What the exhibitors say about GuyExpo 2009…

This week we publish the thoughts of some of the exhibitors about the trade fair which is scheduled to end its six-day run tomorrow.

Interviews by Sara Bharrat and photos by Tiffny Rhodius

20091005indiraIndira Doodnauth, Garden Image:

‘Sales aren’t like years ago. You’re getting visitors this year but they’re not buying anything. I would use this as a recreation spot to come with my family and relax. I notice that is what people are doing. Every year GuyExpo gets less and less like a trade fair. I’ve been participating in GuyExpo from the beginning in the 1990s and use it to reach other markets for my plants but this year buyers haven’t been visiting. Well, not yet anyway, because there are still a few more days to go.’

Shameza Hussein, D&R Wooden Craft:20091005shameza

‘The sales this year isn’t good. GuyExpo for me is not like before. I’ve participated in the event for several years and back then people used to come and shop but not this year. I’ve noticed that as the years go by this event becomes more and more like a hang out spot for people and not a forum where businesses are given an opportunity to showcase their products to possible large scale buyers both foreign and local. The good thing is that people are coming and they are seeing our products so we will be more widely known. But I am still not singing the full benefit of GuyExpo yet.’

20091005natashaNatasha Carrington, WiFiHandcrafted Leather:

‘People are coming this year. They are looking and liking but they are not buying anything. I guess people don’t have to money to buy and I blame the current global economic crisis for this situation. The demand for the product is there but the cash to satisfy those demands is not there. I also think that the entrance price that people have to pay to enter GuyExpo is too high. Each person is charged $500 at the gate and if they have a vehicle they must pay an additional $1000. In this hard time many people will not come because of those prices. I’ve been showcasing my products at GuyExpo for three years and the decline I’ve seen this year tells me that fewer buyers will be participating in GuyExpo next year or the next time it is held. I will be participating next time though because it is a great way to gain publicity for the business.’

20091005amandaAmanda Mahadeo, Amanda’s Handicrafts:

‘Actually I feel that GuyExpo is not for the purpose of selling-out products but it provides us with a way to of marketing them by way of exhibiting them to the public and potential wholesale buyers. Even if sales aren’t booming I will still be at GuyExpo next year. This is my first year participating in the event but I was a part of the Carifesta exhibition last year and I have gained experience by taking part in others as well. I am a financial member of the Guyana Arts and Crafts Association and it provides me with many opportunities. I am not only representing myself at GuyExpo but the women of St. Cuthbert’s Mission because it is their hand woven crafts I have bought and brought here to display. For me this exhibition is a way of learning from each other and about producing good quality products. It also gives fellow business people the opportunity to interact with each other and discuss the challenges of our various industries.’

Tracy Douglas, Pandama Retreat:

‘I think GuyExpo is a great place to market products and check out prices. It basically gives 20091005tracya business the ideal ground to test the market. You get to see how your products are received by buyers and how they react to your price range. This is my first year here and before I signed up for the exhibition I knew that I couldn’t come here with expectations of making money. The real richness in the exhibition is the exposure your business gets. Sure everyone wants to and should make the money they’ve invested to be at GuyExpo but if they don’t at least their products would have touched many more people. I’ve made the money I invested to be at GuyExpo and the rest of my sales will add up to profit.’

20091005kennethKenneth Nelson, Heart-core:

‘Saturday and Sunday at GuyExpo usually brings in the crowd and I hope that’s the case this year because thing have started slow. This event as far as I can tell has been getting bigger and bigger every time around. I think the Low Carbon theme will go a long way in making local producers more aware of how what they do affects the environment. I have been participating in the event for four years and I will continue to support it because it’s a local thing and we have to support our own. Besides over the years I have had a steady string of buyers who look for me every GuyExpo. The event gives businesses a chance to develop clienteles.’

Michael Alleyne, Creative Crafts:20091005michael

‘Today [Saturday] is my first day at GuyExpo this year and I’ve been participating since my return from China in 2006. Over the years I’ve noticed a decline in spending power. Many persons aren’t here for buying and there aren’t as many local products being exhibited. I think people need to be enlightened about the value of locally-crafted products made from natural materials and learn to appreciate them.’
20091005brassHaimwant Dhanie, Brass, Aluminum and Cast Iron Foundry:

‘The turnout this year was reasonable. We have been participating in GuyExpo every year since its inception. Over the years the turn out to GuyExpo has steadily declined and exhibitors are not as many this year. Since GuyExpo started on Thursday we’ve been having browsers but not the business people we aim to reach. In previous years we have had buyers approach us but so far this year we are still waiting for the buyers to come by. We feel that the current financial climate is affecting the event this year. However, we will continue to come here because there are many people who don’t even know we exist and GuyExpo gives us a chance to make our company known to the general public.’

20091005yadramYadram Boodram, General Industrial and Supplies Enterprise:

‘This is our first year at GuyExpo and we will definitely be coming again. We are finding the experience very interesting. It’s giving us an opportunity to show people our product and its high quality. Seeing is believing after all, and if we can show them the good quality here we are sure to build a clientele for later. I’ve met quite a few investors to tell you the truth and I am using this to boost my business in the current economic downturn. When you’re down you have to get up and keep working.’

Wayne Phillips, Body Central Boutique:20091005phillips

‘This is our first year here and things start kicking up in the evening for us. People are passing through and they are buying but I guess that’s because we’re selling clothes, makeup, and costume jewellery. I’ve noticed that booths with other products, especially crafts, aren’t having much luck. I guess people are trying to buy things they’re most likely to use.’

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