How many of us, during our spare time or any time in the City, venture through the Castries Vendors’ Arcade to see the products on display? Many of us are familiar with the items available there and many more of us share the impression that only tourists would be interested in shopping at the Vendors’ Arcade. This is a false impression as the Arcade Vendors would certainly like to attract at least as many locals to their stalls as the number of tourists they hope to attract.
There are quite a wide variety of items that can be found at the Vendors’ Arcade, including clothing and accessories, ornaments, sculptures and various pieces of art; some of the latter that I saw while strolling through the Arcade would make excellent home decor.
In my humble option, Saint Lucia would be more successful in marketing its locally made products to foreigners if Saint Lucians incorporated these very same products in their everyday lives. I mean, you step into the arcade and there is vast array of t-shirts with various prints of “St Lucia”, but when you step outside the arcade you would be hard-pressed to find a Saint Lucian with a t-shirt which reads “St Lucia”. You would quicker find locals wearing shirts with prints of “Paris” or “L.A”. Many skirts and dresses in Caribbean style and fashion, and of course the madras are seen on display at the Arcade but you step outside and hardly see women adorned with these skirts and dresses if not the Jounen Kwéyòl season.
The above statement is not a criticism but merely an observation; for people are free to wear whatsoever they choose. But if we wish to market to foreigners products that are branded as “local”, then the foreigners would be more inclined to purchase these products if they perceive them to be part of our country’s identify instead of a sales marketing technique. The beauty and attractiveness of these products would be preserved by their continued relevance in the lives of the local people, and would therefore become more popular with our guests. This means that tourists should see these products being used by locals everywhere they go, and when they ask “Where can I find this?”, then you can point them to the Vendors’ Arcade or the nearest Craft Market.
With all that being said… the vendors at the Castries Vendors’ Arcade are inviting all Saint Lucians to come and take a look at the products they sell. “Our goods are not only for tourists; they are for everyone,” one vendor remarked on Thursday August 15th. You can find good clothes to wear and quality artwork to decorate your homes. If you visit the Arcade you are sure to stumble upon excellent gifts for both local and foreign friends. So, during your spare time or any time in the City, take a lime through the Castries Vendors’ Arcade.