Pink sandy beaches. Brilliant turquoise water. White-roofed colonial architecture and tidy gardens. Electric blooms of bougainvillea and fragrant Bermuda cedars. Ancient cave systems. Sunsets, sailboats, and pitchers of Swizzles (a signature concoction of rum, pineapple and orange juices, grenadine, and bitters). With that kind of inspiration, it’s no surprise creativity flourishes in Bermuda. Garden & Gun taps into the British territory’s burgeoning community of talented entrepreneurs and makers turning out an innovative and diverse range of products from clothing to candles to island cooking staples. Discover a few of our favorites inspired by the island’s unparalleled charm.
Chiko’s Smokey Rub
For the final exam in his sauces and seasoning class at Johnson & Wales, chef Michiko Campbell blended his first batch of Chiko’s Smokey Rub, made with a smoked paprika base and a proprietary blend of thirteen other spices. In 2014, Campbell decided to try his luck selling his seasoning at Harbour Nights in Hamilton, Bermuda’s weekly summer street festival. He sold all 250 bottles. With the help of his family, he now mixes six additional all-purpose rubs—Salt Fusion, Chipotle, Spicy Fusion, Middle Eastern Spice, Ham Seasoning, and Triple Garlic Fusion—which can be sprinkled on chicken, beef, pork, and seafood as well as fresh veggies. Or top french fries or popcorn with the seasonings for an addictive snack.
Meet the Maker: Chef Michiko Campbell has been tinkering in the kitchen since he was sixteen years old. In addition to creating and hand bottling Chiko’s Smokey Rubs, Campbell is the sous chef at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. On one of his rare days off, you’ll often find him fishing.
Shop in Bermuda: Brown & Co.
Meet the Maker: A Bermuda native, Rickeisha Burgess has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. A former boutique owner and bartender, she launched DuchPops, her line of locally made all-natural ice pops after seeing unique popsicle offerings around the world and knowing there was nothing similar in Bermuda. Look for her kiosk at the Royal Naval Dockyard and island farmers’ markets.
Shop in Bermuda: Dockyard Terrace at Royal Naval Dockyard
Clothing designers Cary Butterfield and Patricia Borland, a Bermuda native, became fast friends during the year they spent at boarding school together. The pair reconnected when Butterfield met and married a Bermudian and moved to the island. They have five children between them—Hunter, Ava, Mia, Elle, and Cruz. In 2016, they launched their line of luxury resort wear, naming the company HAMEC (an acronym of their children’s names). Each of the versatile styles in their new collection of rompers, jumpsuits, maxi dresses, and separates is splashed with a bright colorful print rooted in the Bermuda landscape. “Our pieces are sexy and tailored but still forgiving,” Borland says. “We spend a lot of time on the pattern—the fit, feel, and flow. We are about bringing confidence to the women wearing our clothing.”
Meet the Makers: Interior designers before starting their families, Cary Butterfield and Patricia Borland made the leap into clothing design, founding HAMEC during the summer of 2016 after the death of Borland’s father persuaded them not to wait to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Today their collection is sold in high-end boutiques in Bermuda and Palm Beach. An e-commerce site is in the works.
Shop in Bermuda: FH Boutique at Hamilton Princess & Beach Club and Regali at Rosewood Bermuda
Limestone + Cedar Co.
The tiered white roofs that top nearly every home or building on Bermuda are pretty, but they also serve a vital purpose. There are no rivers on Bermuda. No freshwater streams, either. To make the island livable, early settlers devised the current limestone roof system to help purify and collect rainwater in underground tanks. “Sometimes we have droughts, and when rain finally comes, you can hear it against the metal of the tanks. It has a unique smell like earth and moss,” says candlemaker Nina Froncioni, the owner of Limestone + Cedar Co., whose best-selling candle, called Tank Rain, re-creates the fresh sweet scent. Froncioni, who first got into candle making as a hobby, now sells five additional Bermuda-inspired candles—White Lily, Bermudiana, Pink Sand, Cedar Stack, and Dark Rum—using all-natural soy wax and the highest quality essential oils she can source. Each is hand mixed and poured into amber beer bottles Froncioni and her husband collect from the local recycling center and thirsty family and friends.
Meet the Maker: When the Bermuda native Nina Froncioni’s mother gave her a book on candle making last Christmas, it appealed to her innate creative instincts, but it also sparked a latent entrepreneurial streak. Two months later, she was spending every free Saturday at the farmers’ market, where her Bermuda-inspired candles sold as fast as she could make them.
Shop in Bermuda: The Island Shop and Queen Street in Hamilton
Barefoot, suntanned, and standing with a talking parrot perched on his shoulder inside a 2,400-square-foot historic waterfront warehouse in St. George’s, the sailmaker Steve Hollis certainly looks the part. As he should. Hollis has been honing his craft since he was just thirteen. “I was doing junior sailing programs and teaching classes at the yacht club,” Hollis says. “A local sailmaker asked me if I wanted to work with him. It was an old-school apprenticeship.” Today Ocean Sails, the company run by Hollis and his wife, Suzanne, is Bermuda’s foremost supplier of sails, rigging, and custom canvas and upholstery. Hollis and crew work on everything from classic fourteen-foot Bermuda dinghies to three-hundred-foot steamships. And if the boat won’t come to them, they’ll go to the boat. The team has worked in England, Germany, France, Spain, and the United States, among other far-flung locales. “Every job is so different—nothing is repetitive,” Hollis says. “That’s the fun part.”
Meet the Maker: A classically trained sailmaker from Bermuda, Steve Hollis bought Ocean Sails in 1980, moving its headquarters from Hamilton to historic St. George’s, where it remains today. And although the company does plenty of sail and rigging work, custom canvas jobs such as intricate awnings for private yachts have become an Ocean Sails specialty.
Shop in Bermuda: Ocean Sails: Water Street in St. George’s
From his outdoor studio nestled at the bottom of his family’s garden and surrounded by bougainvillea and cherry trees, sculptor Stratton Hatfield creates one-of-a-kind organic sculptures using a sand mold and a mixture of white cement and beach or quarry sand. Hatfield produces two-, three-, and four-foot concrete banana leaves, elephant ears, and palm fronds that can either be hung on the wall as fine art or put to use as showstopping light fixtures. An amateur horticulturist, Hatfield often uses specimens harvested from the surrounding jungle-like garden he tends himself, and favors frangipani, Bay Grape, and loquat leaves for smaller commissions. “I like to think of my work as an exploration of local plants and materials,” Hatfield says of the collection he named YART. “I’m literally making [the sculptures] in my yard and digging around in the flower beds.”
Meet the Maker: Born and raised in Bermuda, the sculptor Stratton Hatfield, whose family ties to the island date back to the 1600s, graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009 with a degree in industrial design. This past summer, he was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship and will spend the next twelve months in London working on his master’s in sustainability, entrepreneurship, and design. He will continue his work on YART from abroad.
Shop: 1609 Design: Old Cellar Lane off of Front Street in Hamilton
To plan your trip and discover more about the creativity in Bermuda, click here.
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