Sat | Jan 20, 2018

14-y-o among scores to display creations at expo

Published:Friday | August 5, 2016 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Fourteen-year-old Gabriella Spence (second left) shows Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (left) some of the items she makes and had on display during the Christmas in July exhibition at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Thursday, July 28. Looking on (from left) are Adam Stewart, chairman, Tourism Linkages Council; Omar Robinson, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and Metry Seaga, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association.

Starting a business usually would be the furthest thing from the mind of a 14-year-old girl, but for Gabriella Spence, she is already doing it.

Spence was one of approximately 100 local producers and manufacturers who displayed their authentic souvenir products to the tourism sector and corporate Jamaica at a Tourism Linkages Network-hosted expo, held in July.

'Christmas in July' was supported by partners of the Tourism Linkages Network, including the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Jamaica Promotions Corporation, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association.

Through her company, JUS G.E.S, she produces intricate jewellery and has attributed the fact that being home-schooled is a major facilitator to her deciding to turn a hobby into a business.

"I am home-schooled, so I don't have to go from school to home. I like doing creative things like drawings and paintings, so I started making little bracelets, then I started making more intricate things," she told The Gleaner.

"I started making jewellery (small bracelets, earrings and pendants) and selling it to family and friends, then I started selling to other people. Then we (mom and I) decided to make it a company and we started selling it to other places."




Her mother, Tricia Spence, said that her daughter's ability to create special consumer jewellery comes naturally. She is of the opinion that home-schooling helps children to find their callings and receive the proper attention and help from adults around them. It also helps to develop their interests in a business or something worthwhile.

"I think she has a keen attention to detail, she is a perfectionist. I can't even begin to express how proud I am. She is forever drawing, sculpting; (it's) unbelievable the things that she creates. She taught herself everything you see here. I try to encourage her if I see her going down this path, in terms of her creativity. I just facilitate her as best I can," she said.

Camile Buchanan, marketing specialist at Virtue Artistry, manufacturers of 3D souvenirs and memorabilia with 3D printings and designs, spoke highly of the event saying: "We are hoping to get the message out there to Jamaica that we are local and we are up to international standards. It's a really good event (because) it gives local producers the opportunity to take their products to a different level. I think we often times don't get the recognition and publicity. We are giving quality and we are at a good price as well."