebook and to order visit their website !

8.       Herbarn Teas is an online organic tea shop. They provide premium, tasty organic teas and tisanes that promote good health and well-being. The tea shop provides an opportunity for its customers to create their own tea blends or to choose from a growing list of signature blends created in Trinidad and Tobago. The tea shop also features a teabag option that is 100% biodegradable and plastic-free! If you prefer your teas loose, no worries, you are covered too! Check out Herban Teas on Instagram and check out this form to order !

9.      Juwelz WOOD Signs– 100% handmade wood signs created with either recycled or new wood for any occasion! Made with love and a special paint technic these signs can be customised with your favourite quotes to bring life to your home. Follow Juwelz Wood Signs on Instagram and Facebook for more !

10. Ktreadz Socks – is a uniquely designed socks brand guaranteed to bring style and fashion to your feet. D’ Savannah Collection is creatively curated to bring different fun elements of the Queens Park Savannah to a comfortable pair of socks enhancing your feet. The line has four designs the yellow poui, the pink poui, Timarie and Snowcone. With each pair of socks purchased a face mask is donated to Servol Cascade. Keep up to date to with Ktreadz on Instagram and Facebook! To order check out their website!

11.   Kavir Mootoo is an artist/sustainable Fashion Designer producing hand-painted Organic Cotton, Bamboo and Hemp Sweatshop-free T-shirts and Tank Tops for Men and Women. He also gives previously used clothing new life with his intricate designs and provides custom pieces to satisfy all your needs. Kavir also designs brooch and pendant paintings that could either be worn or displayed on easels or on the wall. Canvas paintings of a variety of sizes and prices are also available starting at $150. These stunning pieces are available at shopcaribe.com/store/kavirmootooart with free delivery in TT or at Kavir’s Open Studio Sale in Bel Air, La Romain on Sundays from 9am-12noon and 4-7pm. Follow Kavir on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with his work!

12.   My beach My Water, provides sustainable island living through a variety of eco-friendly products that are all handmade with the customer in mind. Their products include face and body wash bars, scrub bars, shampoo and conditioners bars, soap accessories (soap pads, soap bags), bamboo cutlery kits, bamboo toothbrushes, natural insect repellent in a refillable glass bottle dropper or spray, natural sunscreen in refillable glass jars, after-sun lotion, mango body butter, foot soaks, foot moisturisers all in glass jars than can be refilled or returned for a rebate, WHO Formulation 2 hand sanitizers and sunhats to keep you safe from the sun at the beach or elsewhere while also having fun. Their products can be ordered online via the Planting Seeds Website: https://plantingseedscaribbean.com/store/store/my-beach-my-water-ltd/ and they also have a physical store: Lot#24 Southern Main Road, Mc Bean Village. Couva. Follow My Beach My Water on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with their work!

13.   Truth Treats – is a small batch dessert company which offers healthier versions of your favourite treats. All their treats are Vegan and Gluten-free and use as little refined sugar as possible. They use eco-friendly packaging and strive to be as eco-friendly as possible. At present they offer an array of yummy cookies, cupcakes and brownies. Orders can be placed via DM on our Instagram page @truth.treats.

14.   The Last Straw & More TT provides sustainable alternatives for single-use plastics, which can either be biodegradable or reusable. Available for purchase are: Reusable bamboo straws (100% Natural, Biodegradable & Customizable; made in Trinidad), Metal straws, Cleaning brushes for reusable straws, Straw pouches, Collapsible pocket straws, Bamboo utensil kits, Bamboo toothbrushes and Soap seeds/ berries. To order check out The Last Straw & More TT on Instagram and Facebook!  

15.   The Palette is a small artisan business that focuses on handmade ceramics, textile designs, paintings, and graphic designs. The Palette’s owner and resident artist, Sophie Mitchell attained her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada, where she gravitated to representing the bold colour and vibrancy of the Caribbean through its local flora. Some of The Palette’s signature items are the Tropical Vintage Mug, the Tropical Wrap Around Mug, the Local Flora Collection, the Industrial Collection and Handcrafted Scented Candles in Ceramic Vessels. For more of these beautiful items check out the Palette TT on Instagram and Facebook!

16.   Vibal Source by Shereigns caters to holistic therapeutic care by providing well-being to the body, mind and soul. Vibal Source is a Trinidad based candle company with beautifully handcrafted aromatherapy candles, hand-poured into a coconut shell with seven unique blended scents that appeal to your senses. These unique blended fragrances emit a soothing scent with a purpose to relax, rejuvenate, bring you peace or just to make you feel good. All the scents carry its own unique names such as the: ‘Roots Daughter’,’Sabali’ ‘Blessed Uprising’, ‘Perfect Balance’, ‘Overthinker’ ‘Deliciously Irresistible’& ‘Coconut Tropics’…. Vibal Source also partnered with a local poet to ignite the senses even further by providing a poetic journey for each candle. You can order your candles via their Instagram page @vibalsourcebyshereigns.2020 and Facebook page @shereigns.2020

17.   Zusy Natural Skin Care – pulled out all the stops to ensure that they deliver organic products incorporating natural ingredients that can be found in Trinidad and Tobago. They provide a skincare line with a Lip Care Kit, which includes a Sugar-based Lip Scrub and a Shea butter-based Lip Balm. These products come in five different flavours: Peppermint and Honey, Coconut and Honey, Lavender and Rosemary, Turmeric and Honey and Charcoal and Peppermint. A 10% discount is on Scrub and Balm refills is also available to encourage sustainable behaviours within the country. They also have exquisite salt-based body and foot scrubs to provide you with visibly softer skin! Check out their Instagram @zusylips101 or email zusylips101@gmail.com to order !

This is just a fraction of all the super talented artisans in Trinidad, there are so many more that I just could not fit into a decent-sized article. You can find most of these vendors at the various Christmas markets occurring during the season, so I would encourage you to follow their socials to keep up to date with their whereabouts and be sure to Shop Local For Di Christmas!

Stay Safe and have a Merry Christmas !

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