I’m Leïla Toukourou, a 26 years old parisian girl from Republic of Benin and Togo, …
I’m Murielle Greffin Larochel. I come from Jacmel, a beautiful historical city of HAÏTI. I am co-founder and Manager of the African-Caribbean brand: AYIZANA®. I am also co-founder and secretary of the Fusion’ Ailes group, a network of women entrepreneurs.
I look forward to meeting you at our next pop-up shop in collaboration with Fusion’ Ailes group from 5 to 11 December, in MY SHOP, 50 Boulevard Strasbourg, 75010 Paris COLOR.
AYIZANA will celebrate its 2 years. We are already planning several events to mark the occasion.
- Tell us about your journey and how did you get there ?
I have a rather unusual background. I was born and raised in Jacmel (southeast of Haiti). I arrived in France in 2001 for my university studies, at the University of Strasbourg. After obtaining a Master 2 in political philosophy in 2006, I returned to Haiti where I was a teacher of philosophy and letters for three years at the Centre Alcibiades Pommayrac. At the same time, my involvement in cultural activities of the city, enabled me to be successively elected Vice-President (2007) and Chairman (2008) of the Alliance Française of Jacmel.
In 2009 I settled in France and I decided to complete my academic studies by professional training in Management. It was after this training I wanted to start my own business.
I co-founded AYIZANA® with my husband who handles computer-science issues and designs of our online store.
This company was born from the will to highlight the beauty and diversity of the Haitian arts and crafts. It reflects our commitment to respect and the preservation of traditional skills.
AYIZANA® is an ethical brand which offers fashion accessories and decorative items made by Haitian artisans. These products,100% handcraft, are made according to local traditions and revisited in a chic ethnic spirit. We guarantee a quality-price ratio in line with the work of craftsperson.
- Tell us why you’re good at what you do ?
Rigor and Perseverance. I’m quite meticulous and I like things to be done well. Since I started in this adventure, I went, like all entrepreneurs, through difficult phases, moments of doubt. But I won’t give up easily. I can always find new inspirations and new ideas to recover. And I thank my friends from the Fusion’ Ailes group that have always been there in these difficult times.
- Please explain us the way you work ?
Most of the time, I work at home. I have a fairly busy schedule and I try as much as possible to deal with emergencies in priority. In the morning, once I put down my daughter at school, if I don’t have a scheduled appointment, I dedicate myself to administrative tasks, communication and customer service management (preparation of order, reply to emails… etc). The afternoon is dedicated to the most creative activities such as sketching of bags or creating jewelries. I love listening to music while working (especially my favourite Haitian band Zèklè) because it stimulates my creativity.
- How to relax
I practice meditation for many years. This allows me to unwind especially after a very busy week. I also like spending time with my friends. It is also effective to relieve stress.
- What are the great challenges that you want to achieve ?
One of my biggest challenges is to reach at the qualitative and quantitative objectives that we have set for the AYIZANA® brand. And of course, to achieve this, we must above all strengthen our ethical commitment to artisans and artists with whom we work. And through the coaching and development of crafts that we develop with our partner, the Foundation Village Caribbean Culture (VICCULTURE), Jacmel (Haiti), we are on the right track. I hope I have the opportunity to discuss further next time.
The achievement of these objectives would be a professional and especially personal satisfaction for me because my motivation comes from my passion for culture.
- Your ultimate goal ?
Ultimate my goal is to leave a trace, to have a positive impact as a woman entrepreneur. I wish I can inspire young people so that they are committed to a cause and they put their know-how at the service of their community.
- Can you tell us if your work is linked to politics ?
I see my activity as a “commitment”, which aims to reconcile economic development and “social impact”. But for me, this commitment is above all ethical. I define myself as a “social entrepreneur” who puts her skills to the service of a cause, a goal, and in this case it is to enhance the skills of the artisans to develop crafts in Haiti.
- What is your MUST-HAVE beauty product ?
My MUST-HAVE for my hair is my oil of Palma Christi from Haiti. I use preferably in oil bath to nourish and strengthen hair. For the skin, my favourite product is African Black SOAP, Dudu Osun.
Stay connected with the AYIZANA® brand :
- Web Site: http://ayizana.com/
- Facebook @ayizana et @ayizstyle
- Instagram @ayizana
Thanks to Murielle for this interview and only success for her projects.