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A beginners story...a journey still being written.

Ughh I guess I am not as great as keeping up with this blog thing as I had hoped. So here we go again, another reboot of this space. 

Let's recap this journey and all things Cedar + Cypress. 

If you don't know, we started in 2015 after I left Haiti. I wanted to continue to work with artisans and bring the beautiful items being made in Haiti to market. I had no clue what I was doing, I mean of course I thought I did, but I didn't. When I started out in 2015, I bought jewelry from some friends *wholesale* and resold it online and at different shows and pop up events. 

My very first show was Corn Days in Long Lake, man have we come a long way since then! Fast forward to buying and reselling online and at little fairs and shows and eventually I got into my first store in Minnesota-not knowing then that was actually my goal all along! 

Melissa at Flaunt Accessories loved our items and wanted to sell them in her store! It was a dream come true! However, I quickly realized you can't make money this way by buying other peoples items and then reselling them, but what did I know. 

Finally I started designing my own items and the rest is history. A long history that I often wish I had journaled through (but I guess that's what this space is and there's no better time to start than now) 

When I first realized I needed to make my own designs in order to be in stores, I would buy things and take them apart and make them mine. If you have ever listened to Kendra Scott's story on How I built this by Guy Raz it's one of my favorites. 

I went back to some friends in Haiti who had companies and were manufacturing for others in search of some help to make our products, but I couldn't afford the minimums. Buying 100 bracelets is a big deal when you're just starting. So instead I would buy her beads and figure out how to make our designs other ways. We did find Bien Amie, our dear horn and bone artisan who has been with us since the beginning.

FAST FORWARD to now, time and experience and well life has brought me back to Shelley, the first company who's minimum I could not meet (I now know most people start their companies with investors, I didn't have that). However, I have stuck with it and you all have supported us over the years and I went back to Shelley where our bracelets are now made exclusively by Papillon at their Fair Trade Artisan center, Papillon Marketplace. 

It is my goal to be Shelley's biggest customer, to employ all of her artisans full time. To have so much work we have to hire NEW people. 

When I started Cedar + Cypress I thought I would be a non profit, thats what everyone did. Someone questioned me and asked "why". Honestly I didn't have a great answer. They challenged me to rethink that, to make a business. A business in Haiti that doesn't rely on donations, but on quality products being sold for fair prices and people being paid the wages they deserve to live a dignified life. And thats exactly why we do what we do.

Cedar + Cypress is what Solomon built the temple out of. Cedar and Cypress wood, the foundations and the support. That's all we want to be. Foundations and support for our artisans. When you purchase from us, you become a part of that framework. You become a part of someones pay check, you put their child in school, food on their table and clean water on their lips. 

I got to travel to Haiti in February and work with the artisans and ladies at Papillon Marketplace. 

We are all together making a difference. We are all together making life a little better for others. 

I saw on some friends marketing recently, "Doing the right thing can be as easy as wearing the right thing" Sustainable fashion is here and you can be a part of it. (thank you to Deux Mains for their slogan-more on that later)

If you want to give toward our efforts in Haiti, buying and sharing is the BEST way. If you know of a favorite store near you that you think might be a good place for our products, please let me know or put us in contact. 

If you would like to give directly to our artisans, Papillon Empowerment is a 501c3 and is set up to accept donations and distribute them to their artisans in Haiti as they see fit. 

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