From May 5-6, the second edition of Women in Production—an international trade fair featuring Haiti’s top women entrepreneurs and artisans—was held in Miami Beach, FL. The fair took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center to launch Haitian Heritage Month.
Beautifully gowned in a printed dress and royal blue jacket, First Lady Sophia Martelly of the Republic of Haiti encouraged the audience during her public address to invest in mothers and women entrepreneurs of Haiti. Sitting next to Pierre Saliba (President of the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida), Matti Herera Bower (Mayor of Miami Beach), and Katherine Fernandez Rundle (State Attorney), Her Excellency Mme. Martelly cut the ribbon to kick off this year’s Women In Production. The Haitian national anthem followed shortly thereafter. Fashion designer Elmire Desrouleaux played Catherine Flon sewing the Haitian flag as the anthem was performed.
Sixty exhibitors took part in the event to celebrate Haitian creativity and cultural expression. A wide variety of products were showcased, from alcoholic beverages to hot sauces, clothing, handbags, jewelry, and paintings, to name just a few.
Madichon Sauce, awarded Best Booth Display, carries its name very well. Their hot sauce is amazingly good. Se koupe dwèt!
Bijou Lakay was offering bullhorn jewelry. Her designs reflected Haitian culture and she played with different textures, even loofah! Daphnée Karen Floréal was very innovative this year with her unique pieces.
Maelle Creations presented Opulence, which is a line made to flatter every woman’s curve. The Haitian style embroidery on the vests and jackets, the oversize pocket or simply the contrasting ribbon made the designs look sophisticated.
Collections Xaragua was very popular for its crossbody bags and clutches. The woven straw (commonly called latanier in Haiti) added the Haitian authenticity to a trendy purse that will make you stand out.
It was very pleasant to see Miss Haiti Caribbean Beauty 2012, Cassy Edmond, visiting each booth and taking the time to introduce herself and chat a bit with every exhibitor. International model and youth ambassador, Nayeli Fanfan, who has done a lot for the Haitian community, was also among the visitors. Her support was proven by each additional shopping bag she would carry as she walked around.
Many exhibitors shared the opinion of targeting a more diverse clientele. “The customers were mainly Haitians. Women In Production should also aim for buyers from boutiques and art galleries,” says Daphnée from Bijou Lakay. Although the customer traffic was significantly less than last year, Women In Production successfully provided a platform for Haitian women entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their products.
-Nora David, BrandHaiti