A Bonnet For You!
  Gavin Luke
February 2020

Paradise Pulse features an exciting T&T entrepreneur, Marcia Seales Rodney, who specialises in head wraps and ethnic wear.

“I love head wraps and ethnic wear. I believe it to be an integral part of who I am,” declares Marcia Seales Rodney.

Marcia is a self-starter who makes hats that look like head wraps and/or pre-tied turbans. During the Carnival season she specialises in Hawt Bonnets. A Hawt Bonnet is what she calls her turbans made of brightly coloured spandex. She explains, “Bright colours are perfect for the season and because it is spandex, it well serves as a go-to piece to any paint or mud party. It also can protect the hair while you're feteing.” All her pieces are re-useable for other events including for use in “glammed” up events. In sharing about her Hawt Bonnets it is easy to come to the realisation that they can be styled in a myriad of ways and because of the material they are both comfortable and durable and more so fashionable even beyond Carnival.

In asking more about Marcia she openly shares that she is now married and is a mother of four. Prior to her entry into entrepreneurship she was a Communications professional. “I was a Marketing and Communications professional for over 16 years before I started my first business. I love graphic design and communicating through colour and imagery. I also sold insurance once. I think that that training has always stayed with me. It taught me to ask for what I want. It also taught me that getting a "no" was a blessing.” The event that triggered Marcia’s new passion was whilst working for a state agency almost nine years ago. A change in government administration left her without a job. With young children at the time and the need to provide, she decided that it was practical to start her own business. An idea she was always toying with at the time. The idea for the hats came naturally as she usually herself covered her hair quite often. In mentioning, “It's my preferred way of wearing my hair as a naturalista,” she also mentioned that her first offering of her Carnival head wraps was in 2019. “When my sister used my black spandex Hawt Bonnet for J'ouvert it just clicked!” J'ouvert and the related paint parties itself reflects the thousands of women with their hair covered by bandanas. She noticed that when the bandana fell off most women ended up with their hair covered in paint. She markets her Hawt Bonnets to help prevent such a scenario.

What she considers unique about her bonnet offerings is its signature knot. Each knot is handmade. She believes that the shape of her bonnets fits even if you have “a tone of hair or not or whether you have braids or locks”.

Above all said, in commenting on the challenges faced by small business, Marcia cited that getting in front of your target audience is the challenge and that to really capitalize on the season with her hand made product involves being able to produce large quantities. Her visibility was improved this season however as she was able to present at Tuesday on The Rocks and Old Yard. Once she remains consistently creative she remains hopeful that she can do a lot more Carnival events next year including more Carnival markets. Currently Marcia’s Hawt Bonnets are available at her store, Afrocessories Home, which is located in the Annex of Trinidad Theatre Workshop at #6 Newbold Street in St Clair. But to address the issue of accessibility she also has her products placed at Closet Red Plus Sized Boutique in Mt. Lambert and C3 Centre San Fernando. In terms of future plans, she intends to focus on the store and its clientele and continuing to create unique ways for people to meet her. Additionally note-worthy about Marcia’s efforts is that although she has a seamstress on board, all the family members also participate in the sewing efforts of the business which well makes this an enterprise worth supporting. And about her husband Merrell, “He makes all the hand-made knots for the Bonnets”. She dubs him the “Knotsman”!

All photographs are courtesy of Marcia and Afrocessories


By: Gavin Luke | FEATURES | February 2020