Signature pots and bird baths
JEFFERSON GRAHAM still has the first plant pot he made in May five years ago.
And even though he has produced and sold several others since then, the owner of the St Thomas-based Jekayla’s Creations keeps it to remind him of his talent and what he can achieve.
“I went to Trinidad from a young age, about 15. I had some troubles and my mum sent me away to get some help. It was only [intended] for three weeks but I ended up spending ten years,” he recalled with a smile.
That was in 1995 and two years later he started making large and small pots of various colours. After returning to Barbados, he started making the pots in 2007 using moulds that his teacher in Trinidad gave him.
“From then until now I kept the trade. Jekayla’s Creations only started in 2010 when my little girl was born. After I was working in a supermarket and I realised ‘that can’t cut it, I have a trade, do something’; then I started to make the pots. So that’s where it really started,” he told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.
Business has its peaks and troughs, with January being a slower period, said Graham. However, now that he and his partner Ivor Griffith have teamed up, it is “flourishing”, as the latter is finding markets for them to peddle their ware.
“I have that drive, if I love something I put my all into it. When I came on board, I noticed that the latter part of the year is where we get most of the sales. So I said ‘Jeff we have to think outside of the box’ and introduced him to the flea market at [a] plantation and from there we got customers and we started to expand a little and we started to do more flea markets and get a little more advertising…and more sales,” Griffith said.
Graham, who makes the moulds and the pots himself, explained that the sand and other inputs used were local and that the length of production depended on the size of the pot. One of the new items – bird baths – came from a request at a flea market.
“From doing the bird bath for [the customer], she had about three more pots from us and then a friend in her neighbourhood had pots as well, it was a chain reaction,” the businessman said.
Graham said that providing excellent customer service was paramount to their business and not only did they sell pots but advised customers on the correct size to buy. The customer choses the colour, which is mixed at a nearby hardware store before the signature Jekayla’s splash is added.
“Our pots are a work of art. The colours don’t fade, they don’t wash out. They are not hard to maintain, the dust can be wiped from them and customers can have them repainted if they want,” said Graham.
Both men know where they want to go.
“Right now we get a lot of orders from the flea market but we want that in two year’s time people can say ‘there’s a pottery place in St Thomas, let us go there’. We want Jekayla’s Creations to be known. We would like to expand, we already have ideas where we want to see ourselves. The next wave is to start with fountains and what we use right now is too small, we have to build something new,” Graham added. (Green Bananas Media)