It's inspired by the idea that women don't need a "prince charming" to come and rescue them out poverty. Her shop features handmade products styled to being an island vibe to your life, created by Haitian women who are single mothers. Handmade goods for you. Empower a Haitian Woman.
Deb Bailey: Welcome to the blog, Shaina. Please share with us how you got started as an entrepreneur.
Shaina Louis: I'm happy to be here, Deb. You could say I started when, during my freshman year, my advisor gave me the "ok" to take Social Entrepreneurship when I was looking for an extra class to add to my schedule.
I loved it, and I started thinking what I would do if I had the opportunity. Haiti came to my mind and I was already thinking about adding Women and Gender Studies as my minor. I submitted my idea to the Clinton Global Initiative foundation and got accepted to their conference in March 2015.
Deb: That's impressive. So, how did you get started with your Etsy shop?
Shaina: Laglasseslipper is the shortened version of my brand message, "my foot is too big for the glass slipper." My shop is helping women in Aux Cayes, Haiti make a living selling handmade goods.
The goal is to empower Haitian woman financially to reduce male financial dependency, which is very common in Haitian culture. I help other women to see they do not have to get married in order to get out of poverty.
Deb: That's a very powerful mission. Any "lessons learned" from building your business?
Shaina: I learned not to measure my success from applause and validation from others. When you start looking for validation from others, you forget why you an entrepreneur in the first place. My passion is everything.
Deb: What is your inspiration?
Shaina: My mother is my inspiration. She is an example of the "foot is too big for the glass slipper" motto. She raised 3 children in Haiti while going to law school. She gave up the career she worked so hard for, to restart a life in a foreign country in order to give me more opportunities than she had growing up.
My childhood friends, and a lot of women from my hometown, don't have a lot of my opportunities, so I am bringing it to them.
Deb: I can understand why your mother would be your inspiration. What are some of your successes and challenges?
Shaina: I was fortunate to get my products into a very well-established retail shop in my area, My goal is to be inside another retail location next year.
My biggest challenge of my brand is making sure that prospective customers recognize laglasseslipper as a brand and not a non-profit.
Deb: Defining your brand is certainly an important part of building your business. Speaking of that, what's your vision for your business going forward?
Shaina: I am always thinking and coming up with new ideas, My vision is that in 5 years, my small atelier would grow into employing the majority of women that live in the poor area in Aux Caye, Haiti.
The women are currently working on designing pillowcases and clothing. I want to grow into a lifestyle brand where people can count on laglasseslipper for environmentally friendly home decor, authentic handcrafted jewelry, art, and other goods for the home.
Shaina: It was my pleasure, Deb. Here are my links: