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Bermudian vendors to head to New York

International exposure: pictured with Jamahl Simmons, the economic development minister, are entrepreneurs, from left, Kelsea Williams, Kayuntae Ming, Channing Dill and Nina Froncioni (Photograph supplied)

Five Bermudian winners of the Vend 2 Win competition are heading to New York to showcase their products at a thriving Brooklyn market on Sunday.

Four of the group received an official send-off from Jahmahl Simmons, the economic development minister, as they prepared for some US exposure for their products.

The competition was hosted by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.

The winners were:

• Nina Froncioni of Limestone + Cedar, with her brand of Bermudian-inspired scented candles.

• Channing Dill of Native by ChanningElizabeth, who created a Bermuda pink sand-inspired collection of accessories and fashion items.

• Kayuntae Ming of His N Hers Hair and Beauty, who offers handmade natural skin, hair and beauty products.

• Kelsea Williams of NovelTea, who has made a unique brand of Bermudian-inspired teas.

• Jayde Gibbons of Queendom Heights, with her collection of Bermudian-inspired photography prints, who was not present at today’s send-off.

Mr Simmons encouraged the group to take full advantage of the opportunity to showcase their products and gain international exposure. He added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for you to network with New York vendors and use the experience to grow your businesses.”

All five local vendors beat out tough competition from more than 30 others at BEDC’s free vending market, held on Saturday, May 19 at BAA.

There were originally six winners chosen, including Michiko Campbell of Chiko’s Smokey Rub, however Mr Campbell was unable to travel with the group for personal and work reasons.

Kelsea Williams, 25, said she is most looking forward to networking with other young entrepreneurs at this weekend’s event.

“I am excited to see what other established vendors are doing and taking that knowledge back to incorporate into my business,” Ms Williams said.

“If I see any innovative ideas about how to design my booth or improve my packaging and set-up, that would be great.”

Kayuntae Ming, 19, said: “The BEDC vendor’s market back in May was actually my first experience vending, so for me to be selected to go to New York is really exciting and built up a lot of confidence in me as a young entrepreneur.

“I’m looking forward to going away to show my products abroad, to get as much experience as I can and to apply those skills to what I do here in Bermuda.”

The Reserve market is hosted by a group called Driven Society and was established to stimulate business growth for multicultural business owners and to provide a fun, inspiring and interactive experience for guests.

Geared at attracting millennial consumers, including some of New York City’s biggest influencers and trendsetters, those who attend the vibrant markets are encouraged to engage with new brands and meet the entrepreneurs behind the products and services.