Shopping A La MoDA

Shopping A La MoDA

Get ready for the ultimate shopping event of the year: MoDA Market from The Collection MoDA.

There are events that only come around once a year which fill us with excitement, in Jamaica that includes Carnival Sunday, Christmas Day and yes, the day the doors open on the annual MoDA Market. For 2 days each November, carefully curated art, craft, fashion and more are hosted and showcased to the public featuring all of the next best ‘must have’ items, just in time for the Christmas season.

A jewel in The Collection MoDA, which also offers MoDA Mag, MoDA Talks, MoDA Runway and more, the Market was born out of a common request of one of its co-founders Kerry-Ann Clarke. Having studied business for design and fashion, she was often asked by close friends how to best market an idea they had in the fashion world.

Others were creating art, furniture, accessories and other lifestyle pieces. Kerry-Ann soon realized that there was a large community of talented artisans who needed both the business know-how of strategy and marketing as well as a platform to showcase their work.

From this was born the idea of MoDA Runway, with emerging fashion designers getting the chance to showcase their creativity, while Kerry-Ann, in turn, showed them a way to take an idea to reality and turn a hobby into a profitable livelihood.

As the demand and range of artists and products grew Kerry-Ann knew she needed to partner with someone who already had experience presenting and promoting a curated artisan collection. Serendipity led her to Aiesha Panton, who had already mounted just such curated collections in the past. And so began the perfect partnership.

Jamaica Experiences sat down with the co-creators of MoDA Market to get a little insight into how it works and what to look out for on the horizon as the venture continues to grow.

MoDA Market is now in its fifth year and is attracting more and more visitors every year. It is also drawing more participants hoping to be a part of this epic shopping experience for wholesale and retail buyers. How do you curate the artisans?
KC & AP: It is a combination of people coming to us as well as what catches our eyes. We have a website where all of our events are featured. Under MoDA Market we have FAQs where you can learn about what is required, deadlines, fees and what’s included. You can click on a button on that page which takes you to an application form.

We have also been known to follow up on recommendations from people telling us about a product by someone who could be a potential MoDA Maker.  We also offer courses and giveaways for business and marketing strategy.

So MoDA Market goes beyond just a 2 day marketplace featuring the curated products?
KC & AP: Yes, it is a learning experience for these artisans.  We collaborate with iCreate to offer courses to our participants throughout the year which focus on Content Marketing as well as Project Management for Creatives. These courses are actually also open to anyone throughout the year by signing up through the website.

If you are selected as a MoDA Maker, the courses are included with your fee and every year we also offer scholarships for courses to two of the participating MoDA Makers. We also partnered with Bianca Welds, Director of our local chapter at the California based Founder Institute, who helped MoDA Makers define the necessary steps to profitable sustainable businesses at this year’s MoDA Talks.

Why this time of year?
KC & AP: Our aim is to help products reach their full retail and wholesale potential. We are still trying to find the perfect time of year when artisans can have their work be presented to wholesale buyers as well as the retail end customer. The Market takes place just before American Thanksgiving as well as the busy Christmas period.  We are developing and expanding the online market aspect to open up opportunities for better access to wholesale clientele.

How much has MoDA grown since its inception and what can we expect for this year that we haven’t seen before?
KC & AP: This is our seventh year … we grew to nearly fifty (50) participants in the first couple of years and this year we are looking at nearly eighty (80)! And this is with careful curation. As we mentioned, we are expanding our online presence and this year we are introducing two new aspects. One is a partnership with NewWaveJa to create MoDA Music so stay tuned! They will be a part of MoDA Market this year. Also, keep an eye out for our MoDA Calendar featuring our MoDA Makers and products. We are also introducing a subscription box.

What do you get with the subscription box?
KC & AP: On a special delivery schedule, you’ll receive a box of MoDA goodies from our range of MoDA Makers. We sent out a box to a select few with the announcements for MoDA Market this year and it took us by surprise when we saw how many people took to Insta Stories on Instagram going through each item in the box and letting us know that they’ll definitely be attending!

Will we be able to purchase items from MoDA Market anywhere else?
KC & AP: Keep checking on that online expansion we’ve been talking about as that aspect is in development.

When and where can we find MoDA Market ?
KC & AP: Our known venue is the W at Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston. We were approached by them and we’ve called it home ever since. It is the perfect venue as a balanced location both for locals as well as the business community who stay at hotels in the New Kingston area. This year we will be opening our doors for November 17th and 18th.

What products from MoDA Makers in the past are ones we might know?
KC & AP: There are so many! One that has taken off and continues to get more popular every year is Story & Myth blessing beads; another is the line of bags by Kar & Chach. The beautiful place settings by Bauhaus is another and the Galavant line of jewelry is a big favourite as well. 

What do you see for the future of MoDA Market and The Collection MoDA?
KC & AP: We envision it to manifest similarly to Art Basel. (A well-known showcase for established and emerging artists in various mediums, the Art Basel shows in places like Miami Beach, Switzerland and Hong Kong are renowned for the caliber of art in various mediums they display as well as the crowds they attract.)

Our idea is to be that platform for artisans for the entire Caribbean. One day, we hope to see people flying in from all over to see the range of talent the region has to offer. The underlying idea will always be where it started, helping artisans and designers to make their dream a reality.

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