During the 1970s, Colette Garrick was working as a flight attendant with the now defunct Air Jamaica. She took a trip to Morocco and was inspired by art and craft that she saw. Apart from wanting to start a business in that area, Colette wanted to expose local artists to art and craft from around the world.
Art is in Colette’s blood. Her mother was an artist and so is her son Nesta. Her then husband Neville Garrick is a graphic designer who created many of Bob Marley’s album covers.
Colette’s initial idea was to sell Mexican art and craft items. After giving birth to her third child, she realized that the demands of her busy career as a flight attendant were incompatible with the demands of motherhood. She was able to transfer to a less demanding job by working with Air Jamaica’s customer service department part time. Eventually she left to concentrate on selling art and craft full time.
The shop aptly named “Colette At The Wanderer” symbolized Colette’s travelling to places like Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Brazil to buy craft to stock her shop. Brazil is her favourite place having visited there more than forty times.
Like all new businesses, The Wanderer had challenges getting a loan from a financial institution. Colette chose to forgo bank financing and built her business through equity.
During the years, The Wanderer evolved. Colette also began to sell crystals and stones, both rough and unpolished. Today these stones account for 90% of the shop’s sales. She also does estate sales where she will take goods such as pottery, art and ceramics on consignment to sell to her customers. Prices for stones start at $400.
The wide variety of stones and crystals available at The Wanderer are reputed to have a variety of healing properties. The Black Obsidian is said to provide psychic protection. Tumbled Fancy Jasper is regarded as helping eliminate worry and depression. Rainbow Moonstone eases menstrual cramps as well as releases emotional stress. Amethyst is reputed to be very calming.
A piece of advice that Colette gives to people in business is the importance of having a business card that stands out. She related a story of meeting a lady in Brazil and giving her a business card. Eight years later on another trip to Brazil, the same person saw her and not only remembered Colette by name but still had her business card in her possession.
Working at home has made it possible for Colette to be a full time mother as well as operating a business full time. Operating a business from home is an income generating model that she strongly recommends for working mothers.
In 2000, Colette closed The Wanderer for the first time when she started battling depression. The stones and crystals which had been a source of income became a source of healing for her. In 2006 , Colette again closed The Wanderer. She went to India to study Ayurveda, an ancient holistic healing system. She also went to live in California with her son. She worked as a business coach in the famed Simi Valley. She returned to Jamaica in 2008 with some Native American jewellery to sell but with no intention of reopening the shop. However, a group of artists convinced her to sell their work on a commission basis. Soon she was back in business selling her own stock.
Colette no longer wanders around the world to find goods for her shop. Now in the digital age, she is happy to stay at home and order her stock through the internet. She lives a leisurely, stress-free life. She likes to have one on one relationships with her customers especially those who buy her stones and crystals. Colette operates a one person operation so it is best to call her at 926-6071 before you visit to make sure that she is available. She also has a Facebook page “Colette at the Wanderer”.
Doing something that you love as an occupation is what Colette strongly believes in and this has characterized her life’s journey.
(c) 2016 A. Pierre Sobers