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Christmas shopping pop-up this weekend

Calshae Iris, fifth from left, with some of the vendors taking part in her Annual Spectacular Christmas Pop-up

If you’re looking for the perfect home-grown gift this holiday, 40 local businesses will be selling their wares tomorrow at a pop-up at the Botanical Gardens in Paget.

The Annual Spectacular Christmas Pop-up will feature local clothing brands, handbags, handmade items, beauty products and more.

The shop is organised by Calshae Iris, owner of Vim and Venust, a trendy headscarf business.

“I always thought headscarves were an underrated accessory,” Ms Iris said. “As a little Black girl I always had headscarves. My grandmother would always put them on me to protect my hair. As I got older I found myself wearing them to be more fashionable.”

She launched the business in 2019 at a pop-up event in London where she was living.

“I said, ‘Wow, this is amazing’,” she said. “It was not just a vending market but an actual pop-up shop with all these businesses, music and good vibes.”

When she moved back to Bermuda last year, she thought a pop-up would be a great way to introduce Vim and Venust to the island. Her original intention was just to spotlight her own business.

“Then I walked into the Washington Mall and saw all the vacancies,” she said. “A lot of businesses had closed. I thought I could do this by myself but it would be good to have a lot of local businesses join me.”

Her first event was an overwhelming success, featuring 40 small businesses and playing host to 500 shoppers.

It was the first time selling in public for many of the entrepreneurs who took part.

“Some of them said they were nervous about putting themselves up front,” Ms Iris said.

Now she is happy that many of them have continued to grow their brand and build their customer base.

“Since the pandemic began there have been many new businesses,” she said. “People are really getting creative and using their talents.”

She has found that the community is supportive, particularly of young entrepreneurs.

Vim and Venust has done better in Bermuda than it did in London. She thought this was partly because headscarves are more of a cultural norm here.

“We also have a lot of women here who wear their hair natural,” she said. “They are always trying to find ways to wear their hair. So a headscarf was more of a go-to accessory.”

This year Ms Iris was going to pass on organising another pop-up because she is just coming off maternity leave.

“But people were messaging asking about the pop-up,” she said. “There were so many people who looked forward to it.”

So over the course of just three weeks she organised her second pop-up shop. It was too short notice for some people in her entrepreneur network but plenty of others were game.

Ms Iris is expecting a good crowd.

“With Covid-19 everyone is supporting small businesses this year,” she said. “I am nervous about rain because it is an outdoor event. But we have rain dates scheduled on Sunday (December 5) or December 12, if that does happen.”

She said the pandemic made organising the pop-up challenging.

“You have a lot of venues that are not hosting at the moment,” she said. “You also have a lot of venues with a lot of restrictions.”

But she found those places that were willing were more flexible with their rates, especially with small businesses.

The Annual Spectacular Christmas Pop-Up Shop will be held tomorrow (Saturday) from 10am to 4pm at the Botanical Gardens. The door prize will be a one-night stay for two guests at Grotto Bay Hotel in Hamilton Parish.

For more information see Instagram @vim_venust or Facebook @vimandvenust.

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Published December 03, 2021 at 7:55 am (Updated December 03, 2021 at 7:54 am)

Christmas shopping pop-up this weekend

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