Friday, August 27, 2010

Starting a Business!

I concentrate hard, doing my best to keep up with the rapid conversation. We're at the home base of an organization called the Apparent Project and Denise and I have just picked out another weeks worth of supplies for jewelry making.

A friend of mine, Shelley Clay, and her husband, run this non-profit organization, and it's all about empowering the Haitian people by teaching them different skills and making them self sufficient. One of their main projects is teaching Haitian women, and some men as well, how to make jewelry. Many of the women in the picture above live in a nearby tent city and jewelry making has given them an employment opportunity that allows them to support their families in a really amazing way.
To keep costs down Shelley has taught them how to make their own durable beads using magazine paper, scrapbook paper, or cornflake box cardboard and a glue like substance called Modge Podge and the results are beautiful.

The completed necklaces are sold for between $15-18USD and the bracelets for $5. Although the beads are time consuming to make, with the costs relatively low, the women (and men) can make a profit of $12-14USD per necklace and $3.50-$4 per bracelet. That is really incredible in a country where the average person makes less then $3USD per day. The necklaces and bracelets are then sold in stores in Haiti or mailed to the United States and Canada to be sold, each with a tag that includes a picture and a brief description of the life circumstances of the person who made it.
When I heard about this organization, I became very excited. For quite a while now I have been researching ideas for new skills that Denise could learn that would empower her. Coming from a family of 11 children, Denise only went to school when her parents could afford it, and that wasn't very often at all. Because of this she is barely literate, but she is really bright and diligent. Every day she helps me in the house and whatever she does, she always goes the extra mile. But the truth is, there isn't that much for her to do in my house and for quite some time now I've been on the lookout for a new opportunity for her. When I told Denise about the jewelry making program she became very excited and said she would definitely be interested in joining it! So a few days later, after contacting Shelley, we headed over to the Apparent Project's home base. When we arrived, Shelley showed us around and then assigned another Haitian women also named Denise to teach us how to make the beads. Although it took some trying to make a perfect bead, it didn't take that long for both Denise and I to catch on.

Since Shelley had all the supplies, I loaned Denise $20 USD to buy a starter kit.

Well a week later, working together with Denise we had completed five sets of jewelry.

Now, it's just a matter of selling them! Would you help Denise, by purchasing one of these beautiful, handmade necklace/bracelet sets? The cost for each set is $20 ($15 for the necklace and $5 for the bracelet). The price includes shipping and handling. All you need to do is email us your address at and we will contact you on how to make the payment.


  1. Wow, these turned out so well! They're beautiful! Tell Denise (and you :) that you both did a fabulous job on them! Can't wait to see more!

  2. they are beautiful! I will be ordering one :)

  3. Wow Will these are so beautiful. I'm going to bring this up with the church ladies to see if we can place a bulk order. Maybe the group that's coming to Haiti in October can bring a bunch back with them, and we can try to sell them here! This is awesome!