Carly Day moved to Australia in 2007, leaving family and friends in Jamaica on a personal search for a mission in life. Because Australia reminded her of her home, she decided to stay and pursue her entrepreneurial goals there, hoping to start a business that was based on Jamaican culture and food. While her first years were challenging, she persevered in her efforts because she was passionate about educating people in Australia about the wonders of Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage and its unique cuisine.
She also found that she missed Jamaican food and longed to be able to enjoy the tastes of her home island in her newly adopted country of residence. “Jamaican cooking is about fireworks in your mouth, why would you settle for anything less?,” she says, adding, “Jamaican cooking is about an energetic connection with fresh produce, lots of flavor and a connection to nature.” These factors led her to found The Ja Joint, a brand she started after months of research looking for the best and purest spices and Jamaican sauce blends.
Carly wanted to find the perfect representation of Jamaica’s food, a cuisine that is healthy and easy for Australians to duplicate in their own homes. Over the years, her brand became a large-scale Jamaican food and music event enterprise that employs disadvantaged, creative young people drawn from the community of expatriates who moved to Australia and had struggled to find work.
Carly’s perseverance toward her goal ultimately resulted in certification of the brand by the Jamaican community and her appointment as a “chef ambassador” by various Australian and Jamaican food-based organizations.
Today, The Ja Joint brand focuses on teaching people how to cook Jamaican food and that it is healthier to cook Jamaican-style than rely on convenience meals. Carly’s enterprise teaches people that all produce can be used in a nutritious, cosmetic, cleansing, and naturally healing way. However, she does note that “You can’t cook great food with wonky produce. Get fresh produce that’s been respectfully grown and start dancing before you cook.”
This element of the business is extremely important to its founder as it educates people about sustainability and initiates positive changes away from socially-conditioned consumerist habits. This, Carly believes, stating that “Plastic ain’t fantastic”, is the heart of Jamaican culture and Jamaican people.