HAITIAN ENTREPRENEURS EXCEL AT BIEN ABYE’ LES JARDINS DE LA MODE IN WASHINGTON DC.
The Haitian Embassy in Washington, DC played host to a wide cross-section of tastemakers who came in droves to celebrate ‘Les Jardins De La Mode’ on the last day of ‘Haiti Week’ which saluted everything pertaining to Haitian culture; music, song, dance, literature etc. Haiti’s Ambassador in Washington DC, Mr Paul Altidor, was the patron of the soire which took the form of a pop-up exhibition and shopping experience, featuring products from Haitian-American entrepreneurs. The lavish venue, with it’s grand curving staircase served as an elegant backdrop for the enormous display of fashion apparel and accessories, home goods and gourmet products, all crafted by artisans who share the common bond of excelling in their past careers and have now created businesses where their merchandise is sourced and/or inspired by their native Haiti.
Entrepreneur Eddy Albertini with Mrs Marcia Dyson, wife of Michael Eric Dyson, pictured with his art work.
New York based fashion designer Dayanne Danier who spearheaded the extravaganza, brought together four other creators to display and sell their products. Dayanne took the opportunity to launch her new line of colorful men’s pocket squares and showcased her own fashion line ‘Bien Abye’ alongside her popular collection of fashionable scarves. Other featured creators were: Eddy Albertini, who unveiled ‘Deux Noirs’ his stunning artwork that reflected the everyday Haitian lifestyle. Reginald Canal’s ‘Les Vetiver Cayes,’ his premier collection of soothing candles in four signature scents, developed with 100% all natural Haitian Vetiver essential oil, harvested in Les Cayes, from the south west region of Haiti. Also featured was ‘Artisans du Mode’ by Nathalie Tancrede, who sources accessories and home goods, including jewelry, plates and metal works, from artisans in Haiti. Michelle Jean’s ‘Zesa Raw’ presented her organic hand-milled, unrefined sugar, high altitude coffee and cocoa, from small scaled farmers in Haiti and Costa Rica.
Reginald Canal with his `Les Vetiver Cayes’.
The afternoon commenced with a panel/interview with each of the creative participants, as guests gathered on the newly rennovated courtyard of the Embassy. This was facilitated by former White House Laison, Karen Andre’ and served as the official launch and opening of the event. “Interviewing the vendors was inspirational, because they each were the personification of excellence in their chosen professions. I felt such pride knowing that Haitians had made such signigicant strides in corporate America,” said Andre’ as each participant talked about their journey as professionals in various industries before becoming entrepreneurs. “As a consumer at the pop-up shop, the word to describe it is; excellence. The displays, the quality of the products, the customer service – everything was top notched. I could’ve closed my eyes and been in any high-end boutique or department store in the world.”
Designer Dayanne Danier with her products on display.
Designer Danier said she conceived the event in her efforts to expose other brands from Haitian-American entrepreneurs, plus, being hosted at the Haitian Embassy in Washington DC, it was the ideal venue and coinsided with Ambassador Altidor’s mission of exposing the community to a more positive narrative of Haiti. The Ambassador stated; “The Haitian Embassy in Washington, DC was thrilled to have partnered with a talented group of Haitian-American entrepreneurs. This pop-up show, the first in a series, is in line with the mission of the Embassy to be a platform for Haitian owned businesses to showcase their products.” Ambassador Altidor concluded: “I am delighted that consumers from the DC area responded to our first pop-up shop invitation where they discovered and purchased quality products.”
Haiti Ambassador in Washington DC His Excellency Paul Altidor (seated center) flanked by Haitian-American entrepreneurs who were featured at Les Jardins de la Mode left to right: Reginald Canal, Dayanne Danier, Eddy Albertini, Michelle Jean and Nathalie Tancrede.