“You can’t imagine what it was like during the early stages. We were surrounded by death, rubble, screaming. But yet the people of Haiti knew they wanted to rebuild, and they wanted to do that through jobs and creating something.” -Julie Colombino [CEO of Rebuild Globally]
Even though this ‘Soul Survivor’ story came out last year in Footwear Plus Magazine, we wanted to shed light on Julie Colombino and Deux Mains Designs because we’d never been aware of the amazing work they’d begun in Haiti.
Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti which pretty much destroyed everything, natives quickly realized that they’d not only have to rebuild, but REBUILD ON THEIR OWN. So they became eager for opportunities to aid.
Julie Colombino, who rushed to Haiti following the disaster to help, quit her job in the states and moved to the country in order to start a company that would offer natives a living wage.
She saw a void and she FILLED IT!
In those moments, Deux Mains Designs was created! [Click here to visit website] Funded by Rebuild Globally:
“Deux Mains Designs, an ethical fashion brand that got its start converting used tired into sandals has since expanded into handbags, jewelry and small accessories. Based on a practice she witnessed while living in Africa, Colombino came up with the idea of making sandals from recycled tires. Within weeks, people were looking to buy the admittedly less-than-perfected product.”
According to Colombino, the original shoes were horrible! Nonetheless, she and her team [with the aid of local shoemaker Ody Jean] created a new business model and decided to teach others how to produce it. Thus, creating a genuine leather shoe that most wanted to invest in.
As of 2016, Deux Mains Designs gained the attention of MAJOR shoe designer Kenneth Cole who according to the magazine:
“Was attracted to Deux Mains’ use of all locally sourced materials– Haitian genuine leather, repurposed tires found on local streets, glue from Hispaniola– and broached the company to make a collection. The designs hit shelves 10 weeks later in Kenneth Cole stores worldwide.”
AND….. it was reported that there will be a NEWER collaborative collection between the two sometime this year!!!!
Did we mention that the shoes are SO CUTE?!
To date they have the following collections:
- Love Haiti By Kenneth Cole
- Denim Collection
- Caribbean Collection
- Boho Collection
- City Collection
- The Tire Collection
“The seed was sewn, and we decided that day to take back everything that the earthquake stole….deux mains means ‘two hands’ in French, and we built a company based on what we were able to create with our own two hands, despite the odds. -Julie Colombino
How AMAZING! We’re still in awe! Make sure to support the natives of Haiti, by taking a look/buying their creations!