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March 2 @ 7:00 pm
Francoise Elizee & Pipe Yanguas
The entrepreneurial spirit of the Haitian woman has always inspired me. The Madan Sara(“Madam Sara”) or “woman in the market,” who carries the local economy on her shoulders, and all the women who have earned the title potomitan—a woman who plays a central role in the family and economy of Haiti—are simply remarkable.
This book is a tribute to the Haitian women and a testament of my admiration for them—their impeccable aesthetic, talent, and contribution to the culture. It is about a journey to a Haiti that few are familiar with, but all fall in love with when they visit.
Out of so many talented and impressive women, we selected a few for this book. Each woman has a fascinating story about her experiences and her work on this beautiful Caribbean island. We were given the special opportunity to get an in-depth look at their remarkable ways of creating history and benefiting their country.
As a Haitian woman who moved with my family to Miami at the age of 13, I have been personally motivated by these women’s stories in my own enterprise.
Learning the story of each woman in this book taught me so much about the interaction between commerce and giving back to society. It became my goal, as well as a true honor, to get back to my roots and share the accomplishments of women who developed companies that share Haitian goods with the world.
The photography in this book is by my dear friend and talented photographer Pipe Yanguas. He connected to the Haitian spirit and captured the story of these women, their work, and their success. The combination of a “new eye” and old memories make this book special, bringing a fresh look to an unknown island.
Françoise Elizée was born in Haiti to Haitian parents. At the age of 13, her family relocated to Miami. Her parents maintained Haitian traditions at home. Françoise earned her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, and went on to acquire a Master’s degree in International Business from the University of Miami.
When she completed her education, Françoise went to work for her family’s business, “RIKA,” a food products company. Working in the business for many years taught Françoise the skill of entrepreneurship. In addition to her duties for the family business, Françoise enjoys exercising her creativity in artistic ventures.
She founded a fashion label, Françoise Elizée Collections, in 2009. Her collection, which has been featured in mag-azines such as In Style, Elle and Glamour, includes hand- bags and accessories made from exotic materials that have been sold around the world.
Pipe Yanguas is a Colombian photographer based out of Miami. He specializes in capturing the Passions of people. Pipe globally photographs his subjects each year of their lives and creates a ‘PHOTO-biography’ book for each of them. This printed piece blossoms over time, portraying one’s outlook for life at every step of the way. Pipe’s passion for photography inspires him to constantly travel and discover many of the world’s hidden gems.