Macy's Launches "The Heart of Haiti" Collection in October on macys.com and in 25 Macy's Stores
NEW YORK, Sep 21, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --
Recognizing the continued need in Haiti, Macy's (NYSE:M) today announced a new initiative - "The Heart of Haiti" - which will bring trade and aid to the earthquake-devastated country through a program for selling traditional Haitian artisan home décor products. The collection, inspired by the courage and culture of the Haitian people and created by Haitian artisan survivors, will be available in 25 Macy's stores and on macys.com in October. Already, monies are being sent to Haitian artisans to buy needed materials to return to work, and more than 200 artisans are at work full-time.
In May 2010, The William J. Clinton Foundation called American businesses to action by urging them to engage in rebuilding Haiti's shattered economy in the wake of the country's January 12, 2010 earthquake. Macy's, having long partnered with global artisan communities, was an immediate responder. Knowing that traditional handmade goods are the heart and soul of cultures and economies that also delight North American shoppers, Macy's turned to the successful model it has employed in the past. Currently, Macy's carries fine products made by master artisans from across the developing world, including the famed Rwandan "Path to Peace" baskets, which have employed thousands of survivors of that nation's 1994 conflict. Now in its fifth year, the relationship between Macy's and the Rwandan weavers remains an enduring partnership - providing education, healthcare, clean water, plentiful food, and dignity in Rwanda.
Haiti is recognized globally as a center of handmade industries, and its ancient culture includes a vast diversity of traditional, handmade products. These include hand-tooled serving trays and up-cycled oil drums from the blacksmith community in Croix des Bouquets, the work in papier mache from Carnival Jacmel artists, and a women's quilting cooperative in Cite Soleil. A selection of these artworks will launch as the exclusive Macy's "Heart of Haiti" collection, including quilts, metalwork, ceramics, wood-carvings, paintings and jewelry.
"It is truly devastating to see the ongoing impact of the earthquake in Haiti," said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy's, Inc. "While we, along with many others, responded immediately with giving, we also quickly identified an opportunity to help in a more lasting way. Like our Rwandan 'Path to Peace' program, which has transformed the face of rural Rwanda and the lives of thousands, we know that we can create a sustainable economic model when there is beautifully appointed product and an inspiring story to tell. We are delighted to bring these incredible works of art to Macy's customers in America, and in turn to create a revenue stream that can support the foundation and infrastructure for Haiti's rebuild."
The Clinton Foundation is deeply committed to rebuilding Haiti and convened a meeting in New York to focus on initiatives that would create jobs, trade and markets for Haiti's important artisan craft industries. "President Clinton and his Foundation are pleased to be a part of this endeavor," says Laura Graham, Chief Operating Officer of the Clinton Foundation. "We are looking forward to developing sustainable economic activity and reinvigorating community cohesion to help artists all across Haiti," she added.
The effort is designed to work on two fronts - engage with international designers and retailers to source more handicrafts from artists as well as work closely with the artisans themselves to increase their capability to fulfill new orders. "Now more than ever, Haiti needs creative spirit. With help and hard work we will rise again," said Serge Jolimeau, Master Artisan of Haiti's Croix des Bouquets.
"Heart of Haiti" represents the first collection of home decor handcrafts since the January 2010 earthquake. Each item is designed by master Haitian artists exclusively for Macy's and made by hand by local artisans. The spirit and creativity of the people of Haiti is reflected in the vibrant colors and joyful patterns of each piece, and each purchase helps the Haitian artisans preserve their cultural history, restore their homes and rebuild their communities. Each and every piece is signed by the artist and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
Fairwinds Trading and Brandaid Project, two companies invited to the meeting convened by the Clinton Foundation, formed an alliance within hours, using their resources in Haiti and in New York to bring this deal to Macy's. Recognizing the urgent need, they created "a partnership based on common values, including recognition of the exceptional artistry of Haitian products," says Tony Pigott, cofounder of the Brandaid Project and chief executive officer of J. Walter Thompson Canada.
Together, Brandaid and Fairwinds collaborated with Haitian artisans to design a range of new products for Macy's stores and online offerings, emphasizing the excellence of Haitian workmanship and the centuries-old tradition of cultural storytelling. The two firms' combined expertise in production, marketing, sales, and branding - and years of experience in the microenterprises of the developing world - made it possible to "do in two months what would ordinarily take two years, or more," says Fairwinds' founder Willa Shalit. Because of "Macy's willingness to do the impossible," Shalit says, "the families of artisans in Haiti will have food, shelter, clothing, education, and hope."
Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Macy's stores and macys.com offer distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy's is known for such epic events as Macy's 4th of July Fireworks(R) and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade(R), as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Building on a 150-year tradition, Macy's helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities that make a difference in the lives of our customers.
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Holly Thomas, 646-429-5250
Released September 21, 2010