It’s about time Caribbean business women received the support they deserve! WE-Xport, short for Women Empowered Through Export, is a program launched in 2018 with the purpose of supporting Caribbean women in business.
In addition, it was designed to help women-owned businesses start exporting their products, or grow their exports regionally and internationally.
This year’s event will be held June 7th to June 10th, from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados will be the hosting venue. This is WE-Xport’s second year. The first annual event took place last year on March 7th, 2018.
According to the Caribbean Export Development Agency, these are the main goals of WE-Xport:
- Strengthen and support women owned businesses to increase their ability to access finance.
- Support their increased access to new markets through facilitating networking opportunities and B2B meetings.
- Provide training opportunities in core business and professional areas identified as priority areas by female entrepreneurs.
- Advocate on issues and public policies that negatively affect female entrepreneurs.
Women-owned brands showcased at WE-Xport 2019
Categories within the many women-owned brands to be showcased at this year’s event include: beauty, cosmetics, fashion, jewelry, food, and beverage. Although the event will take place in Barbados, the business women in attendance hail from all over the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Haiti, and St. Vincent.
Here is the list of woman-owned companies that will attend the event:
- Kimya Glasgow (St. Vincent and the Grenadines). This woman-owned Caribbean fashion line specializes in wearable art. Its unique clothing pieces celebrate Caribbean culture. Check out their website here.
- Meme Bete (Saint Lucia). Meme Bete is a vibrant collection of handmade handbags. In addition, they offer clutches and backpacks. Bold ethnic prints and Afro-centric flair make this brand unique. Shop online here.
- Designs by Nadia (Saint Lucia). Jewelry and accessory maker Nadie Jabour fashions one-of-a-kind pieces out of natural material. She and her assistants use seeds, fish scales, sea glass, leather and metals from the region to create unforgettable jewelry. See her success story below. As Nadia eloquently puts it, if you want to succeed, you must “believe in yourself, believe in your product, and then others will believe in you.”
- Tambran by Tamara (Grenada). This is a luxury, yet eco-friendly jewelry brand. Tambran by Tamara specializes in one-of-a-kind, handmade statement pieces. So whether you’re looking for a conversation starter, or a unique piece that celebrates the essence of the Caribbean, Tambran by Tamara has something for everyone. Known as an “upcyclling” jewelry brand, the line includes many pieces made from materials like seeds, plastic bottles, ends of wood, and even used vinyl banners.
- Bijou Lakay (Haiti) This Haitian company uses natural materials like bullhorn, bones, wood to make bold jewelry and accessories. The founder, Daphnée Karen Floréal, created her first piece of jewellery while completing her college studies. “Our pieces, on the frontier of crafts and fashion, reflect our vision of beauty and elegance, and testify the rich cultural heritage of Haiti,” she said.
- BahamaSpaTM (The Bahamas) The Caribbean is all about relaxation. BahamaSpa brings the relaxation to your home! The line includes soap, body cream, and sea salt scrubs. In addition, all their luxury spa products are made by hand from natural ingredients from the Caribbean.
- Your True Shade (Jamaica). With a mantra of “Flawless Skin and Flawless Makeup”, Your True Shade provides 23 makeup shades to perfectly match Caribbean women.
- Kapril Industrial Laboratorio (Dominican Republic). KAPRIL is a specialty brand of hair care products containing vitamins and proteins. Founded by Julia Jimenez of the Dominican Republic, the brand specializes in hair care for Caribbean women.
- Dominica Tours (Dominica). If you’re ever in Dominica, try out Dominica Tours. They will set you up with fantastic excursions above and below the water.
- The Villas at Sunset Lane (Antigua and Barbuda). Find a home away from home at these hillside villas in Antigua and Barbuda.
- Wippy Peanut Butter (Suriname). Natural, fresh peanuts from Suriname go into every jar! This family-owned company has been producing peanut products since 1980. Although they once sold peanut butter exclusively in Suriname, WE-Xport has helped them expand their presence in other countries. Susan Willemsberg, one of the founders, said, ““We had a lot of help from our WE-Xport coach, and this enabled us to export to The Netherlands. The coach guided us through the process and researched the documents and other requirements needed to export to and promote our product in Holland.”
- Benlar Foods Ltd (Jamaica). This company produces healthy foods with Jamaican flair. You can find Jamaican seasoning, ackee, fresh sorrel, carrot drink, pumpkin soup, and more.
- Eco Farms (Jamaica). Eco Farms produces organic, flavorful honey. In addition, their mission is to provide 100 Jamaican jobs. They hire and train at-risk persons to earn living wages, according to their website.
- Habanero Trinidad (Trinidad and Tobago). This pepper sauce creator seeks to “add flavor to life”. Consequently, their fine products use sun ripened Trinidad moruga red peppers, land race yellow peppers and scorpion peppers.
- Caribbean Cure (Trinidad and Tobago). The indigenous peoples of the Caribbean used natural cures for thousands of years. Now, Caribbean Cure brings that healing to you, in the form of natural herbal teas.
- Hot Mama’s Belize Ltd (Belize). All their products are vegan, non-gmo, and gluten free with no preservatives. In addition, their vision is to become the #1 pepper sauce supplier in the world.
- Sugar Town Organics (St. Kitts and Nevis) Led by a mother/daughter duo, Sugar Town Organics produces cosmetics and food products. All products are made from organic, natural ingredients.
Support Caribbean women in business
This year’s WE-Export is certainly a highlight event for women entrepreneurs. However, not everyone can stop by WE-Xport 2019 in Barbados this June. But no worries! You can still purchase products from the brands above and support Caribbean women in business.
You can find these products for sale in the countries indicated above. However, some are now available for export to neighboring Caribbean countries. In addition, in many cases you can purchase the products online.
Want to see more designers and makers from the Caribbean? Visit designcaribbean.com.
Main image source: Caribbean Export
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