By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
Catherine Gagnon is on a mission to beautify homes of Bahamians with luxurious locally made décor pieces.
To this end, she launched the Bahamourri homeware company during last November’s Jollification festival.
“I wanted to do housewares that were being stocked in local stores. There are too many things being sold here that are made in China or Europe or the United States. I also wanted to incorporate the history of the Bahamas in my work. The packaging for our candle lines showcase old maps of the Bahamas,” Catherine told Tribune Woman.
Bahamourrie currently mainly offers boutique candles inspired by the various islands, colours of the ocean, sand, flowers, trees, and more, all under the theme “Archipelago Gems.”
The candle line includes The Dunmore, inspired by Harbour Island, and The Gregory, inspired by Gregory Town, Eleuthera. Catherine describes The Dunmore as a 10.5oz 100 percent soy wax candle in a glass jar with cloche dome; it comes in four scents – Pink Sands (sweet musk/beachy), Ginger Land (ginger saffron), Briland Holly (Christmas scent; cinnamon clove) and Harbour Breeze (soft, spa-like).
Meanwhile, The Gregory is a 6oz soy wax in a tin and comes in four scents – Bamboo Coconut, Island Hibiscus, Seashore and Blue Spruce. All fragrances are hand-blended by Catherine herself. The packaging is then styled after old Bahamian maps. Catherine hopes to continue adding to the line this year with candles representing Bimini, Long Island and Abaco.
Bahamourri also offers vanity trays, catch-alls, skulls and batik plates – all made from concrete. Catherine said being inspired by concrete may be unusual, but it is the honeycomb texture and colour that appeals to her.
“It is a medium that has not yet been used by other artisans who mostly use ceramics. We are currently working on conch embedded plates in the upcoming months. We also debuted our ‘242’ necklace this season which is a hand-stamped, gold-plated necklace with ‘242’ on it... so cute! We will be doing more hand-stamped pieces in the near future as well as concrete pendants. We will be launching a line of dates in future work for candles and homewares where key dates, such as 1492 and 1971, the year the Queen approved the Coat of Arms, will be highlighted,” said Catherine.
As she works on all of her products at home, Catherine converted the top floor of her house into a studio. She explained that her 2017 new year’s resolution was to spend all of her extracurricular time on her art. Although she had to cut out quite a few things she loved to do in her spare time, Catherine said it has not felt like a sacrifice as she loves the process of creating wares for Bahamourri.
“I started focusing on three loves – concrete creations, candles and minimalistic jewellery. I thought about what to call my new business, and after a great deal of thought named it Bahamourri. The definition of potpourri is a mix of all things, which is what Bahamourri is about – a mix of artistic creations made in and inspired by the Bahamas,” she explained.
Since launching this year, Catherine said Bahamourri has participated in many pop-up shows, selling directly to customers, as well as establishing stocks in Nassau and the Outer Islands. Products can also be purchased at The Craft Cottage on Village Road, The Shore Boutique on Cable Beach and Calico Trading in Harbour Island.
“We expect to be in several other retail establishments in 2019 as well as have our online store up and running to sell to people outside of the Bahamas. We would also like to continue to expand our lines and to eventually have a studio in Nassau and our own retail stores in the Bahamas. The feedback I have received makes it all worthwhile,” she said.
And her customers appreciate the extra touches she puts into all of her products. Bahamourri candles are packed in cotton muslin bags; The Gregory candle bundles are packed in cellophane on a bed of pink sand from Eleuthera, sea glass and hand-stamped with a pineapple wax seal brushed with mica powder.
“We hand-stamp all of our tissue paper for that extra special touch. And everything I package has tassels, because what would life be without tassels,” she said. Bahamourri can be reached at 376-1787 or on social media.