During my study abroad adventure to Haiti, we visited Haiti Design Co. Haiti Design Co. is a social enterprise bridging the gap between American consumers and artisan goods, creating steady employment and opportunity for Haitians. Haiti Design Co. is an incredible community with co-founders Chandler and Josh going above and beyond by focusing on the well-being and advancement of the whole person. Through multiple initiatives they train, house, and employ Haitian artisans.
Since opening in 2014, Haiti Design Co. has employed around 150 artisans. Partnering artisans are trained in leather working, jewelry making, sewing, metal working, and other specialized skills allowing them to craft the goods Haiti Design Co. sells in America. Haiti Design Co. provides artisans with steady work and an encouraging an environment, empowering their employees to rise out of poverty.
Haiti Design Co. is continuing to develop the Banana Leaf Initiative, inviting the Haitian community to embrace health and wellness. With a beautiful rooftop garden Haiti Design Co. hosts group activities including nutrition counseling, fitness classes, yoga classes, gardening classes, and other community oriented activities. This initiative teaches community members the importance of growing their own food, sustainable energy, and self care.
The Artisan Incubator Program focuses on developing Haitian entrepreneurs and encouraging them to grow their own sustainable business. This program focuses on business management, product design and trends, leadership, and technical training. Currently, the Artisan Incubator Program is working with five independent teams and three in-house teams to create businesses utilizing their skills in beadwork, woodwork, aluminum casting, and more.
Through the Artisan Incubator Program, Haiti Design Co. plans to send some of their hardworking leather workers to a three month leather working school in Florence, Italy. This would allow employees to gain perspective through the experience of another culture, further the development of their skills, and grow their own businesses.
It was truly impressive to see Haiti Design Co. firsthand. It was clear the employees were proud of their work and embracing the positive environment. My classmates and I got the chance to shop in Haiti Design Co's boutique. All of the goods were extremely well made. From leather bags, home decor, apparel, and jewelry, there was something for everybody. I encourage you to support Haiti Design Co's initiatives by checking out their online shop and supporting their work.
"We believe that there is commonality between the designer, maker, and consumer, and that when working together we can help lighten each other's load and bring about lasting positive impact." -Haiti Design Co.