The Yard: A new cre­ative space un­folds

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Toni Ni­cholas

On Thurs­day De­cem­ber 17th, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of the STAR Mae Wayne and her busi­ness part­ners held a ‘soft’ launch for The Yard. This new ven­ture com­prises four com­po­nents; a cloth­ing and sou­venir store, a book-shop, a café and an open space for small pro­duc­tions - fash­ion, spo­ken word, the­atre, mu­sic etc. Guests who turned out on Thurs­day evening were pleas­antly sur­prised and im­pressed by the trans­for­ma­tion of the space on the STAR Pub­lish­ing com­pound, Mas­sade Gros Islet. They en­gaged in a new shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence while en­joy­ing fine wines sup­plied by CPJ.

Ac­cord­ing to Mae Wayne The Yard is an ex­am­ple of what the tourist board and the gov­ern­ment al­ways like to say: that ev­ery show and ev­ery­thing they do should have a legacy story and The Yard is the legacy story of HOT Cou­ture.

“I in­vited to HOT Cou­ture a Turk­ish de­signer, Oya Soyal, who fell in love with Saint Lucia. So the two of us de­cided that we were go­ing to ful­fill a need in the mar­ket in Saint Lucia and in the Caribbean that fea­tures peo­ple who are in­spired by this re­gion, and give them a home, teach them about proper mar­ket­ing, mer­chan­dis­ing and cre­ate a store­front for our great ar­ti­sans. So we con­cep­tu­al­ized The Yard as a con­se­quence,” Wayne said.

She went on to ex­plain that the whole con­cept of The Yard evolved out of con­tain­ers (lit­er­ally) and re­cy­cled items making it a truly eco-friendly space. “So we have used our pal­ettes, print­ing plates and con­tain­ers and we re­designed it to show­case what man­u­fac­tur­ing and cre­ativ­ity can do.”

Ac­cord­ing to her, it has been a project that has been dif­fi­cult to put to­gether but thanks to Chris­tian Brown, the con­trac­tor, and Sean Comp­ton who as­sisted with the de­sign, a spe­cial and new cre­ative space has un­folded.

While Thurs­day’s ‘soft’ open­ing at­tracted quite a lot of at­ten­tion, the grand open­ing of The Yard is ex­pected to co­in­cide with No­bel Lau­re­ate week in Jan­uary 2016. “The book­shop will be opened then and we will fea­ture only Saint Lu­cian and Caribbean writ­ers, in ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing a really nice space for the arts, for the fash­ion­istas, all of the things which are so pre­cious and not cel­e­brated in our re­gion,” Mae Wayne said.

Oya Soyal, one of the busi­ness part­ners, has many years of ex­pe­ri­ence in mer­chan­dis­ing and de­vel­op­ment, and the in­ten­tion is to pass on some of the ex­pe­ri­ence to lo­cal and re­gional de­sign­ers. “So this is just the be­gin­ning of cre­at­ing a home that not just lo­cals wlll come and ap­pre­ci­ate, but visi­tors will come and see it and pa­tron­ize, be­cause it is a dif­fer­ent space,” Wayne ex­plained.

“Peo­ple think of the STAR and they pass us ev­ery day,” Mae Wayne said, “but we’ve cre­ated a space in a fac­tory, so I think that is what is go­ing to be amaz­ing.

“We are hop­ing that we at­tract a ma­ture clien­tele to a place where you can come and have a con­ver­sa­tion, a nice glass of wine, a good cup of cof­fee. It’s go­ing to be a great lo­ca­tion where writ­ers, peo­ple like Rick for ex­am­ple, can come and have de­bates with friends, where we can have read­ings by Derek Wal­cott and oth­ers too while en­joy­ing what we have to of­fer at the café. It’s not a restau­rant so it will be more things like sand­wiches and some Turk­ish and Mediter­ranean items be­cause I am orig­i­nally from the Mid­dle East and Oya is from Tur­key so our cui­sine is dif­fer­ent and there is noth­ing like it here. And when you add to that some Caribbean flavour, it will truly be a one of a kind ex­pe­ri­ence!”

Ac­cord­ing to Mae Wayne presently times are tough and right now ev­ery­one is look­ing for some­thing ex­tra for their dol­lar. “So come look at The Yard; maybe we can fea­ture your stuff; maybe we can pro­mote you; maybe we can help you with your brand. It’s a great place for the gen­eral pub­lic to come in and enjoy the space, be­cause this is a dif­fer­ent place, definitely a dif­fer­ent space. They can come and get some print­ing done, book an ad at the STAR, have a cof­fee and buy a dress!” The fash­ion and ac­ces­sory store at The Yard is now open for busi­ness with unique pieces from lo­cal and re­gional de­sign­ers not avail­able any­where else on the is­land.

Guests chat on the pa­tio of The Yard on Thurs­day evening as they enjoy

the am­biance over good food and drinks.

An ar­ray of spe­cially crafted jew­ellery is one of

the at­trac­tions..

Oya Soyal (left) hav­ing a chat with one of the guests

Eleanor Rae of Cox & Co. on Thurs­day.

Mae Wayne wel­comes Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter

Alva Bap­tiste to The Yard.

CPJ was a proud spon­sor of the event with an ar­ray of wines and bub­bly as well as Mount Gay Black Bar­rel.

Some of the items avail­able at The Yard.

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