While Tuesday’s Parade of the Bands has traditionally generated the attention of photographers and onlookers, recent Carnivals have seen specialised clothing being crafted to be worn on Carnival Monday.
The Business Guardian spoke to designers of Monday Wear and other entrepreneurs, who contribute to creating Carnival experiences.
Local swimwear designer Sian McIntosh, who owns the brand Rebel, said she has done 256 orders for Monday Wear for Tribe’s costume designer Solange Govia’s section called Monstera.
McIntosh candidly said that she also did extras for sale to the last-minute masqueraders.
However, she did point out that there has been a dip in the orders compared to last year, but stated that there has been a dip generally in Carnival consumption.
In terms of pricing, McIntosh, who has been in the business for ten years, said Rebel Monstera line ranges from $1,260 to $1,750 (US$180-US$250). Also this year she has included a bag at the cost of $490 (US$70) with all orders.
Some Carnival entrepreneurs have complained about shipment delays for times but that was not the case for McIntosh, as she said everything that was ordered came on time.
Asked if she would encourage other people to enter the Monday Wear industry, McIntosh indicated that it is a tough and very saturated industry.
“I would just tell anyone looking to enter to ensure they have a quality product and great customer service.”
Monday Wear has also become a trend in regional Mas, but the swimwear designer said she tends to stay away from this because she is always worried that if pieces don’t fit, the client on another island, there’s nothing that can do about it.
“That said, I am thinking of doing one regional country this year, not sure which country yet though.”
Doing the Monday wear, McIntosh said her seamstress brings her ideas to life, but the designs and everything else are done by her.
She had several pop-up showings in some of the other islands and now, McIntosh wants to tap into the diaspora markets in the United States.
Another Monday Wear designer, who has collaborated exclusively with Lost Tribe, Stefan Justin Sealy owner of Sealy Supplies, said he entered the market in 2019 with both female and male wear.
Sealy said he always wanted to be a Carnival designer and believed that the Monday Wear market was the most accessible way to enter the market.
As it pertains to pricing, he said the most expensive for males is $500 and females $600, as Sealy believes that Monday Wear should be affordable, as the Tuesday costumes are already costly and Monday Wear should not be a financial burden.
As a result, with teaming up with Lost Tribe this year the designer decided to go with that price range.
“I am happy that I was allowed to be the exclusive designer for Lost Tribe,” Sealy said.
He is considering expanding his product to the region in 2025 as his engagement with Lost Tribe has been his biggest undertaking so far.
Sealy also noted that he had minimal issues with importing supplies from China as he ordered early due to issues with the Panama Canal.
“At Lost Tribe, we try to purchase most things locally.”
When it comes to employment for the Carnival, the designer said he has four permanent workers and for the season two more people were added to the team, and his family is also helping around the clock.
Masqueraders, every year search for services that take the hassle out of getting ready on the day.
The Carnival Glam Hub is a one-stop shop, and, on its website, it boasts of being the Caribbean’s premier Carnival salon.
It said outside of a service booking, everyone within the hub has access to complimentary offerings including mimosas/cocktails, hot beverages, and a shuttle services among others.
It is located at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, therefore, making it easily accessible to all the bands.
It is a one-day makeup, hair and photoshoot service from US$200.
For both days it’s US$280.
The business was co-founded by Gabrielle Waite, a makeup artist and founder of the Gabby Glam Cosmetics makeup line.
Apart from T&T, it also operates in Miami, Jamaica, and St Lucia and has serviced more than 4,000 women, its website noted.
For the ladies eyelashes, waxing, and facials are important to look good on the road on Monday and Tuesday.
All in the family
This is where Allison Straker and Alisha Cummings, who are mother and daughter come in.
Alesha told the Sunday Business Guardian that Heights of Slay Ltd is a budget-friendly beauty salon located in Santa Rosa Heights Arima.
Alisha is an esthetician and offers services such as full body waxing services, facials, and intimate lighting services. Allison is a makeup artist and eyelash technician.
Alisha outlined that the business grew at the beginning of the pandemic when Allison, a full-time flight attendant was furloughed due to the closure of the airport, and she had no income.
She honed her recently acquired skills and began offering specials on microshaded eyebrows which was trending at the time. She already had several loyal clients who came every two to three weeks to have their eyelashes filled.
Allison and Alisha are constantly brainstorming of ways to add and improve services and propel the business further. We have realized that we can only do so many clients on our own.
“We run courses on all of our services and had intended to have interns, however, we realized that our clients come to us for who we are, and our skill set, and no one can do it like us. We have decided not to run ourselves too thin and just offer the best we can. Plans include lazer services such as laser hair removal, tattoo removal, mole removals etc,” she detailed.
Alisha said Carnival is usually their season and they have seen an increase in customers and as of this week they are fully booked.
Cost of Services; Eyelash Extensions $400 any set; Microshaded Eyebrows (lasts approximately three years) $1,300; waxing: full body $420 Hollywood/Brazilian $220 and Intimate Lighting- Price determined after consultation.
Many small businesses always complain about the red tape to set up an account at the bank.
On his issue, Alisha said “As a small business we are still learning all the legal aspects required and ensuring all the accounting is in order. We have not approached the bank just yet for any loans, however we plan to do so shortly to fund the lazer course and purchase the machine which can cost approximately USD 20,000.”
Most people during the feting season always prefer to be driven and this is where designate a driver comes in director and chief executive officer Rakellon Scott said the business was formed last year and this is the company’s first Carnival.
Scott said thus far the venture has been successful with bookings for fetes, airport runs, and costume pick-ups.
The company, which operates through an app, has 68 drivers and the cost starts from $100.
Scott highlighted that on Monday and Tuesday, a round trip between the Brix Hotel, Hilton Trinidad and Hyatt Regency can cost $300-$500.