Monday, 19 December 2016
#SpotlightInterview with Fashion Entrepreneur Princess Booker
Princess Booker is one of the grandchildren of Cedella Marley Booker and grew up between the United Kingdom, Jamaica and Miami, Florida.
Born into a musical family, it was only natural that Princess Booker followed a creative path. After majoring in Events, Music and Media Management, Booker spent several years working on the Annual 9 Mile Music Festival in Miami.
As a young child, Princess Booker would visit Nine Mile Jamaica with her father Richard Booker and grandmother, exploring the island.
In 2014, Princess Booker spent several months in Jamaica at the Nine Mile tourist attraction. Whilst in Jamaica, she found herself sketching images of what she had seen around the Village. This ultimately led and inspired her to create designs for a collection of t-shirts and canvas bags and caps to represent what Nine Mile meant to her.
Q: Princess Booker offers a tremendous range of stylish and contemporary clothing items with an authentic Caribbean touch. When did the epiphany moment happen when you fully decided to take the leap of faith and essentially start your own clothing company?
I have always been creative since I was young, but the thought of starting my own clothing line happened when I spent 3 months in Jamaica at Nine Mile a couple years ago. I’ve been travelling to Jamaica since I was a child and this was the first time that I felt that I really experienced Jamaica.
I remember hanging out at the gift store and tourists were shopping and someone came up to me asking, “Where are the items that say Nine Mile?”. I looked around and thought wow there isn’t any.
At that moment I wanted to give people a piece of Nine Mile to take with them.
Q: With that being said, how would you describe the Princess Booker brand in your own words?
Well, Princess Booker is me. I wanted to share with others what Nine Mile meant to me.
I believe it was a calling and something that I was destined to do. I am just following on from what my grandmother started and my dad has been doing for years. I think that my grandmother would be happy to know that I started my own clothing line to help share the message of Nine Mile with the world. This is an important part of my heritage, which I believe makes me the person I am.
Q: Princess Booker is sold throughout various stores in Jamaica and is thriving and perennially growing as far as business is concerned. What are your main goals for the Princess Booker clothing brand?
My Goals for the Princess Booker brand is to grow into an internationally recognized apparel brand. I want to shine a light on one of my favorite places to visit and I hope to bring awareness to the small village that touched many people all over the world through music.
Q: The brand new limited edition Julian Marley T-Shirt is a popular item currently sold on the Princess Booker official website. Why do you feel this particular item has been such a universal fan favourite?
Julian Marley is someone who spreads the message of love and unity. The Julian ‘JuJu’ Marley brand and Princess Booker together shared the same message. I think people can see the natural synergy, so it made sense. He also has a deep connection to Nine Mile, so everything went hand in hand.
I also think his fans saw a different side of Julian, hence why I called it the Julian Marley ‘Rude Boy’ T-shirt.
Q: Princess Booker prides itself in being very authentic to its Jamaican roots on a variety of levels. Do you feel this is one of the reasons as to why the Princess Booker clothing brand has resonated so strongly with consumers at large?
Well looking at the contemporary messages that are out there, I feel that the world needs more love and positivity. This message is represented strongly in Nine Mile and by Julian Marley and consumers also want to represent that message.
Q: Princess Booker is of course a leader in Jamaican clothing apparel. What plans do you have for the Princess Booker clothing line in regards to the diverse range which you offer?
It would be great to take it from a merchandise angle to possibly creating a seasonal clothing line. We are going to launch other clothing items such as Vest Tops, Crop Tops, Hoodies and Swimwear.
Next year will be a very exciting year, stay tuned.
Q: Being one of the grandchildren of Cedella Marley Booker, what did you learn most from your beloved grandmother and how did your positive relationship with her help you become the person that you are today?
My grandmother was a very strong and smart woman. She shared her wisdom with me and told me about my family tree and her experiences in life growing up.
She was a doer and to me there was nothing that she couldn’t do. She sang, cooked, gardened, played the piano and would read the bible with me every morning.
When I was younger I used to help her make her beaded jewellery and dolls.
I believe a lot of my creativity came from her; she was very inspiring and part of the reason why I started Princess Booker Clothing.
I was blessed with amazing grandparents.
Q: How much did growing up in the United Kingdom, Miami and Jamaica invariably shape you as both a creative and more importantly as a human being?
Travelling between these places made me a rounded person; it allowed me to understand the different cultures and to see how the world blends. It gave me the ability to create the brand Princess Booker. Every place is very different but I learnt to be humble and to be true to myself. I love to travel and experience new things as it gives me inspiration and ideas.
I’ve been in Jamaica and the lights have gone out and I’m sitting there with nothing but the stars. You can be annoyed or you can find your flashlight and light some candles and continue getting ready in the dark.
Q: Being born into the legendary Marley family, it was almost human nature that you'd follow a distinct creative path. After majoring in Events, Music and Media Management, you spent a number of years working on the Annual 9 Mile Music Festival in Miami, Florida. Can you tell the fans at home more about the incredible Annual 9 Mile Music Festival?
The 9 Mile Music Festival was started by my grandmother to celebrate her son’s life. They have collected over 3 million canned foods for the homeless. It is based in Miami and has been running for the last 23 years. The festival has seen many artists perform from Julian, Stephen & Damian Marley, Carlos Santana, Lauryn Hill, 2 Chainz, Future, Nas, Buju Banton, Machel Montano, Shaggy and many more.
The festival is a fun day out filled with music, arts and crafts and lots of food!
The next Nine Mile festival is on the 11th March 2017 check out! www.9milemusicfestival.com
Q: As a young child, you would often visit Nine Mile Jamaica with your father and grandmother. What are your earliest recollections of Nine Mile and how would you describe Nine Mile to those who have never visited?
My earliest memories of Nine Mile was this white house on the top of the hill. Nine Mile back then wasn’t how it is now. So for me, it’s incredible to see it how it’s changed.
I remember walking up the hill with my grandmother hand in hand. We would remove our shoes before we enter the mausoleum to visit my uncles. My grandmother would cover my hair with a scarf and light Frankincense and we would both kneel as she would read scriptures from the bible and pray.
Nine Mile for me besides being a tourist attraction is home.
Q: The Bob Marley Mausoleum is a tourist attraction located in Nine Mile. What can fans and tourists generally expect upon visiting The Bob Marley Mausoleum?
First of all, your journey has already started once you start the drive to Nine Mile. The views that you will experience on your way up into the mountains are beautiful. That’s a tour within itself. Once you enter the gates and step out of your tour bus, you will hear Bob Marley’s voice in the air. At that moment you will have no choice but to leave your worries there. Nine Mile is a spiritual place, so all I say is take in the fresh air, meditate and enjoy every moment. I still jump on tours when I go, just because.
Q: Before we leave Princess, what creative projects do you currently have in the pipeline that you would like to share with the audience?
Princess Booker Clothing Line has some new products coming out in 2017! We’re looking forward to expanding the range and the message.
Article by +Dean Perretta of In-Spire LS Magazine
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