How competent are you when it comes to speaking Haitian Creole language? Bonjou from Lulu, a start-up founded by entrepreneur Lucy Dorlus, will have you speaking little touching phrases in the form of greeting cards! The Florida-based Haitian Creole greeting cards collection not only fills a gap in the market, but also has a philanthropic aspect. A portion of the profits from sales goes towards domestic violence and education causes. Now, let’s talk to the shepreneur about her venture!
Kreyolicious: What are your memories of growing up Haitian-American?
I grew up in a very religious home where the principles of hard work, education and pride in my culture were instilled in me at an early age. Church was at the center of my life growing up and it is where I became more aware of my cultural identity. I have fond memories of going to church, worshiping in Creole, participating in cultural activities, learning Haiti’s national anthem and about Haiti’s rich history. I grew up in a household where we spoke Creole, English was my second language. My parents made sure that my siblings and I had knowledge of our Haitian roots. We were encouraged to speak Creole. My mother also taught my sister and me how to prepare Haitian food.
Kreyolicious: What pushed you to launch this greeting card line?
I toyed with the idea of creating a Creole focused greeting card business for years and finally launched my business after a turning point in my life. Bonjou from Lulu creates a way for people to express their feelings through greetings cards written in their native language. The idea for BFL stems from the absence of greeting cards written in Creole. I felt that an entire culture was unable to express themselves for special life events like birthdays, communion, anniversaries, and graduations. Growing up, I loved giving greeting cards to my parents for different occasions. While the greeting cards I gave my father were easily read and understood, I had to translate the cards given to my mother because she did not read English well at the time. I remember seeing greeting cards in Spanish for Mother’s Day as a teenager and thought to myself, “It would be great to have Mother’s Day cards in Creole too.” Thus, the idea was born, but it would take me several years for me to launch my business. I believe timing is everything, and it’s my time to shine!
Kreyolicious: Who taught you how to write Creole?
Creole was my first language. Although, I speak and read it fluently, I learned how to write Creole as an adult. I used a Haitian Creole-to-English dictionary as a reference when creating my greeting cards and also receive assistance from my mother and best friend with grammar and punctuation.
Kreyolicious: What sort of response have you gotten thus far?
The response has been overwhelmingly receptive and positive. The general feedback I have received is that Bonjou from Lulu is a great concept and unique idea. I created a Mother’s day collection of greeting cards this year and so far sales have been satisfactory. I am looking forward to Haitian Mother’s Day and Father’s Day!
This concludes PART I of the interview with the Haitian greeting cards entrepreneur Lucy Dorlus. Watch out for PART II.
CLICK HERE to visit Lucy Dorlus’ Bonjou from Lulu page, and to order her Haitian Creole greeting cards!