As a Haitian immigrant who arrived in New York in 1987, Mrs. Pierre (called Sr. Pierre by her friends and colleagues) is a successful Small business owner who is proud to be living manifestation of the American dream come true. Raising 3 kids and blessed to also partake in raising her many grandchildren, Pierre knows the true value of family and leaning on community support networks in order to overcome life’s everyday twists and turns. Pierre rents a section within Flatbush Caton Market and utilizes her shop to sell a range of Haitian sourced products and goods. Having been in business for a number of years and being surrounded by other retailers who are managed by like minded business owners with similar products as hers, Pierre knew she wanted to expand and ramp up her sales to a broader market; but was unsure of how to further increase her revenue and support the demand for her products, beyond the Haitian-American community in Flatbush Brooklyn.
“This market place is great because everyone who shops here lives in the neighborhood or stops by from driving from Long Island, New Jersey or when they visit NYC. Those who are just visitors always tell me that they would love to purchase my products more often, but they have to physically come into Brooklyn, which isn’t always easy due to life’s other dependencies.” As interesting and inspiring as Sr. Pierre’s story is, she isn’t alone. Hundreds, if not thousands of business owners who have products focused on procuring and selling goods that are Haitian themed are looking to expand their client base as well as get their products in front of the Haitian diaspora globally. Inspired and motivated by the business issue that vendors like this face, another entrepreneurial Brooklynite named Jonathan Foucault created CloseToLakay.com in order to help them achieve this goal.
How CloseToLakay Works
CloseToLakay (C2L) has a number of vendors within the continental US and in Haiti, whom they partner with in order to bridge the connection between the vendors, such as Pierre, and end customers in one singular marketplace. “ I started C2L in 2018 because I noticed that my family members and friends were still requesting that family members who went back to Haiti should retrieve particular products and goodies on their back from their trips to Haiti. It seemed crazy to me that in this day and age, they would rather wait for these family members to return from Haiti with the products as opposed to driving down to the primarily Haitian communities (if their neighborhoods had any), and purchase these products as they pleased.” Concurrently, these small business owners who were entrepreneurial in spirit and in action, needed a E-commerce based solution of competing within the retail business, all while remaining authentic and true to the rich culture of the world’s first free Black Republic. Customers who are looking for these products can search online at CloseToLakay.com where there will find an assortment of the Haitian goods and services, being conveniently provided to them and allow them to continue enjoying and pushing the culture forward.
Sometimes called “ The Haitian Amazon” CloseToLakay pivitol on-demand marketplace also serves as a platform to connect business services offered by Haitian, Caribbean, African and American entrepreneurs to the Haitian diaspora and lovers of the culture alike; further empowering the need to support Black Businesses and allow epitomizes the recirculation of the ‘black’ dollar throughout its community.
The Diaspora at work
CloseToLakay is not the only company looking to solve these local business and social issues within the US and Haiti and economically connecting the ever growing diaspora to products from Haiti. Contrary to popular belief, Companies such as RoyalCremas.com, Bonbonlakay.com, TasteofHaitibox.com, and Haitianswhoblog.com offer products and services that the diaspora can look to utilize, enjoy, easily order from for years to come. Other companies like @TrendCatchNY devizes and implements the latest marketing marketing strategies for small to medium size Haitian and other Caribbean owned businesses in order to increase their visibility and conversions and increasing brand awareness to the thousands of Caribbean patrons who visit Caribbean and afro centric brick and motor locations throughout various neighborhoods in the US.
The Haitian buying power is more evolved and sophisticated than ever before. With remittances from the US to Haiti totaling $$$ and Haitian Americans dominating professional services more today than ever before, CloseToLakay.com can help lead the next wave of exposure and prominence to the historic island and usher in new wave of commerce that can inject those back home with money and opportunity for growth opportunities.
“My goal for C2L is to grow this into not only an online marketplace that services local business owners, but as a central place where the Haitian diaspora all over the world can purchase, sell, market, raise funds and feature all businesses and buyers of the culture alike; similar to how it used to be back at lakay (home in Haitian-Kreyol). “
C2L is currently in its first round of funding. To donate visit CloseToLakay.com for more info. Interested investors can E-mail Info@closetolakay.com for more information about investment opportunities.