Celebrate Haitian Tradition Through Beauty
Mothers and Grandmothers play one of the most important roles in Haiti’s vibrant culture. As the pillar of families and the global economy, they're not given the honorable title of Poto-Mitan for no reason. Their strength, tireless work and compelling beauty secrets have been historically passed down by through the ages, deeply rooting them in culture and tradition.
For Haitian Heritage Month and Mother’s Day, we are proud to pay tribute to them though story. We invite you to pass down these cherished tips with your very own and indulge in our pure and authentic Haitian products made by Poto-Mitans of Haiti with love and care.
Q. How has your Haitian Heritage influenced you as a mother?
My Haitian has heritage has influenced my parenting style quite a bit. Having grown up in the US with Haitian parents I think I was able to take what I think is the best from both cultures. So I consider my style to be a hybrid. I consider myself very tough and I have high standards for them. As many Haitian parents, we begin requiring responsibility of them early on. For us that means integrating them into our business and speaking to them like adults early on. My parents gave me alot of responsibility as a child and I think that made me a better adult.
I do find myself throwing kreyòl expressions that I detested as a child and focusing on the importance of long term planning.
Q. As a professional, is it hard to balance your work and being a mom?
I co-own a food & beverage company in Haiti called MyaBèl. We bottle cooking sauces, cocktails, hot sauces and iced teas using locally sources ingredients, mostly from our farm. We also have a restaurant/catering business. Additionally, I'm the national coordinator for a non-profit focused on job creation and education.
My family composition is interesting, we are a very mixed family. I have three steps-son, an adopted godson, and my grandfather at 76 had my uncle. So we have five boys ranging from 6-22. Because I own my own company and manage another, I've had alot of say in the company cultures. Additionally, Haiti is a very village and family centric company. Thus, I've never felt the pressure of choosing career over family. Much of our family bonding time is taking our entire family to fairs, they've become well versed in the food & beverage business. Since a very strong value in our household is an appreciation of Haitian heritage, we do alot of weekend trips to the countryside along with our business related trips. All of this goes very well with the value we place on strong independent thinking.
Q. What do you want for your kids more than anything else? What aspect of Haitian Heritage do you most want them to know?
To be happy, well adjusted, and strong advocates for their country. I had alot of pressure growing up to focus on school, career, and money. While I do focus on that to some extent, we focus more on being a good person with long term critical thinking. Then the rest should fall into place.
From their Haitian heritage, we want them to understand the heartbeat of the culture. One great way is through food, farming, and hospitality. Which is why our company's values are so interwoven with our own familial one.
Q. What is your favorite Kreyol Essence product?
Pomade kreyòl for the boys hair, and vetiver and French lavender body creams. I rub oil right out of the shower, wait to dry and then slather on the body cream. I get constant compliments on my skin and I get to brag about it being Haiti made.
Q. What do you remember most about Lwil Maskriti / Haitian Castor Oil growing up? Do you use this traditional oil in your family?
I remember the smell and it being the cure all for everything. So I grew up always going back to it, but never fully appreciated it until I was an adult. I use lwil maskreti everytime I wash my hair. I use it on the boys sparingly since they don't have much hair. If one of them ever decides to grow a full afro, he'll get the full castor oil treatment. I haven't subjected them to the yearly maskreti cleanse that we had growing up. A spoon full that would "clean out" your insides.
Q. What did your mom, grandmother, aunt/mother figure instill in you that could almost bring you to tears?
Hard work and being independent. I grew up around women that took care of their households. I always realized, whatever came about, so long as I worked hard and was independently driven, I could weather any storm. So today when I think of what values children should have, I try and lead by the same example and surround them with the same kinds of role models.