Based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Caribbean Craft was founded in 1990 to address Haiti’s high unemployment through artisan training, design assistance and by opening new export markets for their creations. Haiti, a center of artistic creativity and inventiveness, is exemplified by the vibrant tradition and continuation of self-taught painting with colorful style and lines. Through all the hardships that fell on Haiti, Caribbean Craft continued growing, becoming in the end of the 90’s the main provider of Haitian handicrafts for the Caribbean islands’ tourist market.
In 2006 Caribbean Craft became a woman owned company, and in 2009 was the first Haitian company to invest in a permanent showroom in Atlanta’s AmericasMart. This exposure to the American market introduced the company and its products to several important retailers like HomeGoods and Anthropologie before the earthquake of January 2010. After the earthquake, even though Caribbean Craft lost its workshop, it managed to acquire new accounts like West Elm, Restoration Hardware, TOMS Shoes, Land of Nod, Crate and Barrel.
As a country with a troubled history plagued by natural disasters and political instability, Haiti is consistently ranked as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Haitians struggle to find a sustained income, where more than half of the population is unemployed. While these problems are challenges that Haitians face, the beauty of the culture is often left unnoticed. The talent of the artistry in Haitian culture that combines creativity, precision, and inventiveness is underrepresented around the world. Haitian artists produce high-quality goods using the natural resources of the country.
Caribbean Craft creates an outlet for talented Haitian artisans to reach international markets. Caribbean Craft has been able to showcase the beautiful artistry of Haiti and bring it to an international setting, all while increasing job opportunity for Haitian artisans. Caribbean Craft channels the unique Haitian culture in its products by incorporating bright colors and traditional symbolism in many of its designs. In addition, Caribbean Craft strives to make all of its products from recycled material. For example the paper maché products are made from reused cement bags, and the oil drums are made from recycled steel strums. Combined with the strong social and education program that Caribbean Craft provides for its artisans, the company positively contributes to the livelihood of Haitian families while also providing unique, quality products for home decorators around the world. In 2006, Caribbean Craft became a female-owned company, consistent to its goal of contributing to sustainable growth in Haiti.
Caribbean Craft’s vision is to be an example of a successful and socially responsible company that enables artisans around the country to live a good life. With integrity at the core of everyone one of its products, Caribbean Craft hopes to brighten the environment of its customers, and improve the quality of life of the workers and people.
After the devastating earthquake in January 2010, the workshop where all our items are produced collapsed. After a very volatile year, support form the Clinton Foundation helped us rebuild. With partnerships from customers such as West Elm and Anthropologie, we have been able to grow as a company and continues to support artisans around Haiti.
Caribbean Craft provide Haitian artisans with fair wages, health and accident insurance, a pension system, and interest-free loans to meet their own needs in case of a natural disaster.
Caribbean Craft strives to find ecological uses for recycled materials. Their highly original and internationally renowned “oil drum” is made from recycled steel strums. The steel is molded into ornate forms and the selections range from folklore art, to Voodoo; it often includes mystical and religious symbolism.
Trendy paper maché comes from empty cement bags and starch made from locally grown, renewable arrowroot; it is fashioned into beautiful and festival ornaments, money or “piggy banks”, serving trays, and a variety of other useful creations. Caribbean Craft also produces their own glue from starch of locally grown manioc and use plastic bottles and gallon containers. Caribbean Craft helps artists design functional products from these recycled products, including napkin holders in tropical designs for picnics and barbecues.
Caribbean Craft has been able to implement a successful social project alongside the business. We partnered with PRODEV to create an education program for the artisans, where they are taught reading, writing and financial literacy skills. After the first year 41 students have been enrolled in the program. 40 of the students are moving into the second year, and 31 new students will start this year.
Strategy: Promoting Haitian Craft Worldwide
Caribbean Craft produces over six thousand different items from giftware to home décor pieces suitable to home décor stores, gift shops and tourist oriented stores.
We specialize in handcrafted and hand painted items, metal sculptures, paper maché, stone carving and basketry. Caribbean Craft offers retailers the opportunity to buy many every day items that American and European consumers need.
With our permanent showroom in Atlanta and exposition of our products in the New York Now Gift Fair, at Javits, we have been able to showcase several artisan groups from Haiti to an international audience: the soapstone sculptures from Leogane and Camp Perrin, the vine baskets from La Vallee Jacmel, the tobacco vases and paper maché from Jacmel, the metal sculptures from Croix des Bouquets and Cite Soleil, etc…
Caribbean Craft also works with groups of non-traditional artisans: we train them to handcraft our own items. A group of young men and women from Gros Morne has been trained to paint and sculpt paper maché and are now regularly receiving production orders from us.
Since 2011 our customer list covers the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Israel and most Caribbean Islands.
Caribbean Craft is dedicated to promoting, through exports, the beauty of Haiti.
We produce and sell original Haitian handmade artisan products that will brighten the environment of our customers, and improve the quality of life of our workers and people. Caribbean Craft wants to generate enough sales to strengthen isolated artisan communities around Haiti. Our vision is to be the example of a successful and socially responsible company in Haiti that enables artisans around the country to live a good life. Caribbean Craft strives to find eco-logical uses for recycled material. The renowned “oil drum art” is made from recycled steel drums; the trendy paper maché comes from empty cement bags and starch made from locally grown arrowroot.
Strive for continuous improvement and innovation. Delight customers with Haitian art. Use integrity as our trademark. Help our people develop their talents. Give support to the community
West Elm, Anthropologie, VivaTerra, Wayfair, HomeGoods, Tesoros Trading, Ten Thousand Villages, Urban Zen, the Smithsonian Museum, Crate and Barrel, Land of Nod, TOMS Shoes, Restoration Hardware.