In 10 years, TiSakSuk has gone from a platform for selling “Made in Haiti” handicrafts to an increasingly renowned brand of painted clothing, which finds its market in Haiti and abroad. Behind this success lies a passion, dreams, hard work and opportunities that the company has seized!
Having left to study in the United States, Daphnée Valmond Bourgoin stayed on to launch her professional and family life. But after the 2011 earthquake, she was one of the many Haitians who enthusiastically returned to build on their native soil. It all began with Daphnée’s passion for handicrafts and “made in Haiti”, as she was in charge of selecting products for the store she managed at the US Embassy in Haiti. A devotee of her country’s objects and products, she even earned the nickname “Madame Made-in-Haiti”, when she had the idea of promoting and selling the products of Haiti’s artisans on her social networks, then on a website … under the profile of TisakSuk. And so the adventure began.
Tisaksuk will grow up!
Daphnée has gone from being a promoter of local products to a creator of local products. First by having linen clothes made for herself, then by having them personalized by an artist. Shirts, dresses and pants painted in the colors of Haiti quickly attracted the attention of those around her, and then of her “followers”. The market was there, and the obvious thing to do was to create a workshop under the Tisaksuk brand.
Tisaksuk means “little bag of sugar” in Creole. This is how the man who would become her husband had christened his childhood friend Daphnée, when they were growing up in the same Carrefour district of the capital. Little did Vladimir Bourgoin know that “Tisaksuk” would become his wife and the founder of a promising small business. Today, it’s the name of a collection that’s on a roll.
Change of scale, but still artisanal
With the brand’s success, Vladimir left his own career to strengthen that of his wife. The small company now has a team of 20 people, half of them women, to make and paint the year’s collection. The workshop, created in their original Carrefour neighborhood in 2013, had to move to Frères for safety reasons. Today, between local sales and online sales to elegant Haitian women in the diaspora, the brand has undergone remarkable expansion. International sales, mainly in the United States, account for 80% of sales. But while TiSakSuk is moving to a new level of production and distribution, the brand is committed to maintaining its artisanal standards of manufacture and quality. Each garment in the annual collection, available in six to ten models, is a unique piece, hand-painted by a Haitian artist.
Technical support crucial to growth
This growth, which has been gradual over the last ten years, has recently gained momentum with the support of Caribbean Export. Through the binational program financed by the European Union, Tisaksuk has benefited from substantial technical support, with training and support in accounting and management. ” We’ve been a beneficiary of this value chain support project since 2019, but between Covid and the problems in Haiti, everything had slowed down a little. We’re catching up now… “explains the designer. In 2023, the pace quickened: while the company’s administrative capabilities were being strengthened and two team members were being trained on Quickbooks, the Caribbean Export program also helped to boost product availability and visibility. Tisaksuk’s participation in an annual fair for small and medium-sized enterprises in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was intended to expose the company to other markets. ” Their support has enabled me to take part in Semana Mipynes in June 2023. I was impressed by the reception the collection received. I never imagined that the Dominican market, and the Caribbean market by extension, would be interested in our creations.. I’m delighted by this discovery, as it opens up so many new avenues …” confides D. Bourgoin, who is looking forward to the experience. Bourgoin, who is delighted with the experience.
An international distribution platform
Increased sales abroad prompted the company to set up a distribution platform in Tampa, Florida, to distribute TisakSuk orders more cost-effectively. Tomorrow, this platform could even become a dispatch point for other designers.
Alongside the strengthening of production organization and the prospecting of new markets, the success of the Santo Domingo fair has reinforced Tisaksuk’s plans to make the Tampa platform a veritable hub for Made in Haiti products… and why not for Made in the Caribbean products, which are struggling to find adequate distribution. ” Our dream is to become the Amazon of Caribbean Made by 2025. “emboldens Daphnée Valmond Bourgoin. The little bag of sugar can become a big project!