Handmade by Kae, a local artisanal brand that was started almost six years ago by owner and founder, Kristle Jeffers. Recently, she showcased her products beyond Barbados and is grateful to the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) for the opportunity to do so.
“We try to use as many organic materials as we can so our oils and stuff are sustainably produced and in most instances are organic. We make them ourselves between home and our shop in upstairs Gajah in Canewood,” she said.
In 2017, Jeffers had just had her second baby and was in the process of deciding if she was heading back to work. During this time, her sister came to Barbados to visit her and decided to show her how to make soaps. Her sister had already been making soaps three years prior.
“I realised I really enjoyed doing it and I continued to make until I reached a point where I was satisfied with the product,” she said.
She went on to set up and sell her soaps at Brighton’s Farmers Market and the experience was so fun and enjoyable that she decided to start Handmade by Kae.
In 2021, she virtually attended NYNow and this gave her the opportunity to gain some valuable insights to further help with her business.
“That was a good experience…it illustrated how much work needed to go into making sure your product was packaged right. We already had good packaging but just to make sure that everything was seamless and streamlined.
“I appreciated the NCF also paid for professional photography for us and that was a great experience to understand how that works and also see your product presented in a beautiful manner,” she said.
Jeffers went on to express her positive regard for the NCF’s Business Development initiatives.
“The NCF has really shown an interest in small businesses and our experiences as a small business is a good experience,” she said.
She challenged the general notion that the field of handmade body care products and candles is oversaturated by providing some valuable pointers to help other interested persons.
“It’s all about finding your niche, maintaining your quality, not compromising costs and also being brave,” she said.
Jeffers is contented with what the business has accomplished thus far and is now setting her focus on how she can export more as she continues to build.
Handmade by Kae can be found online at ww.handmadebykae.com