haiti

Fashion Revolution Week: PART 2

Our team members are the heart of what we do at Haiti Design Collective. Aside from a commitment to creating stable jobs, we provide what we call “holistic employment”- benefits that support the overall well-being of our artisan communities, addressing much more than financial need. To learn more about our Wellness and Education programs, click here.

Fashion measures success by more than just sales and profits. Fashion places equal value on financial growth, human wellbeing and environmental sustainability.
— #9 from the Fashion Revolution Manifesto

Meet Berlain Saint Cyr from the Leather Team-

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My name is Berlain but I earned the name Abella after mispronouncing the spanish word “abuela” (meaning grandmother) in Spanish class. I live in Bon Repos, and really love my neighborhood because you could literally dig a well anywhere and find water.

Apart from being an artisan at Haiti Design, I am a mechanic and love cars. My favorite is the Nissan Frontier- I love the new model; it’s as close to perfect as a vehicle can come. I have always loved fixing things, whether its cars, or sewing machines, or a broken toilet. I love watching how-to videos on youtube and teaching myself how to do things. I’ll fix anything. I don’t have my own car, but I do have a motorcycle- I call her Ti ble, which means Little Blue. Ti ble never loses in a race, and rides as smooth as butter. I taught myself how to drive, and I wasn’t afraid, even at first.

I remember not being afraid during the earthquake too, even though I was at school and the building was shaking and falling down. When it started shaking, I was running trying to get out, but one of my friends got trampled under the crowd and was yelling for me, so I went back for him and got him out. That was probably the bravest I have ever felt. Maybe this is why Superman is my favorite superhero- because he is the bravest, and let’s be honest, all the other superheroes had to bring him back to life because he was the only one who was powerful enough to win. He also wears red and that's my favorite color, because red is a color that feels vibrant and alive. It makes me feel strong when I wear red.

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Fashion Revolution Week: PART 1

We are excited to join in on Fashion Revolution’s movement to bring more transparency to the fashion industry. We highly encourage you to take a moment to read the 10 pillars of their manifesto here.

Fashion liberates worker and wearer and empowers everyone to stand up for their rights.
— #1 of the Fashion Revolution Manifesto

In honor of this very important week, we want to spotlight 3 of our artisans and dear friends at Haiti Design Collective.

Meet Darline Felix from the sewing team-

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“My name is Darline, but I love the nickname Dadou because it’s really simple and I like it. I like to listen to music a lot, and even though a lot of people in Haiti don’t like reggae music, I’m a fan of reggae. I also love to dance, and even learned how to dance folklore before I had my son. My son is always making me laugh with his funny questions. My son is so important to me. Back in 2015, I went on a vacation and when I came back home, everything in my home was stolen. I had to become pretty strong after that, and I learned to become more selfless to take care of him. I have pretty much replaced everything that was stolen at this point, and everyone comments on the good changes that they have seen in me since then. I love wearing bright colors because I tend to get a lot of compliments when I wear them. I love wearing green the most. Green makes me think of perseverance, and that is a quality that I feel like defines who I am. I would love to have the ability to teleport- to just disappear whenever I wanted to. I think this is why I love when people style their hair and have bangs, because it always hides their foreheads really well. Bangs should never go out of style.”

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Psst… Darline is sporting her FAVORITE new piece from our new collection. The Essentials Crossbody in Pale Yellow leather is coming very soon! Stay tuned friends :)


Photos above were taken by Kelsey Cherry Photography

International Women's Day: an Ode to Empowered Women!

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In honor of International Women’s Day, we want to share with you a very special, and personal message from one of our jewelry artisans. Ismaella and her mother, Carmelle, have worked with Haiti Design Co since 2013. They have a special bond that is undeniable.

Ismaella is a part of our in-house advanced english class. As a final project for 2018, the students were asked to write an essay about something they are passionate about. Below is Ismaella’s heartfelt essay on her personal role model and representation of women’s empowerment.

Enjoy!

“At Haiti Design Co. we have several teams who work in the workshop and I belong to one of these teams, the jewelry team. Every team has their own name, and mine is Fanm Djanm, which means strong women. The person who gave us this name is our manager, Guerdy, who is a devoted wife, an amazing mother, and is the definition of a strong woman.

There are several of us, and among us there are single mothers and independent women, and all of us are strong. I am a strong woman because of my mother. She is a single mom and a brave woman.

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My mother told me that when she was pregnant, she had to run away from her father and leave her hometown and her house because he wanted to hurt her. He had become her enemy for years. A lady took my mom in like a foster mom after her escape, and it was in her house that I grew up.

My mom had to become a street vendor in order to earn money to ensure our survival. She sacrificed a lot for me. She was both my mother and my father as she raised me. She fought to give me what is good and what is best. She has fulfilled all of her parental duties, and I won’t ever stop thanking her for everything that she has done for me.

In Haiti, life is difficult.In an unorganized society, men often don’t respect women, and fathers often do not take responsibility for their children. Women have to become strong to survive and to support their children.

This kind of woman is everywhere. She could be a friend, or a family member, or a stranger. We can meet them throughout the day and not even know it. But for me, I don’t have to look any further than at my work. We are a small community of strong women. We share good and bad times, and because we spend so much time together, we have become a second family.

There is no shortage of strong women who work at HDC. HDC gives us the opportunity to earn money and allows us to become better than we could have imagined. We can go farther, and we can understand that we have potential for great things. HDC helps us realize that we don’t need a man to help us, but that we can take care of ourselves and our families.

In our eyes, you can see hope, in our hearts, there is courage and love. We are women who know how to overcome adversity, women who know how to get up after a fall. Strength is the best word to define us, and that’s why we are called Fanm Djanm.”



Make sure to send some extra love to the strong women in your life today.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Photos by the talented Kelsey Cherry Photography

The Gift of a Shift in Perspective

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Do you ever think about the little treasures you’ve picked up along the way during your travels? Both emotionally, physically, and spiritually? Maybe creative inspiration, maybe a phrase in another language that just expresses the message better than your own.

In Santo Domingo I learned that if you’re going to take a tequila shot, you MUST do it with a lime wedge that’s been dipped in sugar on one side and coffee grinds on the other. Try it.

Haiti travels taught me about resourceful artistic expression. And luckily my home now has these gems scattered throughout.

Trips to New York push my style outside of its comfort zone. It makes me want to try new things and be more expressive in the way I dress.

And Italy… oh Italy. It made me appreciate quality. In food, in architecture, in experiences. It made me want to slow down and appreciate the delicacies of life.

We lucky ones have been able to travel to new places, maybe internationally or maybe within our state lines, and fill up on inspiration. We fill up on goods or ideas and then we take them home and make them our own. Everything we pick up along the way becomes a part of us, but made new. We come back rejuvenated and infuse our new perspective into our surroundings.

This is precisely the experience we want to give our artisans. While we can’t provide it for everyone, we can send a few, and then they can come home to Haiti, make it new, and share it with others.

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While in Italy in 2017, Josh and I stumbled upon a traditional leather working school in an old monastery in Florence. There were students from across the world gathered in the small, beautiful classroom studios. We had the pleasure of meeting with the director and getting a tour. One of the first things she said to us was this-

“If you’re looking to train factory workers, this is not the school for you. We train up artisans- they become masters of the process from design to production.”

This spoke right to our vision at Haiti Design Co. To invest in and send out leaders, true artisans, that can run their teams with integrity and create quality.

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Since then we’ve been dreaming about the opportunity to send off a few of our most promising leather artisans and give them this once in a lifetime experience. To learn not just technical skills, but to experience the shift in cultural perspective. To be immersed in a country rich in history, art, craftsmanship, and with fellow students from across the globe. To get the freedom to be removed from the chaos of their own beautiful nation for a few months to learn, be challenged, be inspired, and then come home and create.

We know this isn’t the typical fundraising request you hear from Haiti. It’s not for an orphanage, it’s not for a feeding program, it’s not for aid. While those things are vital and have their place, we decided early on our approach to development was going to look a little bit different. It was going to involve digging deeper into our relationships with the artisan leaders, investing in opportunity, and letting the ripple effect work as it will. We’ve seen success from this so far- and are eagerly awaiting what’s to come once this particular dream of ours is able to become a reality.

Please join us in investing in these individuals, and inherently investing in the future of their communities as well.

With much love and gratitude,

-Chandler



Fashion Revolution Week 2017

We are in the midst of Fashion Revolution Week - a time set apart for creators and consumers to join together and use their voices to call for greater transparency, sustainability, and ethics in the fashion industry. Each year, this week begins on April 24th, the same day as the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh where 1,134 people lost their lives.

The reality is that today's fashion industry says abuse of people and abuse of environment is okay because the demand for transparency on the other side of the label is too quiet to be heard in comparison to the demand for fast + cheap. Searching for cost savings is not a bad thing; it can be a burdensome undertaking to clothe and support ourselves and our families. The "bad" comes when the cost of savings comes at the cost of another's ability to survive and to be free. We believe that is too high a cost to pay. 

We began Haiti Design Co because we believe in the beauty and dignity that exist in an honorable business transaction. The consumer's necessity to clothe themselves with goods they love and the creator's passion to make new, beautiful things should be an opportunity that connects us, not a reality that divides us. And while there is much work to be done to move the needle, there is also so much hope for the future. Evidence can be found in the growth surrounding the conversation of ethical fashion: lives lost are becoming lives honored as a rising number of conscious consumers and conscious brands dedicate themselves to business that brings life and meaning. 

We are so excited to participate in the movement this week by highlighting the teams behind our products and the ethical fashion partners that support those teams. Our desire is to add light and hope to the fashion industry. Below are some photo from this week's campaign.  

You can continue to follow along this week on our Instagram and at Fashion Revolution's Instagram. And we invite you to join the movement by posting a photo of your favorite brand's label with the question #whomademyclothes? 

Mesi zanmi for your consistent love & support ❤️  Men anpil chay pa lou - many hands make the load light. 

Haiti Highlight: Jacmel

Our sweet Caribbean island is home to diverse landscapes and rich beauty, and while we love that our work and home life is centered in the vibrant city of Port au Prince, there is nothing else like a quick beach getaway. That's where the lovely Jacmel comes in.

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Located in the Southern part of the island, Jacmel is an old port town originally founded by the Spanish, but repopulated by the French. The French influence is heavy, but most heavily seen in the grand colonial architecture. There are buildings centuries old complete with large pillars, wrought-iron gates, spiral staircases, and intricate designs tiled across the floor.

The colors are just as rich as the history with pops of blues and greens spread across the town. The photo below is from the iconic Hotel Florita, known for its classic gingerbread style architecture and delicious rhum sours. 

Beyond its beautiful beaches and preserved architecture, Jacmel has a vibrant arts scene and serves as one of Haiti's most culturally-rich hubs for handmade goods. This especially come to life every year in Carnival season. In February, our team not only got to experience the colorful parade, but we were also able to visit some of our partner artisans, our woodworking team! Boss Jonas and his team live in the mountains and craft beautiful wood pieces completely by hand. 

Lastly, Jacmel is home to Bassin Bleu, a series of 3 deep natural pools tucked away in the mountains. Accessible only by a guided hike through lush mountain greens, the pools are a deep, mesmerizing teal. You can spend the afternoon jumping, diving, and swimming with the mermaids. 

Oh and did we mention the sunsets?

Bonjour, Andre!

Meet Andre, one of the featured artisans in the SPRING 2017 Maker's Box! At HDC, we train and employ artisans with the skills and resources they need to be successful both professionally and personally. We work as a collective of artisans - with 3 in-house teams and 4 partner teams from the community that work as part of our Artisan Incubator Program. Andre was one of our first partner artisans, and in terms of our HDC family mentality, we like to think of him as our wise father figure who has a rich depth of knowledge and expertise to share with us in our efforts to create quality work, quality goods, and quality relationships.

As a highly valued member of our HDC family, we want to take a moment to share Andre's story with you!

Andre has been crafting ethically-gathered horn and bone for over 34 years. He runs an artisan cooperative in Port au Prince that trains and employs over 30 men from the community. He is originally from Jacmel, a beautiful beach town a few hours south of the city, but moved with his uncle at the age of 14. His uncle had been working with horn and bone for years when he taught Andre the craft. Andre was quick to pick it up and began expanding on the skills his uncle taught him in his hours between school. Over time, he grew to have his own business and line of products.

However, the earthquake in 2011 destroyed his original shop. With some support, he was able to build a new shop that has since grown to be a large artisan cooperative where Andre and his team create products for retailers to sell across the world.

One of the most inspiring and humbling things about Andre is his heart to empower others. He is community-minded and views his knowledge and his workshop as something beyond just himself. He is passionate about training a new generation of leaders with the skills they need to be independent entrepreneurs, claiming that his space is "a place for all the people." Their work is a beautiful showcase of the talents and designs inherent to the people of Haiti, and they seek to use their products to elevate this beautiful island in the minds and hearts of people around the globe. A few of the products we work with Andre to create are the much loved horn bangles + hoops, demi circle + drop pendant necklaces, and the horn bowls + dishes. 

Andre is featured in this season's Maker's Box alongside our in-house leather team. You can learn more about him and the leather team, as well as receive a thoughtfully curated collection of their products in the SPRING 2017 MAKER'S BOX (order deadline for spring is April 1st). Boxes are available for individual purchase or year-long subscriptions. Each season, we will release a new box highlighting our different in-house and partner artisan teams, giving you a meaningful look into the process, people, and products behind each unique craft!

"Their Well-Being Is Our Well-Being"

Our hearts have been very heavy with the tragedy happening in the southern regions of Haiti after Hurricane Matthew stormed through. With the support of your donations and donations from our local Haitian community, Fabienne Deplat, our Director of Operations, and members from her church were able to go to the Les Cayes area of Haiti and provide a distribution of necessity kits. This is Fabienne's personal account of her trip. 

Fabienne preparing supplies for the trip

Fabienne preparing supplies for the trip

I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to go help in the city of Les Cayes, specifically in a place called Saint Jean. I tried to prepare my heart and mind ahead of time, I knew the trip would not be easy.
After several days of preparation, a team from my church and I left Port au Prince.  We sat for 3 hours in heavy rain. After several more hours of waiting in a traffic jam, we took the highway. We were warned ahead of time of the robbery that was happening to large trucks headed to the south full of supplies. It was dark and late, but contrary to what was said, or by the grace of God, no one attacked the car. We safely arrived in the space we were to sleep and had to unload the truck to safely store the supplies away. People in the area already suspected that we had come to help and had supplies with us. We settled in, ate some food, and began preparing the kits for the children first. We finished our preparation that night around 1 am. 
Bags of rice separated for the necessity kits 

Bags of rice separated for the necessity kits 

Little girls from the church helping the team load everything up 

Little girls from the church helping the team load everything up 

We awoke very early the next morning, eagerly ready to begin the day and achieve our goal. After several calls and waiting, another truck arrived with policemen to accompany us on the journey to Saint Jean.
On the road we began to see the extent of damage. Almost all of the trees were destroyed and the ones remaining were bare. The schools and churches were left roofless, and there were almost no houses to be seen. After over an hour drive we arrived to Saint Jean to begin the distribution. 
A church along the road that lost its roof 

A church along the road that lost its roof 

Our team had prepared 250 small voucher cards. Our plan was to distribute the voucher cards to people first and they would then take the voucher to the location to pick up the necessity kits. Unfortunately there was a large crowd waiting already. We decided for our safety to go to the police station to have police assist us in distributing the vouchers. With the large volume of people in the crowd, we decided we must prioritize pregnant women, the elderly, and then women with children.  
It was so hard for me to see so many hands extended out asking me for the card. I had to decide so quickly who I would give the cards to. 
The crowd waiting for voucher cards 

The crowd waiting for voucher cards 

Then distribution begin. We immediately saw the packages would not be enough, there were too many people. So we started dividing the packages into two to be able to reach more people. 

Distribution from the truck 

Distribution from the truck 

The day was long and tiring, but the fact of seeing so many people just like me in such misery was even harder. I do not know what tomorrow will bring for them, because all their resources are destroyed, banana trees and coconut trees. Food kits and bags of water will not come every day and will eventually run out.
The team separating the bags to create more kits 

The team separating the bags to create more kits 

Clothing donated from the church community 

Clothing donated from the church community 

I left the Saint Jean community with a troubled heart. As we were driving away it was still raining on these people, people who had just lost everything. What will these people do once the distribution stops? Maybe come to Port au Prince, but the misery here is already hard.
For me the experience was good, but my heart is heavy thinking of the future, their future. I strongly encourage Haitian residents of areas that were not affected to contribute what they can to these people. We can collect what we have, we can plant trees, we can help them stand again because their well-being, is our well-being.
I encourage our friends abroad to continue supporting organizations on-ground that are bringing relief. I encourage our customers to keep purchasing from Haiti because when you buy from Haiti you’re supporting us. Purchasing from Haiti allows those with jobs to be able to send money and help to their family and friends that are suffering in the south. Your purchases from Haiti allow us to support one another.
Finally I must say that I am grateful because in my lifetime 2 natural disasters have hit my country. I tell God thank you  that they have not hit me directly. It is also motivates me to go and see these people. I want to thank all of those who contributed in one way or another allowing us to go and help.  Thank you to those abroad that contributed money for us to buy what was needed. Thank you to my church community for giving money, clothes, and food. And thank you to those who pray for us and members of our team to stay strong and determined.
The team of volunteers that facilitated the distribution 

The team of volunteers that facilitated the distribution 

The road of relief, rebuilding, and recovery is a long and complicated one. We thank you for standing with us and our Haitian community during this time of suffering for many! At Haiti Design Co we have decided to support families suffering in three main areas-

Please click on the photo above to learn more and donate to area of your choice. And for our Haitian community, kenbe fèm! Nap kanpe ak ou!


Je remercie le Seigneur de m’avoir donné la possibilité d’aller faire  une distribution dans la ville des Cayes, plus précisément dans une localité appelée Saint Jean du Sud. Après plusieurs jours de préparatifs, une équipe de mon eglise et moi ont laissé Port- au - Prince a 3 Heures de l'après midi, sous une forte pluie. Après plusieurs heures d’attentes dans une embouteillage, on a pris la route nationale. Contrairement à ce que l’on  disait, ou je dois dire merci a  Dieu, personne n’a attaqué la voiture, bien qu’il était déjà très tard.  On est arrivé dans l'espace on l’on devait dormir a 9hrs du soir.

Et la il fallait décharger le camion et mettre tous les paquets en sécurité parce que déjà les gens de la zone suspectait qu’on apportait de l’aide. Apres le debarquement , tout le monde a ete prendre un bain, manger et finalement faire des petits paquets pour les enfants. Le lendemain très tôt on s’est réveillé, prêt à atteindre notre objectif. Après plusieurs appels, finalement un autre camion est venu accompagné de quelques policiers et la encore on devait embarque ce camion et prendre la route pour la destination de Saint Jean.Sur la route on allait commencer à constater l’ampleur des dégâts, il y a presque pas d’arbres au du moins ce qui en restait n’avait pas de fleurs ou de branches. Les écoles, les églises sans toiture, il y avait presque pas de maisons. Après une heure de route on est arrivé à Saint Jean pour la faire la distribution. Notre équipe avait préparé des cartes pour  250 personnes mais malheureusement c’etait une foule qui nous attendait pas 250 personnes. Après un temps nous avons décidé d’aller remettre les cartes au commissariat accompagné de policiers bien entendu. Vu l'immensité de la foule, on a priorisé les femmes enceintes, les vieillards et les femmes. C'était très dure de voir tous ses mains allongé devant moi  et décider dans un peu de temps a qui donner la carte. Puis on  a commence la distribution, evidemment on a du diviser les paquets en deux pour pouvoir donner a un maximun de personnes. Cette journée a été longue , et fatigante mais le fait de voir des gens  comme moi dans une telle misère était encore plus dure. Je ne sais ce que demain sera fait pour eux, parce que toutes leurs ressources sont détruites, les bananiers les cocotiers. Les kits alimentaires et les sachets d’eau ne viendront pas tous les jours et vont être cesse sou peu.J’ai laissé la communauté de Saint Jean avec le coeur en peine , parce qu’il pleuvait encore….

Que vont faire ces gens quand il plus de distribution, venir à Port au Prince peut être venir a Port -au Prince où il y a déjà de la misere. Pour moi l'expérience a été bonne mais mon coeur est lourd en pensant à l’avenir, à leur avenir. J’encourage les habitants des zones qui ne sont pas touchés a contribué à leur niveau, nous pouvons collecter ce que nous avons, nous pouvons planter des arbres, nous pouvons les aider à relever, parce que leur bien être , est aussi notre bien être.


Pour terminer je dois dire que je suis reconnaissante parce que de mon vivant 2 catastrophes naturels ont touché mon pays et Dieu merci j’ai pas été atteint directement. C’est qui m’a motivé d'ailleurs d’aller voir ces gens. Je tiens à remercier  tout ceux qui ont  contribué d’une manière ou d’une autre pour cette visite soit en donnant de l’argent, des habits, de la nourriture , ceux qui ont pries pour nous, et les membres de notre équipe se sont montrés forts et déterminés.   

Support Recovery, Choose Haitian Made

As many of you know, the damage from Hurricane Matthew has been devastating for many communities in the southern region of Haiti. Relief efforts are underway and many wonderful organizations are working hard to prevent the spread of cholera, alleviate hunger, and provide clean water and shelter during this time. The road to recovery is going to be a long one. At this time we feel it is vital to remember to give with discretion and think of the long term impact we will have on communities. The Haitian economy is going to be one of the biggest keys to supporting recovery. When you invest in job creation, you're investing in opportunity for people and families to provide for themselves. Job creation provides stability. Stability for families means savings, education, health care, and the opportunity to be prepared for the future. 

This holiday season millions of dollars will be spent on gifts for family and friends. We urge you to use your purchasing power to support the Haitian economy by buying Haitian made products. This will directly impact businesses and families in Haiti.

Plus, Haiti produces some of the most beautiful and unique artisan made products in the world.

Here are a few of our favorite 100% Haitian made brands...

1. FAIT LA FORCE

1. FAIT LA FORCE

    2. 2nd STORY GOODS

 

2. 2nd STORY GOODS

3. HAITI'S JEWELS

3. HAITI'S JEWELS

5. PASCALE THEARD CREATIONS

5. PASCALE THEARD CREATIONS

4. DEUX MAINS

4. DEUX MAINS

6. PAPILLON ENTERPRISE

6. PAPILLON ENTERPRISE

We also love....

Atelier Calla    .    Sa Voix    .   PeaceCYLCE    .     Artisan Business Network    .    Ayiti Natives

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to Haiti!

Much love,

-the HDC team

 

Haitian Dominoes

Dekabès!

a Haitian Creole expression meaning a double win in dominoes or the lottery

Pèdi // Chen

When you lose in Haitian dominoes you must put clothes pins on your face or arms for the remainder of the game. As a joke, you also are called "Chen", meaning "dog" for the rest of the game. Number of clothes pin is decided ahead of time by everyone playing. If you do not have clothes pins, you can also hold a small tree branch in your mouth or hold a cinder block. 

All Photography is from the talented (and super fun) Kelsey Cherry. 

Shout out to the Salty Mamas

Sel pa vante tet li di sale.
Salt doesn’t boast that it is salty.

In honor of Mother's day we at Haiti Design Co-op would like to applaud all of you humble, hard working, patient mamas out there. You never clock out, you are working hard to put your kids through school, keep bellies fed, and you go with such little recognition. You are the salt of the earth.

We see you. We love you. We appreciate you. 

You, mothers, are simply AMAZING.

Today we would like to spotlight just a few of the incredible mothers from Haiti Design Co-op. Their fierce love for their children is inspiring. We did a little Q&A to get an inside look at their dynamic relationships with their children. 

Meet MADAM CARMELLE & ISHMAELLa

What is the most rewarding part of being a mother?

Having a daughter that I consider a friend. She is my best friend and companion. She is so important to me. She always takes care of me and I can count on her when I am weak or have problems to be there for me. 

What is your favorite part about working with your daughter?

She encourages me to try things that I don't think I can do. She is very patient, and understanding. I love being able to work with my daughter and embroider together, it is my favorite time of the day. 

Ishmaella is the only daughter of Carmelle. Carmelle has worked very hard to put Ishmaelle through school and she even recently graduated from law school. Carmelle beams with pride when she speaks about her. Carmelle and Ishmaella work together to create our embroidered message banner

meet darlene & collins

(Collins got in trouble for playing with scissors in the sewing room, so he wasn't too thrilled for this photo)

(Collins got in trouble for playing with scissors in the sewing room, so he wasn't too thrilled for this photo)

what is your favorite thing about your son?

He really loves me. He is affectionate and always tells me I'm beautiful and gives me kisses. 

What is your favorite time of the day together?

I love when we walk together to drop him off at school in the morning and afternoon. I also love helping him do his homework at night. I'm so proud of him and what he is learning.

Darlene is our assistant sewing manager. Every day she picks up Collins from school and he gets to hang out with us for a couple hours at the workshop. He is always busy running around, drawing, or creating swords with stacked thread spools. 

Meet Wideleine & her sons, Widens & Luchiano

how are your boys unique and different from each other?

Widens is much more serious than Luchiano. He is the oldest and is strict on rules. He is very independent and has a big imagination. He is very content playing by himself and creating stories with his little cars and toys laying around. He always tells me one day he is going to work and make a lot of money and he will always take care of me. Luchiano, or "Lulu", is very affectionate and clever. He loves being around and engaging with people. He always wants to give kisses and hugs. 

What is your favorite time of the day with your boys?

I love getting them ready for school in the morning, taking care of them when they are sick, and praying with them at night. I love being able to take them to school, church, and playing with them in the afternoons. I love them so much. 

Meet Yvetta & her kids, Peterson, Wislen, Yvens, and niece Cherline

what is your favorite part about being a mom?

I love being a mom because my kids have respect for me. They appreciate me and the work I do to take care of them, I love that about them. They are good kids. 

What are your favorite activities to do with your kids?

I love when we can hang out on weekends and play, tell jokes, take photos, and go to church. I also love praying with them at night. 

Wideleine, Yvetta, and their kids have been with our Haiti Design Co-op family since the beginning. They are hard working women that have overcome many struggles. Yvetta is the only one of her 12 sisters that can write her own name, and today she has 4 healthy, intelligent kids doing wonderful in school. Despite some extremely difficult beginnings, Wideleine has fought hard to bring her family to where they are today. Wideleine now serves on our Community Development Committee and takes care of many other girls in her community going through hard situations. 

Yvetta and Wideleine are best friends and think of each other like sisters. They have worked together for 6 years and seen each other through so many ups and downs. We are currently fundraising to give Yvetta and Wideleine the opportunity to own their own land and homes.

If you would like to support them in this exciting and meaningful way, please donate below. Your help will be contributing to a purchase that will impact their families for generations to come.

Donate

Salut Friends!

My role here at Haiti Design Co-op has been evolving since I stepped on board as a volunteer one year ago. My love for this place goes deep, and my heart for Haiti goes deeper. My life in Haiti began in June 2014 through working with an orphanage as house mom and running a baby feeding program. Life progressed here in Haiti and I decided to transition into focusing on keeping families together and sustained through job creation, which landed me at Haiti Design Co-op. Here at HDC, I am head of order fulfillment, shipping, and program coordinator. I work alongside our Community Development committee to put in place programs to create opportunities for our workers in education, business development, and life skills.    I am excited to share with you stories from our little family and bustling workshop in Port au Prince, Haiti, as well bits and pieces from the rich culture that makes up this country.

 

My name is Katelyn Hollis, I’ll be the chief contributing writer to the Haiti Design Co-op journal.

 

My role here at Haiti Design Co-op has been evolving since I stepped on board as a volunteer one year ago. My love for this place goes deep, and my heart for Haiti goes deeper. My life in Haiti began in June 2014 through working with an orphanage as house mom and running a baby feeding program. Life progressed here in Haiti and I decided to transition into focusing on keeping families together and sustained through job creation, which landed me at Haiti Design Co-op. Here at HDC, I am head of order fulfillment, shipping, and program coordinator. I work alongside our Community Development committee to put in place programs to create opportunities for our workers in education, business development, and life skills.

I am excited to share with you stories from our little family and bustling workshop in Port au Prince, Haiti, as well bits and pieces from the rich culture that make up this country.


A little speed round q&A from yours truly-

                       

                 

1. What's your favorite part of your daily routine at HDC? 

Making the first round of morning greetings to our teams throughout the workshop rooms. You never know what tidbits of information will unfold since the previous workday. It could quite possibly set the tone for the entire day here on the grounds.  

"Ready or not, here we go!"

 

 

 

 

2. What's your favorite HDC product from the collection?

Classic leather tote in tan. It's timeless. It's leather. Enough said.

3. If advising a person traveling to Haiti for the first time, what are the things they must see and places they must go?

Jacmel. A town on the southern coast, perfectly preserved from an era of bold colors, bustling cobblestone, Caribbean salsa dance, and hand squeezed rhum sours. Oh, and breathtaking beaches.

4. Favorite street food?

Avocados and coconuts! If I’m feeling adventurous, banan pese topped with pikliz (fried plantains with a Haitian style cole slaw / spicy kimchi, the more burn the better!)

 

5. Favorite hobby since moving to Haiti?

Yoga, on our workshop jungalow patio. I love the classic practice in a hot yoga setting, sweating and stretching while surrounded by plants. Serenity.

6. Favorite creole word or phrase and why?

“Toutouni” - naked. Packed with so many uses. To be raw, bare, minimum…. One’s natural state. Pronounced just how it looks, try it you won’t be able to say it just once.   

 

7. What is the weirdest thing for you about going back to America when you visit home?

Watching how fast people move in public places. It gets weird, like they actually have to get things done in a timely fashion. Who woulda thought?! A huge contrast to the streets in Port au Prince.

 

8. What is the hardest part of coming back to Haiti after visiting America?

Usually I'm coming from colder northern parts of the US, so definitely adjusting back to the hot weather. But then it soaks into my core and makes me smile from the inside out, and sweat.


Haiti is a place that appeals to every sense at one time, in each moment. This only takes a split second to see. Let’s step out and explore paths, visions, art forms, and everyday products that make up this heartbreaking and breathtaking little island.

 

With love from Ayiti,

Katelyn Hollis

                            Jacmel, Haiti

                            Jacmel, Haiti