Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 15th 2015 Contents JANUARY 2015 • WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
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to wonder how he or she will reach the market. Through our platform
we will enable them to partner with us. There will be networking for the
Stewart spoke to the Business Guardian on Monday at No 61 Luis Street,
He said there are 23 bands on the Web site at the moment.
"We have seen thousands of units pass through the system like costumes,
J'Ouvert packages, tickets. As far as we are positioned as a start up, we are
Technology and Carnival
Stewart explained how he got the idea to develop the platform.
"I am also the owner of SugarIslands.com which is a Web development
company that has been around for 15 years. We worked with Tribe to develop
its Web site and the technology back end which powers the band. We came
out with that in 2005 and Tribe uses that service up to today. That was
where we got our experience with knowing what works in the industry and
for what is now the largest band of its type around."
Stewart argues that the Carnival industry has been "under served" by
"A lot of the bands were not maximising their profits by early making
efficient use of the new technology tools that were available on the market
and I thought that was an area where can assist the brands and add value."
In November 2013 he did a test launch of a demo page of the Web site
to test the interest of the market.
"The response was great, we did a Facebook page and promotion and
saw a lot of interest. We spoke to a lot of bands as well and the interest
He spoke about the "long hard road" of raising the money to get the
project off the ground.
"That process took a while and I ended up financing it on my own with
investments from some friends and family. I would say it cost a few hundred
thousand TT dollars to get started. The development time frame was about
four to five months for the prototype. The top US providers that we used
make about US$90,000 annually. So it gives an idea of how much we spent
on their services."
The first band to use their service was Tribe in November 2013.
"This was around when Tribe had its tenth anniversary and we launched
to the public using Tribe's costumes. The costumes were available on our
Web site and we had Legacy, Yuma, we even had a more traditional band
like Just Friends, who very much hold to the traditional ideas. We then
branched off into J'Ouvert very quickly. We realised the products worked
and was wanted in the market."
He said Carnival bands from Miami, Barbados, Jamaica, the Bahamas,
Cayman Islands, Canada all utilise Web site.
"The reaction out there has been great. For the bands outside T&T the
pick up has been great. The public has been very happy. We are a start-
up company and resources are tight so what we have done is we tried to
form partnerships in the market with people who have been around for
years and one of them is Trini Jungle Juice. They are known for Carnival
parties and pictures and all that is Carnival. They said it sounded like a
fantastic idea. They were impressed by our soft launch. They saw it not
only as a store front but as a platform that could do much more."
Trini Jungle Juice went out to their international contacts in the industry
and introduced MyCarnivalBands as a platform that other bands could use.
"The first bands in Miami came on board. Mascot International did their
ordering system through us and it worked perfectly. Through the Trini Jungle
Juice promotion engine is how we leapfrogged through all the different
Stewart also spoke about new services that will be launched over the next
couple weeks as part of that collaboration.
"We will be providing e-ticketing that will not only serve the party market
but also serve conferences and events and tie everything back to the bands
are with us. Most of them have promotions and launches. We want them
to have one inventory base and one customer base."
He boasts that this Web site is the first of its kind in the Carnival indus-
"There is no one else who offers this compete service."
He said for this Carnival season, sales on the Web site has been good but
added that this season has been an "awkward" one.
"There are several issues internationally. It has been a tough one for many
Carnival bands. Because of the international issue with Ebola. There was
the issue around October on whether Carnival would be on or not. That
threw people's plan off on whether they would travel or book a hotel or
buy a Carnival costume. But we are passed that and we have seen a pick
up in the industry."
From Page 6
Carnival bands from Miami, Barbados,
Jamaica, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands,
Canada all utilise Web site.
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