Roughly a couple years ago I received a goodie bag from Discover Grenada at an event, which included a really pretty bum bag. The pattern was of a vibrant nutmeg. Earlier this year, that bum bag became a staple accessory on my Couch to 5K runs. When I posted a pic of me wearing it , on Instagram, straight away someone tagged the maker of the bag. Since then, I’ve been following Manus Art Grenada. I realised it was not only bum bags they made, there were more fashion items, interior decor accessories etc. I had to know more about the brand, especially now. It seemed to me that small businesses have been excelling where big brands have not in terms being more savvy, better customer service and simply finding ways to carry on. I reached out to Jeremy and he agreed to do an online interview with The Tiger Tales. This is Jeremy Manus Alexander’s interview.
The Jeremy Manus Alexander Interview
TTT: Tell us a bit about yourself.
JMA: I am Jeremy Manus Alexander, born on the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada. I grew up in the town of Grenville and fell in love with art at the tender age of 10. To this day, that love is there.
At St Andrews Methodist Primary School, my primary school, I began art classes. Then, I furthered my skills and technique at the St Andrews Anglican Secondary School (SAASS), as part of my secondary education.
I’ve always had great support from family, friends and professional artist alike to carry on doing what I love. Being creative is enjoyable and very rewarding. In 2001, I migrated to the United Kingdom and joined the British Army. While in the army I drew many Caribbean scenes because I was home sick. Art helped me to cope during that time.
TTT: What was the catalyst for starting Manus Art Grenada?
JMA: When I left the Army in 2012, I started Manus Art Grenada. My vision was to build a brand and use whatever avenue was available to make my art more attractive. I didn’t want to go down the conventional route. So I started printing my artwork on fashion and accessories.
The feedback and support was amazing. I’m very happy I followed my vision. I continue to work hard to make Manus Art Grenada an household name in Grenada and the world.
JMA: The nutmeg is significant to me in many ways. My parents worked in the nutmeg pool all their lives to earn a living and send me to school. Nutmeg is just an amazing product. Its brilliant colour and appearance fascinates me.
The first piece of art I sold was to a German tourist couple visiting Grenada, in 1990. It was a painting of nutmegs. Painting nutmeg will be always dear to my heart.
TTT: What has been the best feedback you have had to date?
JMA: I had a Facebook message from a lady in California who also does art. She hadn’t painted for a long time until she came across my work on Facebook. She was so in love with what I did that she started drawing and painting again. To this day, she always thanks me for inspiring her to start painting again.
How has Covid-19 impacted your business and the way you work?
JMA: Covid 19 led to the cancellation of events in the summer that I intended to sell at. In the summer, I make the most sales. Hence, there would definitely be less sales this year. Luckily my main income job has not been affected, so, I will not feel the pinch as hard as other vendors in a different situation.
TTT: What advice do you have for an entrepreneur who wants start a business that exports products outside of the country they reside?
JMA: If you love and enjoy what you do, I think half the work is already done. Never give up.
If you know of any other inspirational small business that may be interested in an interview with us, you can comment below or tag me on Instagram. I would love to share their stories.