The word ‘higgler’ means ‘a person who travels around selling small items’.
Higgler first started from my passion for travel and my love for the artisan pieces I discovered on each trip. After many years of collecting pieces like a magpie for myself, I decided maybe others might also like the pieces I discovered too.
When I came across the word Higgler, I hadn’t previously heard it before, but it seemed to hit the nail on the head. It’s exactly what I would be doing and the word sounded kind of fun to say too!
It was only when I researched the word further that I discovered that the word had a rich history and was commonly used in Jamaica. Being half Jamaican, it seemed like another hint that this could be the perfect name for the adventure I was about to embark upon.
I spent a few months out in Jamaica with my grandma (Nannie Clarke) who lives out there and had a chance to find out more. It turns out my grandma was a higgler when she was a young girl and used to take the vegetables her family grew over to the market to sell or swap for other things the family needed.
Some of the first markets in Jamaica began on large sugar plantations during times of slavery. Slave owners sometimes used their slaves as part-time higglers, as the men worked on the farms it was often the women who were higglers. Post emancipation, the higgler trade grew as it was one of the few jobs the newly freed slaves knew how to do – outside farming. This meant higglers began to travel over land and sea to sell their goods which over the years has expanded beyond agricultural produce.
As I travel and meet makers around the world, Higgler uses trade as a way to help empower makers and enable them to earn a living. Knowing how the higgler trade helped to empower so many and continues to today – I feel very proud to have named Higgler after something so deeply rooted in my family’s history.
To read more about the origin of Higglers head to ‘My Jamaican Roots’