Spreading TriniSpirit One Item At A Time
By Mercus Manley, Investigative Reporter…..
It was the genuine love for the land of his birth Trinidad and Tobago that drove Gregory Gonzalez to create a company that offers Trinidadians who live at home and abroad the opportunity to display their national pride. This is the fundamental mission of TriniSpirit.com, started in 2006 by Mr. Gonzalez, when Trinidad and Tobago historically qualified for the World Cup. According to Mr. Gonzalez, at that time there was nowhere persons could purchase suitable patriotic memorabilia. Initially the idea came from a friend and they partnered to sell Trinidad and Tobago flags. “He was selling flags in Trinidad and I was selling flags online to clients in countries as far away as Singapore and distributing them throughout Florida,” Mr. Gonzalez reminisced. After realizing the international market access potential, he decided to expand the product line from flags to caps and bandanas.
When the euphoria of the 2006 World Cup ended, as expected there was a marked decline in sales and interest in TriniSpirit’s products but that did not faze Mr. Gonzalez. It took a few years to conceptualize and develop a brand based on Trinidad and Tobago’s national bird, the Scarlet Ibis. This vibrant logo is prominently displayed on all 48 items in TriniSpirit’s product mix. Mr. Gonzalez took quite a while to decide on the TriniSpirit name, desiring to ensure that it would resonate with the electrifying Trini culture, one that is part of him, given that he was born and raised in San Fernando, Trinidad. “It embodies a lot of positive attitudes and emotion towards the country that if cultivated can actually do something to change people’s mindsets; so to me the culmination of the words Trini Spirit with the Scarlet Ibis really represents the essence of what is Trinidad and Tobago, which is everything positive about the country, what Trinidadians and Tobagonians are doing for each other and achieving nationally and internationally,” he stated convincingly.
Although Mr. Gonzalez relocated to the USA where he graduated from FIU with a degree in Information Technology and currently works in South Florida as a Project Manager in the healthcare industry, he still maintains a very strong connection to his Trini roots of which he is demonstrably proud. Mr. Gonzalez sees TriniSpirit as an opportunity to give back to Trinidad and Tobago, making a contribution to exposing the culture internationally and also building on the knowledge he acquired while studying in the USA.
TriniSpirit buys the products wholesale and brands them with the Trini Spirit logo before undertaking local and international distribution. Social media and community/trade events are two of the main marketing tactics used to interact effectively and build relationships with customers. The most recent being October’s Miami Carnival which was extremely successful. Overall the general feedback on TriniSpirit’s products has been great. As for the future of the company, Mr. Gonzalez plans to expand the distribution network in Trinidad through tour operators, malls, stores, vendors, and abroad to connect with people in other countries to develop sustainable distribution partnerships.