I am not very creative. Actually, I have creative vision but don’t have the skill to execute. Photoshop and Illustrator are by no means my favourite tools, but I do have ideas, and sometimes I need someone skilled with those tools to realize and execute my vision. I am not alone in this lack of a specific skill. Some are great in design but may not have the tech-savvy to launch their online store, or they may not have the marketing talent to promote their online store. Based on that simple concept Callaloo Drive was born.
Ok, I can’t just end the article with that, so to go more in-depth, the idea was first birthed by two friends who wanted to showcase their creativity by creating graphic tees. The discussion started in the most Caribbean way possible, with a few beers and a bunch of ol’ talk (yes, this was pre-COVID-19). Eventually, after lengthy discussions and a few more beers, the idea grew into creating an online apparel store, called Callaloo Drive.
The name Callaloo Drive originated from Rodeo Drive, which is the area in California that offers the most luxurious items. Callaloo Drive would have a similar focus, but instead of luxury items, our focus would be on hats, tees, hoodies, sweaters, and tank-tops created by local and regional designers, regardless of notoriety. Hence the name Callaloo, which is a dish known throughout the Caribbean.
Callaloo Drive is an online store geared towards bringing the Caribbean together by creating a marketplace where our culture, lifestyle, and talents are shared with anyone, whether local, regional, or international. In short, our vision is to “drive Caribbean culture to the masses by creating a unified space, where designers from the Caribbean and its diaspora can sell items that portray our culture.”
Our initial mission is to create designs for t-shirts and apparel with a Caribbean flavor. Whether it be folklore, national pride, or historical references, soon, we hope to welcome other designers from within the Caribbean and its diaspora, to join us and show the world how powerful Caribbean Culture is.
So what is my role in this story? Well, I am the technocrat. I had to conceptualize, build, and now maintain and eventually improve the system over time. I also help with the business side of things where I help market Callaloo Drive to designers.
The Drive (that’s the code name for the project) is free to join. We provide a website for your store, stock, printing, shipping, and handling. For this, we charge a 12% commission plus the cost for printing and stock on each sale. The designer no longer has to worry about the administrative or operational side of their business. Their main concern would be to create the best design, the cost of that item, and how to market it to the masses. Callaloo Drive also opens up the possibility for designers to have their products bought locally and internationally. We even help with marketing as persons can discover other items while on the website.
We launched on Friday 14th August 2020 and had our first sale a few hours later. It has been a great start and we hope to continue to grow and provide more services to Caribbean Designers.
Feel free to click the link below and purchase an item, also provide us with some feedback. If you are interested in creating some designs or know someone who might be interested, feel free to share this post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org