Based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Caribbean Craft was founded in 1990 by young Dutch and Belgian entrepreneurs who wanted to address Haiti’s high unemployment with artisan training, design assistance and new export market outlets.
Caribbean Craft works to both coordinate producers and export their products wholesale. In the course of their work, they have created jobs for hundreds of local artisans, providing income for over 500 families in 2008. Haitian artisans have gained a sense of dignity and empowerment by becoming wage earners, either independently or as in-workshop artists. Haiti is a center of artistic creativity and inventiveness, which is exemplified by the vibrant tradition and continuation of self-taught painting with colorful style and lines.
Caribbean Craft strives to find ecological uses for recycled materials. The highly original and internationally renowned “oil drum art” is made from recycled steel drums. The steel is molded into ornate forms and the selections range from Folkore art, to Voodoo; it can include mystical and religious symbolism, as well. Trendy paper maché comes from empty cement bags and starch made from locally grown, renewable arrowroot; it is fashioned into beautiful and festive ornaments, money or “piggy” banks, serving trays, and a variety of other useful creations. They even produce their own glue from the starch of locally grown manioc and use plastic bottles and gallon containers. Caribbean Craft also helps artists design functional products from these recycled products, including napkin holders in tropical designs for picnics and barbeques.
Caribbean Craft long term vision is to continue producing in a sustainable manner and to increase the diversity of art and opinions that are passed on to established business in the United States and Canada.
Haiti, intermittent with hunger riots and hurricanes, directly benefits from the infrastructure built by Caribbean Craft. Hurricanes—and the flooding and disease that follow - have caused hundreds of deaths since 2007. Caribbean Crafts supports Haitian artisans with fair wages, health and accident insurance, a pension system, and interest-free loans to meet their own needs when these crises strike.
Caribbean Craft offers retailers the opportunity to buy many every day items that American and Canadian consumers need. From toys, household items, décor, holiday items, and art, their goods can supply any child with a fun gift or any adult something that might just come in handy, such as a doorstop, magnet, or keychain.
Taken from Network Publications, Newsletter of the Fair Trade Federation, Volume 16, Issue 2, written by Francois Dresse & Danielle Powers.
In 2006 Caribbean Craft became a haitian women owned company