Happy New Year Everyone! I wanted to take the time to recognize that today is the two year anniversary of Haiti’s Devastating Earthquake. As we know the situation in Haiti has not quite changed yet. However, there are people trying to make a difference in Haiti as well as in the lives of the Haitian people. This month we will shed light on some of those fabulous people in a segment called “Haiti Cherie” (My Dear Haiti). I had the privilege of meeting Daphnée Chapoteau, founder and director of Daf•nei. Her wonderful project helps employ Haitian Artisans and is becoming a light at the end of a dark tunnel for some people in Haiti. A native of Haiti, Daphnée often travels back to work with independent Haitian artisans to bring their stunning creative pieces to the fashionable streets of NYC and the world. Check out the interview with Ms. Daphnée Chapoteau below…
DV: Tell us a little about Daf•nei ? How did you come up with this project?
D. Chapoteau: The project was inspired by an artisan handmade bag from Haiti that I received as a gift from my mother four years ago. I still own it and carry it out from time to time. I was so impressed by its beauty and quality that I started to share the idea of importing artisan handmade bags from Haiti to NY with a cousin of mine, Ralph Chapoteau, a painter well connected in the artist scene in Haiti.
However, preoccupied with my full time job at the time, the idea remained just that until October 2010, a month after I quit my full time job to pursue something I love and am passionate about: promoting and sharing Haitian artisans’ creativity, and art work.
D. Chapoteau: We promote their work and talent and they love it. The group I work and deal with are happy to get the business. We conduct business at a fair trade price so it keeps everyone happy and willing to be part of the project.