CUSTOMIZED CARNIVAL; Making Carnival Uniquely Yours ||Caribbean Business Spotlight
Co-founders of Customized Carnival, Stacy Gooden and Ingrid Chiles, are committed to creating a Carnival experience that is uniquely your own. An accountant and an engineer from Jamaica and South Carolina respectively; they have discovered a passion for customizing Carnival experiences which they nurture through their business. Their dedication to Carnival culture caught our team’s attention. Listen below to find out more about this unique business.
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- What is Customized Carnival and how did it get started?
- The idea was born in 2011 from a group of friends who have a mutual love of soca and Carnival. The group wanted to create their very own unique Carnival experience and the idea expanded to support others who wanted to find their own outlet for creative self-expression that embodies the Carnival experience. For them it’s more than just products …..find out more in video.
- What makes Customized Carnival different from other Carnival businesses out there?
- The ladies of Customized Carnival challenge carnival enthusiasts to ask the questions; Does it have you in mind, your comfort in mind and your unique experience at the fore front? Because that’s what they deliver on. As avid Carnival goers they create products that have been tried and tested to ensure the highest quality and best customer experience. They also…..find out more in video.
- What products are available from Customized Carnival as of now?
- Customized Carnival boasts an extensive product line which includes their flagship night time products. Their J’ouvert wear collection allows masqueraders to kick up their experience a notch with products like light up ties, suspenders, L.E.D. wings and the popular light up snap backs .
- They have also expanded their product line to include a day-time collection. Described by creator, Stacey, as items that allow you to ‘rep your flag without your rag,’ they include body chains, and waist beads to name a few. These are all products that can be repurposed to the unique needs of each individuals experience……find out more in video.
- Tell us about your backgrounds and what made you decide Carnival was your niche?
- For Ingrid, Carnival really helped to solidify her love for identity and being comfortable in your own skin. Carnival helped to change her perception of and appreciation for identity. She was inspired by Dr. Seuss’ popular book, ‘Oh the Places You Will Go,’ to visit a list of countries. Trinidad and Tobago was added to her list and after experiencing Carnival on the trip, her outlook of people and identity was completely transitioned. It is something that she now applies to every aspect of her life. For Stacey, the difference in backgrounds enriches the experience and makes room for business growth as they stretch each other with the different ideas they bring to the table …..find out more in video.
- What are some of the challenges you have faced getting this brand out to the diaspora?
- The business allows both ladies to stretch themselves beyond the skills sets from their professional backgrounds. With Stacey having an Accounting background and Ingrid being an engineer, it is a daily challenge for them to find ways to continuously build and expand the brand and try new things. It’s a challenge they have both embraced. They made a commitment when starting the business that they would have a hands-on approach to the product development process instead of outsourcing it. They find different ways to build their expertise including finding GroupOns for sewing classes and …..find out more in video.
- What is your vision for this brand?
- They would like to see masses wearing their products be it at Carnival time for J’ouvert or re-purposed for other unique reasons. They are focused on establishing a brand that people recognize. They would love the brand to stay connected to Caribbean culture but are also open to the possibilities that they have seen opened to them…. find out more in video.
- What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
- Stacy rightfully advises that success is not going to happen in a year.The process of building a brand is not going to be easy but ‘if you love it you will work at it and it won’t feel like work’. Ingrid also adds that business owners should not limit themselves to what they initially believe their product to be. Opportunities to expand and grow can walk in disguised as a unique request and this should be embraced. Their business experienced this when…….. find out more in video.
- Where can we find out more about Customized Carnival?
Photos provided by Customized Carnival.