ESSENCE Network: This Haitian Fashion Designer Is Making Money and A Statement With Her Designs

For more than a decade, this designer has been embracing her heritage through bold and vibrant prints.

Amidst a political climate that continues to reject diversity, one New York City designer is holding on to her roots and making a statement in the fashion industry too. Marie Jean-Baptiste, who was a born on a Haitian island, expresses her love for her culture through her authentic, fun and unique lifestyle brand. Here’s her story on why “now is the perfect time for deeper self reflection, rediscovering and celebrating our history.”

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Full Name: Marie Jean-Baptiste

Age: 32

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Title/Company: CEO/Founder, Rue107

Location: New York City

Hometown: Brooklyn via Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Social Media: InstagramTwitter, LinkedIn

Instagram handles: @Marie.Jean.Baptiste, @RUE107,

The Gig: I call myself a Fashion Retail E-commerce Entrepreneur. I run an e-commerce fashion brand from beginning to end; from the design phase, to sourcing materials to organizing photo shoots.

The Journey: Rue107 came alive seven years ago shortly after the earthquake in Haiti. My company is an expression of my surroundings, whether that's NYC or recent travels. I draw inspiration from fabrics, love, art or simply life.  

The Importance Of Supporting Black-Owned Businesses: We literally don’t have a choice. Socially, economically our progress speaks for itself. As a group we’re still so far behind compared to our counterparts. Buying Black is the perfect way for us to lift and rise as one.

Inspired by Former First Lady, Michelle Obama: To me, Michelle Obama embodies everything I hope for our future daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters. She is one of the most successful and visible women in American history, yet she sustains and insatiable connection with Black Women in such an intimate way.  She’s the ultimate symbol of beauty, class, elegance, leadership and intellect. 

Recovering from mistakes: One of my biggest mistakes not taking into account the sustainability of a financially healthy business. Because I procrastinated on what those things were and learning how they work, I almost lost my business. I recovered by going back to the basics, learning what all those things were. Developing a sales strategy, working to achieve them. Working closely with my CPA to develop a budget and managing my cash flow and so on.

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Her beauty must-haves: Korres face cream, Glossier face wash and serum, and my black opal foundation stick in beautiful bronze.

Her power style accessory: Currently it’s my Maureen Mules from Malone Souliers, which is a Black-owned shoe brand. They are my go to.

Her theme song: Kiss by Prince

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