It was a Sunday morning and Janet Bloom Fabres was lying in her bed at her mother’s house in England, wondering and worrying about what she could do to support herself financially. She was always fortunate to spend her time mothering and volunteering with things she felt passionate about. Writing and playing hostess to her friends from T&T, is something she enjoyed over the 25-year period she lived there, but it did not add anything financially to her life. At that time she didn’t mind, she was not worried; nevertheless, with the demise of the construction industry in Florida it changed everything. Hearing different stories about life changing experiences could not have prepared Janet for what she was about to encounter. “The most shocking to me was the quickness of how everything you deemed to be real or permanent can fall apart as if it never existed,” she said. “I truly believe though, that when your world as you know it gets shaken, it is in a strange way a gift…. an opportunity to reevaluate and rebuild it better than it was before.” ‘Needs’ and ‘wants’ began battling for the top spot and when the race was over ‘needs’ won supreme. Priorities got re-shuffled and gratitude for the important things took its rightful place. “So there I was, 50 years old, scared to death of the business world I knew nothing about, mentally flickering through my very empty resume thinking, ‘Now what?” It was only then that something hit her. ‘Do what moves you’ kept popping up, but her dominant thoughts remained on ‘I need money to pay the bills.’
During the days that followed something happened to change her outlook and her life. Immediately she called her brother and before she could finish her proposition about her market idea he was already on board. Janet had realised that she loved food and enjoyed visiting the local market. “There is something so wonderful about a market environment that makes you feel part of the community even if you are a tourist. The cockney fishmonger saying, ‘How you doing today, my love?’ She explained. “It is something you never feel in a grocery; there is a different human interaction and passion of the farmers, chefs, bakers or food producers.” Consequently the call to her brother and the visit to the market one more time triggered a dream of creating a market atmosphere in T&T. Her vision for the market now officially known as UpMarket was to offer an affordable option for people to bring what they have directly to the public. A place where farmers and producers of any kind can interact directly with the customer as it creates a better understanding and appreciation for what we eat and what it takes to produce it.
In this vision, the market was a place where artists and craftsmen can exhibit and sell their work and where any new business idea can be introduced and be given feedback directly from the customer. Now that her vision/dream, UpMarket has turned into her tangible goal, it includes everything that she wanted and much more. UpMarket is also a platform, whereby different charities have the opportunity to visit monthly and publicise their organisations’ plight, inevitably allowing anyone to offer any type of support. It is a place that exudes a family togetherness for all ages. This market has everything thing, from clothing and fashion to crafts, music and food. It happens every month at the Woodbrook Youth Facility, Woodbrook. “I wanted people to feel as I did on a rainy, cold Saturday morning when my Mum would take me with her to the local market and I would stand and watch the interaction of the fishmongers with the people. The jokes and laughter and the caring between the customers and vendors I adored.” And even though she was too young back then to buy fish, she would always encourage her mother to buy something because she wanted to support it. Anyone wanting to visit or support UpMarket can do so directly or contact Janet via email at [email protected] or upmarkettrinidad on Facebook and not the Woodbrook Facility.