Ah Piece may seem like an unusual name for a business, but indeed, it captures Nicole Fearon’s idea beautifully. It’s a phrase that forms part of our lives as Trinbagonians, “give me ah piece of that”, “I eat before I leave home, so I will just eat ah piece.” Rings a bell? Well, for Fearon, wife and mother of two, Ah Piece became her way of achieving the balance she needed in her life. She can now have her cake and eat it too; a career (working from home) and quality time with her family. Before this, she was so busy that there was never much downtime, and when there was, she’d fall into her usual pace and routine – still looking for something to do. When Fearon and her family moved back to the Port-of-Spain suburbs of Trinidad some years ago, she realised that there was a new market waiting to be explored. People were always asking or looking for something that was quintessentially local to either take back with them to their own country or just to adorn their home. Not something made in China or the Philippines, something made here. Sounds like quite an easy task, but it was really a huge challenge for shoppers, not just in this country, but up the islands as well. With all those years of Business and Management behind her, Fearon saw, not the challenge, but the opportunity this provided.
What people needed was one location where local artisans could sell their items, one location where people could get what they wanted. Thus, the Ah Piece business idea was born and with Fearon’s hard work and determination, it became a reality. Although online shopping has been around for a while, getting local artisans on board with her business ideas was still tough. These people were accustomed to direct sales; many of them knew nothing about building online profiles with their products’ descriptions, weights, prices and such. Faced with this challenge, if her business was going to be a success, Fearon would have to do most of the work. And she did, becoming copyrighter, photographer, sourcing artisans and running the website. The Ah Piece website was soft-launched in February of this year, cautiously to ascertain how much of a success it could be. Today the visitors to the website and the online orders for items just keep growing. The Ah Piece Facebook page has been another success, crossing the 2500 mark and counting. Geared towards people who are busy but still want local products and to the diaspora worldwide who share this feeling, this website allows you to browse the wide variety of local products manufactured by local artisans. You can make your purchase online and have it delivered to you.
Today because of this grand business idea, there exists a secure online service where people can access local items and as Fearon hopes, regional items as well. One can find chocolates made with our own home-grown Trinitario Cocoa, a lovely range of flavoured teas, hand painted scarves and ties, locally designed T-shirts, fashionable clothing and accessories for both adults and young children, jewellery and household items in ceramic, wood, and metal, photo note-cards and natural body cleansing and candles. You can even purchase locally made pepper sauce on Ah Piece. Whilst promoting the products of locals and those across the Caribbean region is the main aim of Ah Piece, it has also created an interesting portal to support the ‘going local’ cause as people become increasingly aware of our carbon footprint and have started buying local products instead of importing. It is also evidence of another amazing, local entrepreneur carving a niche for herself. You know how we Trinis do.