Venise creates gizzadas with a difference
For the last 18 months, Venise Hooper, 34, has been travelling from her home in Innswood Village, St Catherine to Half-Way Tree daily to sell her gizzadas.
After spending approximately five hours to bake her products, she commutes via Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses to Half-Way Tree, and then spends more than seven hours selling on the streets in the searing heat.
"I travel every day, sometimes I finish early when I study the days which are busy,” she told THE STAR.
To ensure that her products stand out, she comes up with fresh, creative ideas, which keeps customers yearning for more of her ‘pinch-me-round' pastries.
She infuses natural fruits and vegetables into the coconut filling.
After getting frustrated of working for people, Hooper's mom, Marcia McKenley, encouraged her to start baking gizzadas with her. So V&M Creative Gizzadas was born.
HER OWN BOSS
“I come from a family who loves to bake; my mother said we gonna bake gizzadas and distribute in my housing scheme, so I went along with it,” said Hooper, who worked for three promotional companies in five years before becoming her own boss.
Excited by the opportunity, she began by making her gizzadas the 'traditional way' with original coconut filling. She started selling them to small businesses in her area, before trying other shops in Spanish Town.
“I went and bought a bottle of Benjamins red coloured flavour to try making my gizzadas different. So we tried it; it was beautiful in colour but then mom and I said we want to go real natural," she said.
That's how they started trying fruits.
"So we used beetroot to infuse to get that red look. Persons were surprised at how it (her gizzadas) looked and tasted so we tried others and it was a success,” she said.
Hooper, who has aspirations of owning her own bakery that would distribute products worldwide, now sells gizzadas made with various ingredients including carrot, peanut, oats, raisins, pineapple, bananas, watermelon and grapes.
“I want to continue to create my own income, thinking outside the box, also to create employment for anyone who needs an income,” she explained.