Ingrid Daniels the blogger behind the blog Cornbread and Cremasse, a blog full of insightful articles about balancing Haitian and American identity. But she is also a culture-conscious entrepreneur and the founder of The Macaya Store, an online e-commerce portal that sells message-rich tees.
How did the concept for the store come about?
The concept of Macaya was born from a void that existed at the time I established the business in 2005. I couldn’t find any fashionable Haitian themed t-shirts (or other articles clothing) anywhere. The t-shirts that I did come across seemed cheap and not very “cool” at all. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and really hoped to create a brand that spoke to my generation of Haitian-Americans. I wanted to create a collection of simple—not overdone—statement tees that could serve as conversation starters about Haiti.
I wanted the brand to be fun and make a difference. Macaya products not only talk the talk—our garments communicate information and pride in Haiti—but they also walk the walk—a portion of all Macaya sales go directly to The Lambi Fund, a non-profit organization that works in partnership with rural grassroots organizations to support economic justice, democracy and sustainable development in Haiti.
Was it hard coming up with the name for it?
I brainstormed on a name with a Haitian friend for a few weeks. It was more fun than anything. I was looking for something that represented Haiti meaningfully, and wouldn’t be too difficult for non-francophone people to pronounce. I came up with Macaya after doing some research on different Haitian sites.
Macaya LLC is named after Pic Macaya (Macaya Point), one of the highest mountains in Haiti. On this mountain is Macaya National Park, Haiti’s only National Park. The National Park provides water for Plaine des Cayes, Haiti’s most productive agricultural region, and was the only piece of land in the country ever sanctioned by the government for preservation. Macaya National Park has extremely rich biodiversity and houses many of Haiti’s exotic plants and animals. The National Park has remained relatively undisturbed until recently. Now the Park is threatened by inappropriate agricultural practices and deforestation by peasants seeking to merely survive. Macaya, much like the National Park, is trying to do its part to help save the country.
What goes into running an online store?
The main responsibilities are maintaining the website, providing good customer service, maintaining inventory and fulfilling orders in a timely fashion. I really enjoy it.
Customers who come to shop at the Macaya Store can expect to find what kind of goodies?
Macaya customers can expect to find high quality, 100% cotton statement t-shirts for men and women. Some of our t-shirt messages include “Sak pase”, “M’ap boule” “N’ap kembe”, “Heal Haiti”, “1804”, “The First Black Republic”.
What are your plans for expanding it?
I hope to expand the brand to include other articles of Haitian-themed clothing for men, women and children, and expand our statement t-shirt offerings.