About this idea
Irie Yard Vibes, was the brainchild of myself and my spouse. My spouse is jamaican. Over the years, we have had difficulty finding Caribbean items, without having to drive to Detroit. We often lamented that it was disappointing to go in the grocery store, down the international aisle and only find food items catered to certain nationalities or cultures. Fortunately things have begun to change in the past year, however because of the food deserts present in our town, its even more difficult. After years of discussion, I decided to give Irie Yard Vibes a try at my local farmers mkt. I began importing items with the aid of my inlaws from Jamaica and Florida. I was able to connect with a few distributors in New York , St Lucea and Trinidad. In June of 2022, Irie Yard Vibes came into fruition, thru word of mouth and FB advertising, we have grown steadily from week to week. Every week i engage with students, from the various islands who are absolutely thrilled to see products from home. Ive met people from the virgin islands, barbados and antigua. They always start the conversation the same, as they peruse my table. They inquire who is the islander., if my spouse is present once he identifies himself, the smiles and the patois or island chat emerges. Often times we meet and have meaningful conversations with everyone that crosses are stand. I am currently importing and sourcing items weekly, if my shipments are late, this can derail my but not significantly. I would like to also offer jamaican patties, and samples of some of my items. I am currently vendoring outdoors at the Farmers market and would like to be able to move inside when vendor space becomes available, but am currently unable to afford the daily rate of 90.00 per day, for each day they are open.
The impact that Irie Yard Vibes has on the community, i have seen is the inclusion. Not only does it allow islanders to find items that are reminders of home, because i do not just carry products from Jamaica. I also import from st Lucea, and Trinidad. I have met batches of college students who are studying abroad. Some have not been home in over a year or longer, the joy that they get when they see these reminders absolutely makes my day. I also get people who experience a little bit of nostalgia or always have a story to tell me, about the time that they traveled to jamaica. They can vividly recount something they ate or tasted or drank, and would love to try again. The real potential of Irie Yard Vibes is to bridge the gap in the community and help expose each other to different cultures. I often will offer free recipes or a bit of knowledge regarding any product that i offer. I also aim to carry products that have health benefits and are naturally sourced from Jamaica or the other islands.
What I'll do with $5,000
With $5000, i would pay up vendor space inside the market for 6 months, operating 1 day per week on Saturdays @ $90.00 per day to a total of $2160.00 . I would purchase a commercial food warmer display and display stands, for $500.00. I would then order $1000 dollars worth of inventory, this would allow me to receive a large enough shipment that i am not constantly worried about shipping delays because i am fully stocked. I would purchase a small commercial refrigerator to keep items cold, so i no longer need to use a cooler, and i would use the rest to increase advertising, on FB and other avenues and also to have a professional website created to help draw traffic to my page.
About Rojon Hastings
Im Rojon Hastings. My goal is to bring my business to fruition. I run a vendor space at the Farmers Mkt, called Irie Yard Vibes. Irie Yard Vibes, came to life after many years of contemplation, in the desire to bring Caribbean-based products to the Flint area. My spouse is from Jamaica, and over the years it has been challenging to find items, in our local area that is reminiscent of home. . With the help of my inlaws and a few connections from various distributors, I have been able to bring Irie Yard Vibes to the Flint area and have been well received. I would like to be able to expand my business inside of the Farmer's market, to see if it can become a sustainable and profitable business in the community.