Our world consumes so much news and information through quick images and words (Instagram, Facebook, 24-hour-news cycles) — and so much of it is negative or snarky or just plain wrong. So it’s been on my heart for a while to find a way to tell the stories of people I see doing incredible things… there are so many inspiring stories out there of people who are helping others, doing good things, climbing metaphorical mountains. So these little “She Believed She Could” profiles are just my way of trying to put some inspiring and good stuff out there. This post is a guest profile written by my friend Abby, whose company, Béljoy, works with women in Haiti to create beautiful jewelry, giving them opportunities to earn a living and provide for their families.
My husband’s family has had a 40-year connection to Haitian Christian Mission. I took my first trip to Haiti with them in 1997 and fell in love with the people and the country. Poverty continues to be a major challenge in Haiti, and it is very evident the people are eager for an opportunity. The kids there stole my heart, and one of my desires became to help mothers provide for their children so they do not end up in an orphanage.
I have always had my hand in something creative and had previously designed jewelry before I took a good long break to raise my kids. When my husband and I started to feel God leading us to work with and help the people of Haiti by creating jobs, I was ready to get back into designing, and Béljoy was born.
The Béljoy mission is to give the people of Haiti opportunities to earn money though honest and dignified work, creating sustainability, restoring dignity and inspiring change. Béljoy creates fashion-forward, handmade jewelry. I design each piece of jewelry, and the ladies on our team construct the pieces in Haiti. We source as many raw materials from in-country as we are able. Once designs are completed they are shipped back to the US for distribution. Right now we are in nearly 60 stores and boutiques, we sell through our website ((Beljoy)) and wholesale distribution is growing.
The work is inspiring – I could never have dreamed up a job like this. Only God could have led me to start a business in a chaotic, third-world country, but I love it. I love to watch lives being changed. I love seeing the ladies on our team be able to provide for their children. I love that all of their kids are in school now and their lives and health are improving. The women inspire me. Their days are hard, but they are so thankful for all they have.
Launching and helping Béljoy grow has by far been the most difficult, challenging thing I’ve ever done, but the joy that I have experienced makes it all worth it! There have been challenges along the way, such as establishing a healthy work environment, communicating with a language barrier and working out the logistics of getting the product there and back. I have an education in Fashion, but I’m getting a crash course in international business, sales and management!
I have a big vision for Béljoy’s future. .. but I believe that what’s most important is God’s vision. I would love to have our jewelry line in stores across the nation, employ many more women in Haiti and ultimately make a big impact on the village of Fonds Parisien.
I want people to know that Béljoy jewelry is made with love. The ladies are so thankful to be making it. They love having the opportunity to make money, and love the idea that people are wearing their creations.
I also want people to know that their purchases are directly improving lives in Haiti – and not only the lives of our five full-time employees and their families. We have also had the opportunity to help children with medical needs, better education and good nutrition.
The love of Jesus is our inspiration…all the creativity and beauty in this world is a gift from God, and Béljoy is just one more expression of that love.