Craft vendors want piece of Christmas cake

December 17, 2019

There were hardly any customers at the Kingston Craft Market when THE STAR visited the facility yesterday, but the vendors say this has become something of the norm.

Judith Samuel, who has been at the market for close to 10 years, said it appears as if Jamaicans are not interested in buying their own products; and in some cases, they are not aware of the beauty that the island possesses.

"They want the China stuff. So normally, Christmas time is not a good time for us. We are never a part of the Christmas rush," she said.

Junior Commerce Minister Floyd Green said that he hopes that a Things Jamaican Christmas campaign, which will be launched later this week, will cause Jamaicans to develop greater appreciation for local products.

"We are suggesting to people that when they are looking to buy Christmas gifts, they should look to support Jamaican products. We are giving some gift suggestions in terms of what we think is a good gift, and we are using that to start a conversation to say, when you are buying things this Christmas, buy Jamaican," Green said.

For Samuel, the campaign is one that should be given a chance. Lenna Cunningham, another vendor, has been in the craft market for 15 years. She cannot recall a time that the Christmas rush was on at her place of work.

"We hardly get local people. The locals that we get are persons that live abroad and come to pick up a few things to go back home. But people who live here all year round don't come here to shop," she said.

Green, meanwhile, told THE STAR that there will be a more robust Things Jamaican campaign next year; but since it is Christmas, where there is heavy spending, he decided to start the campaign now.

"We have a lot of companies that are making exceptional Jamaican products. You have ceramics, handmade jewellery, beauty and skincare products that would make good Christmas gifts," he said.

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