Tuesday, 9 December 2014

GIRL OF THE MOMENT: Kaili McDonnough's energy and can-do spirit invigorate the Market on the Lawn experience

BARGAIN QUEEN: "I'm trying to do it all," says the 35-year-old 'mom-trepreneur.'

"I've always loved going to flea markets and picking up little knick-knacks," shares Kaili McDonnough, the forward-thinking dynamo who brilliantly conceptualized Market on the Lawn, the shopping extravaganza that brings a bustling energy to the grounds of Devon House seasonally, assembling small-business owners who could use the extra attention and avid shoppers looking to add interesting new items to their home collections. You get a bit of everything — from tasteful hand-crafted jewelry and stunning artwork to freshly potted plants, used books and finely made clothing. 

In a nutshell, Kaili has achieved her vision of creating the kind of free-spirited/breezy/outdoorsy shopping experience for others that she herself can't get enough of. "When you look around you see so many different things, and not just from Jamaica but all over the world," she tells TALLAWAH in her sweet schoolgirl voice. But this self-described "mom-trepreneur" will be the first to tell you that putting on an event the scale and range of a Market on the Lawn demands seriously hard work. "I used to do it all by myself — make the calls, collect the money, rent the booths, do the ads — but now I have my mom and friends helping out," explains the 35-year-old, who got MOTL going about four years ago. 

Along the way, she's witnessed firsthand how a simple idea, born out of passion, can metamorphose leaps and bounds and take on a life of its own. "It's much more established now. We have our regulars and now people are coming on board at a fast rate. We don't have to call people anymore to be a part of Market on the Lawn; people are calling us." 

Market on the Lawn's latest instalment, running from mid-November to Christmas, has drawn so many participating business operators that each Sunday patrons will have fresh merchandise from which to pick, choose and refuse. When I ask Kaili if she's ever thought of introducing this winsome formula to the other parishes, she doesn't scoff at the idea but re-emphasizes the enormous workload involved. "I thought of doing one in MoBay, but it takes a whole lot of planning. So we'll see what happens." 

Time is an uberprecious commodity in Kaili McDonnough's world. In addition to her work as team leader of the Market on the Lawn committee, lately she's been getting her feet wet in real-estate development and reconnecting with her journalism roots as the editor of a fledgling real-estate magazine. And did I mention that she's the doting mom of a young son with another on the way? "I'm trying to do it all," the 35-year-old wonder woman admits, laughing. And you can't help but cheer her on. 

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