6 February 2017, Written by James Perkins


WHEN considering the evolution of her business, The Ja Joint, Carly Day says, "If your plans don't work out initially, if they are right, then solutions will come."

Day (pictured below) had meditated on the idea of turning a vintage 1950s London double decker bus into a mobile Jamaican food, culture and entertainment venue aligned with her brand for years, but to do this she needed $150,000.

She organised a crowdfunding campaign last year that aimed to raise the money, and it paid off in an entirely different way than cash when a Brisbane man unexpectedly arrived at the launch party with exactly the type of bus Day wanted to buy.

"The crowdfunding campaign wasn't working, but a solution popped up. Ever since then we have been working together," says Day.

The pair converted the ground level of the bus into a kitchen and began using the vehicle to deliver Caribbean food and cultural experiences to Brisbane.

"The whole brand is about connecting people through food and through musical experiences," says Day. "People from different socio-economic backgrounds and different cultures are providing something that has not been seen before in Brisbane."

Late last year Day launched a new facet to the business, to complement its existing private and corporate events - The Jamaican Experience pop-up events.

These are limited to 20 people ($160 per head) and include music and a six course degustation plus two Jamaican drinks, each held at a secret location around the city.

The first Jamaican Experience pop-up, in late 2016 (pictured right) was a success and Day has planned three more, on 18 February, 18 March, and 15 April.

"The bus is a more of a street celebration, while The Jamaican Experience is more relaxed with a pop-up dining experience of a four to six course degustation of Jamaican ingredients," she says.

"It is the same concept, just in a different manner."

Day sees the cultural exchange between the musicians and chefs of The Ja Joint Bus and its clients as a core part of the business.

"Our musos and chefs open their hearts to the people that book us, and our clients give us hope and inspiration as well. It is a mutual exchange, and it is the reason I do it," she says.

Day grew up in Northampton near London. Her father is Jamaican-Chinese-Irish and her mother is Irish-English. She was drawn to the Caribbean culture, music and food through her family, and a trip to visit her great grandmother in St Ann in 2013 inspired her to develop the idea of The Ja Joint - her brand of Jamaican spices.

"Luckily enough, four years ago I met my great grandma in Jamaica and she has a commercial farm of traditional fruit and vegetables," says Day. "I had no idea that I had this extent of roots in my history in terms of my great grandma and great grandad being passionate about food in the 1930s in Jamaica.

"The trip expanded my knowledge of food and the Jamaican culture. Jamaicans are giving, despite many being very poor. They are happy and they are very much into sharing things in terms of culture, food and music.

"When I was there, I had the best kind of experience and it confirmed that was what I wanted to create in Australia."

Author: James Perkins Connect via: Twitter LinkedIn





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