There’s a New Bag Crush in Town…
After eyeing up some bags online, I was struck by the non-stop comments from customers asking about ‘bulk orders’ – as they were unable to choose just one bag from the collection. So I tracked down the in-demand designer behind the brand, GGoC by Nicole to find out more. And now I have, I am totally smitten!
Not one to keep this kind of information to myself, I would like to introduce you to another fabulous Jamaican company. And this one will make accessories fans speculate on how they can justify multiple bag purchases at once. You have been warned, you better start creating some space in your suitcase and wardrobe, because you are going to want to give new homes to a few of these beauties.
GGoC by Nicole
God’s Gift of Creativity, is an aptly named accessory line, as there is definitely something of the ‘divine’ nature to the pieces on offer. The collection is Made in Jamaica and features local and international printed fabrics mixed and matched with embossed and smooth Vegan friendly leatherette or 100% real leather. Some of which are made extra special with embellishments made from repurposed pieces of semi-precious and costume jewellery. Drawing inspiration from her personal style and taste, Nicole is well on her way to ensuring there is a catwalk worthy piece for every occasion and personality in her collection.
One of the reasons I am smitten with GGoC by Nicole, apart from the beautiful bags, is Nicole herself. Nicole is one of those people who you can’t help but immediately warm to. From our first correspondence, I was drawn in by her genuine, warm and affable character. Which lead her to not only to be happy to share her story on the website, but also extended to her offering her assistance and support to my own endeavours, despite her being a busy mother and serial entrepreneur herself.
Sweet Jamaica – Support Jamaica Buy Jamaican!
Meeting women like Nicole, reaffirms why I love writing these features to highlight Jamaica’s up and coming entrepreneurs and businesses. It affords me the opportunity to collaborate and share the stories of some of the most inspirational, strong, ambitious, resilient, driven, creative and beautiful souls in Jamaica. Who are down to earth, real, spirited and willing to offer support and share their experience, scrapes and all.
It brings it home that there are ‘real people’ behind the products and brands that we buy. People like you and me. People who have had the courage to step outside of their comfort zone and put everything on the line to carve out their own niche and destiny.
Supporting these Jamaican companies means supporting a household, because behind these SMME’s (small, medium and micro enterprises) there are parents trying to send their children to school, young adults trying to make a foundation on which to build and the experienced in life, turning their time and skills into sugar money. Amen.
On that note, I would like to introduce you to Nicole Clarke the brainchild of the GGoC brand, who is a perfect embodiment of this, as she shares her story and divulges her favourite things about the beautiful island of Jamaica…
Please Introduce Yourself
“I am Nicole, the middle child of three for Clarence and Norma Clarke. I started my early education at Mona Prep, but I didn’t spend more than a year there as we migrated to Calgary Canada, where we would spend 6 years. During that time we received our Canadian citizenship.
We returned to Jamaica in January 1984 leaving little time to prepare for the Common Entrance exam on the “second try” at Immaculate Prep. Passed for Immaculate High and spent six wonderful years which shaped the individual I am today. I met many lifelong friends and value the discipline that was instilled by St. Maureen Claire; I was AFRAID of her.”
What lead you to launch GGoC by Nicole
“After I left 6th form I went straight into the family business, Windows Limited, which taught me so many lessons and shaped my work ethic and passion for customer service. I started with answering phones and moved up to dads right hand.
But the desire to chart my own path kept at me and I decided to move away from the family business when a friend who’s father had recently died needed a General Manager for that company. It was a great opportunity and more lessons were learnt, but this is not where I was meant to be.
In November 2015 while searching for something for the company I came across a red fabric that I fell in love with and intended to make a clutch for my sister for Christmas. But, I made it and it sold, them I made another and it too sold. The rest is history.
When I lost that job due to restructuring, I went head on into GGoC by Nicole. The first clutches were made by my shoemaker, but he lacked the eye for the finishing detail so I went in search of someone who could. A couple seamstresses later, I found my secret weapon who has been making them for me since. I can make them myself if needs be but due to time constraints, he does most of the work.
I also run another company GGoC Screens, so my time has to be divided between the two.”
Tell Us About – GGoC by Nicole
“So GGoC means Gods Gift of Creativity. I guess I always had this creative gene because I remember while at the family business, designing and making glass tables from the scrap glass and selling them in furniture stores downtown. GGoC by Nicole started in December 2014 and has been growing slowly but steadily since.
We are exploring the Caribbean market and are working on some new products that should be out in about a month. Currently, we ship to the United States and Canada and I am always besides myself when I see someone pictured with one of my bags.”
What inspired you to use your hands ‘creatively’?
“I think I was born with the ability to make something out of nothing. ‘Turn my hand mek fashion’ sort of thing, so I’ve been able to do much with little.
I am the go to for art projects and musical projects with nieces and nephew and daughter. And, once upon a time I was a part of a singing group. I’ve written and produced music so I suppose the creative passion has always been burning.”
Describe the Pieces that you Create
“We recently started a leather line (to complement the leatherette line), as we have customers asking for genuine leather products. That has been exciting and we look forward to the growth of that line.
My daughter has (12 years) and loves them and my mother has and loves hers too (over 70 years). My wish / dream is to have at least one product for every person – clutch, crossbody, purse, phone cases. I am not placing a limit on what we can design, create and appeal to.”
Where do you get your Original Creative Inspiration from?
“A friend of mine worked in Nairobi and used to bring me the most beautiful fabrics from the market. I still have quite a few pieces which I use, but I also use local fabrics to mix and match and come up with new designs.
A high school friend Cared a who sells jewellery in Philadelphia, sent me a bag of mismatched or broken pieces of jewellery that I have affixed to some of the clutches. They’re always a hit. So if there that pair of earrings that you’ve lost one, and wish to keep the other, we can design a clutch around it.
We love to do custom work as ultimately we want each client to feel their money is well spent and feel like their outfit is complete with our piece. In turn stepping out with poise and confidence.”
What can we look forward to in the Future From GGoC
“In 3-5 years we hope to be a household name, synonymous with fashion. We have new products coming out in a few weeks and we add something to the GGoC line annually. As well as tweaking our current products, we listen to our customers and try to design around their needs and desires.”
GGoC by Nicole Insider Guide to Jamaica
Always on the look out for the best spots in Jamaica and some insider tips to share with my readers, I have asked Nicole for her expert opinion on these matters…
What are your favourite childhood pastimes and memories
“In Jamaica I would spend many summers with my grandmother and cousins in Westmoreland and my uncle had an ice cream store called Road Runner. That was a highlight for sure. She had a big yard and sold eggs so we would go in the coop and help collect eggs. I have fond memories of this.
We didn’t spend summers in Canada, but during the year I have great memories of riding my bicycle around the neighbourhood and pulling my brother around in our red wagon.”
GGoC by Nicole – Favourite Jamaican Hangouts
“Now, I spend a lot of time at home, but I visit Centre Stage now and then to see a local play – aren’t they the best? Jamaicans are soo talented!
I love sushi and eat at Roe, now and then and visit Uncorked for wine; both at Sovereign North. Norma’s on Whitehall avenue is a MUST, especially the Oxtail!”
GGoC by Nicole – Tell us what you love about Jamaica
“Jamaican people are warm, extremely friendly and we love to entertain. Our falls, our beaches and food are to die for and the weather is warm and sunny. Sounds so clichéd but its true.
There’s something for everyone. Nightlife is busy and bustling, our Dancehall culture appeals to so many. Our reggae music, our athletes. Our musicians. We really do have it all.
As Jamaicans we sometimes take this for granted. It’s when our visitors come and we take them around that we really appreciate what we have. For me anyway.”
GGoC by Nicole – Favourite Island Hide-Aways for a Weekend in Jamaica
“There’s always someone to stay with when exploring the island but when I want to relax and veg out, Grand Bahia Principe is great to visit, as are the Riu chains.
Deep rural or in the bush is always great for exploring and seeing the island’s vegetation. Chances are you’ll discover one of our many waterfalls. Country people are especially friendly and accommodating.
If you want to do nothing but read a book or sleep under the warm rays of the sun, the beach is the place to be. Negril and Ocho Rios are my faves. Robins Bay in St. Mary also has beautiful beaches.”
GGoC by Nicole – Highlights about Living in Jamaica
“Jamaica is unique. We try to make light of bad experiences to help us get through them. You can hardly go a day without a deep belly laugh. Our comedy, our music, our scenery, our talents on a whole are exceptional”
Places Fixed on GGoC by Nicole Jamaican Speed Dial
“I’m adventurous and spontaneous so am always trying somewhere new, I haven’t been ATV riding but dying to! Nothing on speed dial except my bank and the office. I travel with the telephone directory, LOL.”
GGoC by Nicole – Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
“I love your website. I’m extremely proud of the fruits of our Jamaican talents. I don’t think we get enough support locally, but we have to keep at it.”
GGoC by Nicole – Your thoughts on the ‘Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican!’ Campaign
“Absolutely fabulous and inspiring. Thank you so much for your support! Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”
Where can we find your Collection
I’ve showcased the items and bazaars and trunk shows and friend’s houses and the bags are available in Jamaica at Gaychel Boutique On Windsor Avenue, Heather LAINE on Lancaster Avenue and Endless Summer in Lower Manor Park Plaza.
GGoC by Nicole Contact Details and Purchasing
If you would like to learn more about GGoC by Nicole, or if you want to purchase an item please check out the links below:
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