Vendors collaborate to survive covid19

Vendors Collaborative member Natalie Howe of DE-COLLE-TE sits with creations during a pop-up shop. -
Vendors Collaborative member Natalie Howe of DE-COLLE-TE sits with creations during a pop-up shop. -

The negative effects of covid19 on the economy were significant, especially on small businesses who already faced difficult circumstances before the pandemic. The Vendors Collaborative is a group of small business who came together pre-covid19 to form to assist each other in getting through the lean times and continue to work together.

Vendors Collaborative member Gavin Luke said the group was formed as part of acknowledging the harshness of the environment in which small businesses operates.

Items on display by Rejuvenate Soulfully. -

“The Vendors Collaborative was established as a means to provide a forum for small vendors to voice and make a difference. In the first instance, the plan for the group is to provide a way for small business entrepreneurs to attract and engage customers without having to invest in a brick and mortar space.”

Towards this end, the group hosted two pop up events, the first in December 2019 and the second in February 2020.

Items from the JD Collection on display. -

“The pop in and shop took place last year at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW) in St Clair, Port of Spain. The vendors fees for this first effort were donated to TTW to direct to their school for the arts programme, which itself required funding. The February event took the form of a Port of Spain Port pop up conducted during a pre-covid19 cruise ship visit to Trinidad. During the stay-at-home period, a promising Father’s Day offering was executed which allowed interested vendors some extra sales for their local manufactured products by way of a consolidation of various members’ products in gift boxes.”

Luke said the occurrence of covid19 has reinforced the need for the collaborative to be innovative to keep functional for its members.

Vendors Collaborative members display their goods during a pop-up shop - Photo courtesy Vendors Collaborative

“The lengthy time frame in which this virus will prove to be an issue may well yield more gift box type offers, creating an online store, and impacting material costing via the supplier chain aspect of product manufacture. The challenges are real for all members, including securing reasonably priced imported raw materials, improvements generally in the ease of doing business, approved access to common facilities, and securing foreign currency as it applies to small businesses.” He said it is expected that perhaps a much more concerted effort on the part of the public will occur in valuing and procuring locally manufactured goods in keeping with the “Made in TT” concept of supporting local content.

The range of products from the membership, which comprises 45 members in total, include wines, liquors, granolas, garments, food items, snacks, soaps, coconut oils, spa items, seasonings, cosmetics and perfume, among others.

The main members include such enterprises as Handmade by Jeanette, The JD Collection, Nirvana designed by Kaiya, Rejuvenate Soulfully, Posh Petals, Raindrop Essentials, Go Nuts, DE-COLLE-TE, Pinkberri Kosmetique, Uniquely Yours Crafts, Just D’s, Healthy Escapes, Vee’s Exotic Mixed Nuts, Afrocessories, Chow Nation, Just For You, Aurora Borealis Gems, Evergreene Virgin Coconut Oil, A La Carte Marketing, Sarafina Fashion Collections, SouppureeTT, Dingolay Designs, Secret Scents, Williams Wines, A Touch of Sweetness, De Jeunesse Bath and Body, Taste Em and

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