Bijou Lakay Wants You to Feel Special and Unique: Meet Daphnee Floreal, Owner and Jewelry Designer
Daphne Karen Floreal, the Owner of Bijou Lakay, has built a powerful jewelry business that completely upset the Haitian fashion industry. “Oser, innover, Recycler” (dare, innovate, recycle in English) are the three words that best describe her line of accessories. Allow me to introduce you to Daphnee and her business Bijou Lakay through this recent interview.
Widline L.C.: How did you come up with the idea of starting a jewelry business? Tell us of your journey?
Daphnee Floreal: First, it was just a way to have my pocket money. It becomes a real business when I realize that all the designs I created for myself interested a lot people around. I ended up most of the time to offer several pieces as gift. So I understood there was a need and interest for this type of creations.
WLC: What role does your professional background play in the business?
DF: I studied Management, and now I am working towards my MBA. I worked during 9 years as a Credit Officer and Director of this section for the most important private banks in Haiti. Therefore, my professional background certainly plays a major role in my business. It is an artistic field, but I do my best to manage it as a normal business. In addition, we prepare reports on a regular basis, so we can react quickly if something is not correct.
WLC: You have earned quite few awards, tells us of some of the challenges you have surmounted as a business woman that most people don’t know?
DF: Ok this question reminds me of my participation at a FuckUp Nights event recently attended (an event where, as an entrepreneur, you share your failure). I still face multiple challenges; some of them where to start exporting and to get in one of the most important network in my field.
WLC: There are some other similar companies in the country, what makes yours stand out?
DF: We decide that Bijou Lakay will be an international company. That means respect of standards and application of rules, and communication with customers. For the creative part, we do research before launching a collection, innovation is in the center of work, and of course, we improve our branding regularly.
WLC: What is your business model? Strategy?
DF: Low fixed costs, a good branding and customer service.
WLC: Where do you see Bijou Lakay in the next 5 years?
DF: Definitely with 30 point of sales out of Haiti and 7 in Haiti. We want to reinforce our position in the Caribbean market. We want to lead the cultural and crafts field in Haiti and to also give our input for its structure. It is something I really want to do, because the need is there. Real waste of talents, business potential and arts skill. With those strengths, Haiti should be rich with its cultural heritage.
WLC: How do you manage your business and your professional career?
DF: As I work as a Financial Consultant and dedicate myself to my business, I can do the balance. Additionally, I have a solid staff that works with me. So I don’t take charge in all aspects of the business.
WLC: Who’s in your support system?
DF: My support system is my family, my mom who is a center piece of the business, my dad who has the critical eyes, my partner who always pushes me to try something new and innovative, my son who always inspires me, and of course my friends who were there for me from day 1. Those ladies were my models; they are always happy to participate in photo-shoot for Bijou Lakay and to participate in our events. To name some of them Christine, Wendy, Myrline, Valerie; my past and actual classmates, and my coworkers. And of course my customers –who are basically friends! They are promoting the business each time they wear my pieces. So for that, there is no word to thank them. Not to forget, the network I am part of that influences me positively.
WLC: The best 3 words that describes your latest jewelry products?
DF: Family, simplicity, colors mixing. The latest collection is a collection dedicated to my female ancestors. Hence, I create a jewelry business based on their behaviors.