Meet Kairi People Passion, patriotism and parties.
Hailing from the Caribbean twin isle of Trinidad and Tobago, is a group of event organizers who provide high-value but affordable events for partygoers while immersing them in Trinbagonian culture. Why the name Kairi People?
The original inhabitants were different, unlike anything else their European discoverers had ever seen. But, before the explorers assigned the name “Trinidad” to the island, one of the names given to it by the natives was Kairi.
Kairi People comprises four individuals, President and Founder Richard Gordon; with Co Founders and Executive Members Wayne Sheppard, Dexter Charles and Beve Haynes.
Working together for over two decades, friendship comes first for the [now] four-man team and everything else after, including business partnerships.
The historical name Kairi was suggested to Gordon via Sigler Jack, who saw it as a strong, unique and patriotic name for the group and then Gordon added “People” to form the name Kairi People.
According to Gordon, “It was the first name, and we did not need to go any further.”
Gordon and Charles are now retired bankers but continue to work full-time in event planning.
The Birth of the Kairi People Brand
The fated foursome, who started off as a group of ten, boasts a friendship alignment many dream of. Gordon’s skills as a natural-born networker with a penchant for event organizing are the foundation of Kairi People’s success. His ability to coordinate and acquire resources within short time frames helped the Kairi People brand stand out, especially at Carnival time.
Layering Gordon’s ethernet abilities with expertise in music and production, finance, and other event management talents, the team has consistently organized large parties for over 20 years. Growth was magically organic. The Kairi People brand existed long before they adopted a name. Before there was a name, there was an idea. Service. Excellent service.
The desire to attend an all-inclusive party at an affordable cost was not front of mind for many locals. It was expected that such events would be costly, and this meant that many lower- and middle-income citizens would forgo the experience of parties that catered to fuller bank accounts and pockets. The group’s attention to detail caused them to innovate on this concept. Not wanting to pay the exorbitant party price of the day, they organized their own parties and limes (local word for hanging out) at a budget better suited to their financial status.
The initial events started as a $100 fee excursion to popular beaches and not for profit.
The first all-inclusive Carnival party cost patrons $150 in 2002 and was labelled Different- Unlike Anything Else and the name is self-explanatory.
Fay-Ann Lyons, now known as the ViQueen, and 3 Canal were the first artistes alongside DJ Franco.
The price definitely stood out, and the well-known Caribbean adage “cheap thing not good and good thing not cheap” did not apply to Kairi People’s events which always promise and deliver more value for money at their parties.
Till this day, the best and trending artistes are sourced and there are no cost cutbacks.
There was skepticism, though and with no social media back then, reputation spread through word of mouth without advertising in mainstream media.
Amassing loyal followership through word of mouth has become Kairi People’s most effective marketing strategy for events.
“The best testimony for good crowds were the patrons,” Gordon said.
After promoting Different for approximately eleven years in various locations, it was time to do something new.
Runaway was formed in 2013, beginning as a simple get-together event, or a “lime”, as locals would call it. This event was held on Wednesdays.
With just over 100 patrons, Olatunji was the first artist to perform for the small crowd.
And then, in 2014, the morning fete, Breakfast Is, was born. And it has grown and continued annually up in Trinidad until pre-Covid-19.
Keeping up with colloquial trends, the inspiration for the name Breakfast Is came from a mistake made by former Education Minister Hazel Manning, who in a speech pronounced the “plural version” of breakfast as “breakfastes”, which became a viral term among Trinbagonians.
Gordon explained, “Breakfast Is is the only place breakfast could be plural.”
The pause between the two words was so no one could say they were making fun of the ministerial mistake.
And another thing, professional chefs are the highlights of Breakfast Is.
Patrons would expect to get eggs whipped out on the spot. Understanding that very few food items are cooked and carried to an event, patrons have come to expect their breakfast to be made on-demand. At this event, orders are cooked on-site to give patrons the smell and feel of a homemade breakfast. Each dish is also personalized depending on partygoers’ preferences.
Some 22 items are featured on the menu, including many local food items such as all-time favourites bake and shark, corn soup, doubles, and an à la carte of sada roti, tomato choka, salfish, smoked herring, hops, and pudding (not the dessert).
“You can’t come Breakfast Is and not get anything to eat,” Gordon said.
The last edition was topped off with food from local fast food restaurant Royal Castle and a music and water truck to move the crowd into a chip around the stadium with local soca star Iwer George, the All Starz band featuring the late Blaxx and the Asylum Band with Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons.
Kairi People continues to incorporate unique activities into each of its growing portfolio of fetes. Other events they are known for include AWP (A White Party), JBI (Jus Bring It), a collaboration with FOBA (Fatima Old Boys Association).
On Carnival Tuesday morning for the past two years, Kairi People also hosted an event called N’ouvert band (New J’ouvert). Patrons would experience crossing the Savannah stage in the early morning dressed in the national colours of red, white and black in paint, mud and powder to promote patriotism and love of the country.
Eye on Miami
In October, Breakfast Is Kairi People’s premium fete will take place at M3 Studios in Miami, Florida. It promises to be a translation of the well-known brand, offering the same elements and experiences for which the Kairi People event brand is known.
Dexter Charles, who had his eyes on Miami for a long time, said, “Outside of Trinidad, we think Miami has that place where Kairi could fit into quite easily.”
Charles added, “The plan was always to go there. It was just when. I guess the timing chose us.”
Kairi People will be working with Giselle “De Wassi One”, who would be an extension of the team in Miami.
Although not fully aware of the landscape Giselle is their eyes and ears on the ground.
With the accelerated use of social media, Kairi People has taken to their Instagram and Facebook pages to advertise what could be the group’s biggest event to date; Breakfast Is in Miami. Word of mouth has already triggered anticipation and excitement. The team expects their guerilla tactics to permeate the Caribbean population in Miami and spill over to American partygoers in the lead-up to the event.
Every major event poses challenges.
Admitting that they are chartering into new lands with uncertainty, Charles, who recently visited the site, said they must ensure that all legal requirements are fulfilled. The necessary licenses and permissions are obtained from foreign authorities.
Although a local chef travels to Miami, Kairi People will also work with Miami vendors.
While catering to the needs of the local diaspora, Kairi People is hoping to stay within budget and avoid the risk of having cost overruns.
Packages are designed for the locals as well as Miami residents and visitors.
Charles said he was hoping for a successful event, which does not necessarily mean a profitable one.
He is looking forward to catering to the Kairi People fanbase and welcoming new people into the Kairi People family.
“It should be the same overwhelming experience, and the icing on the cake is to have new people knowing about the brand and experiencing the brand and then with a profit. That is a win-win-win scenario.”
“Our brand is built on value for money. We have not shifted from that. We were born out of a gap in the market for an affordable, enjoyable, all-inclusive experience”.
The team is well aware that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many people to fall into economic hardship. Charles admitted that when the dollar is not worth a lot, it must be spent wisely. “If you want entertainment, we are offering an alternative.”
With Miami almost set, Kairi People are setting their eyes on other horizons, regionally and internationally.
Everywhere they go, they will be sure to carry Trinidad and Tobago’s culture, charisma, and cooking.
The first Tobago Carnival, Runaway (Oct 19) at the scenic Pigeon Point and Breakfast Is (Oct 28).
The calendar for 2023 is currently underway and will be full of exciting events for people to attend.
For more information on upcoming events, visit their social media pages, Instagram and Facebook @kairipeople or contact Richard (868)684-4528, Dexter, (868)685-4112, Sheppy (868)789-0159, Beve (868)786-1457.
For tickets and packages, visit www.ticketfederation.com