On Friday, June 26th, a new boutique for deux mains designs opened up in Port Au Prince, Haiti. The store is open weekdays from 7:00am to 3:30pm and is a great place for tourists, volunteers, and Haitians returning home to purchase sustainable sandals that benefit the Haitian community and showcase the efforts of local artisans.
“Before the store opened last week, customers were able to purchase shoes online, but the boutique, located near the PAP airport is a convenient place to try on sizes and talk with the artists about their favorite designs,” said Lauren James, UMCOR Church Liaison.
120 visitors participated in the grand opening, enjoying the display of sustainable sandals along with Haitian drinks and live music from a Troubadou band, while celebrating how far the company has come to reach this goal.
Sarah Sandsted, the Country Director for REBUILD globally reflected on the overwhelming distinction between the new boutique and the one that existed before. “A few months ago, a visitor came to our former boutique, and told us that he understood that the product was of the utmost quality, but that the surroundings did not represent a place where you would expect to buy a product for $40-$50,” she recounted.
Sandsted kept this comment in mind throughout the construction of the new boutique, which started in April of this year. The goal was to create a place to not only sell sustainable sandals, but also represent the products’ integrity in the physical structure of the boutique, and it was not an easy task. “We were nervous about the difficulty in building a boutique, mostly out of found or re-purposed objects, to represent our high-fashion, trendy brand effectively,” said Sandsted.
The efforts definitely paid off, because the visitors at the grand opening were blown away by the new facility. “The design perfectly reflects their model of reusing and upcycling materials and displays their products beautifully," said Taylor Nicole Beck, a Hospitality Intern for the Haiti Communitere.
“When they first walked into the fully finished boutique, one of our staff members, Andremene, was so overwhelmed with joy, that she started jumping up and down, clapping her hands,” said Sandsted. “This is THEIR space; a space created with THEM as the inspiration.”
Since the boutique’s opening, deux mains has already seen an increase in the sales of their sustainable sandals; something Sandsted said will make a huge difference for deux mains designs. “With increased sales, we will be able to hire more people, and make deux mains designs a household name—not only in Haiti but in the global marketplace!”
What if we could make a few small changes this year, that could have positive effects that reach far outside our lives? We can actually do that with the choices we make while purchasing fashion items.