One of the best parts about traveling to the Caribbean is experiencing new cultures, and remembering those experiences with Caribbean souvenirs. Souvenirs help us remember our travels – the smell, sight, sound, taste, or feel of something from another place can make us imagine, for a moment, that we are still there.
As part of its commitment to create linkages with local stakeholders, Sandals Gift Shops are loaded with treasures and must-haves created by many of our local crafts persons right here in Saint Lucia. Strengthening the linkage between local craftsmen and the tourism sector benefits everyone, and helps support our local artisans at a time when the sector is looking to rebound.
Leading up to Saint Lucia’s 43rd Independence celebrations, Natalie Calixte from the Sandals Halcyon Beach Gift Shop, saw this as the perfect opportunity to highlight the great work and products by our local artisans. And so Natalie created a display of Saint Lucian gift boxes which she named “Annou Palé Sent Lisi” – Let’s Talk St. Lucia.
“It’s my first time ever doing something like this but I really wanted to highlight the amazing local products that we have available in a special way,” Natalie said. “I chose products that are distinct to the island and would complement each other well as a collection. My first creation was the “Annou Palé Dité Sent Lisi” – “Let’s Talk St. Lucia Teas” gift box which included local Coco Sticks, local tea, coffee and a locally painted Saint Lucian mug.”
Manager of the Gift Shop Shantal Lionel said, “Natalie came to me with the idea to specially package selected Saint Lucian products and feature them in a designated area in the store. At first I didn’t know what to expect, but I told her let’s give it a try and see what happens. She came back the next day with everything so well put together. We sent it over to our Director who was immediately impressed and excited to see the response from guests.”
In fact just minutes after setting up the display area, all the Saint Lucian packages were sold out.
When asked about her thoughts on the response from guests Natalie said “Being a Saint Lucian and being able showcase Saint Lucian products this way, I feel proud. It really is an amazing feeling and it opened the door to conversation with our guests as they became more intrigued to learn more about other local products at the Gift Shop, their questions and excitement was never ending”.
In addition to the “Annou Palé Sent Lisi” gift boxes created by Natalie, the Sandals Halcyon Beach Gift Shop hosts several other local items including wood carvings from the Gift Shop’s main local hand carving supplier Charles Johnson, paintings by Vernon Ferdinand, and local mugs and painting by artist McCrasey among others.
Guests at Sandals Halcyon Beach were excited to purchase the packages to take back home as souvenirs as they say this will encourage their family and friends to visit and experience the amazing culture of Saint Lucia for themselves.
Headline photo: Natalie Calixte from the Sandals Halcyon Beach Gift Shop Holding Her Creations.