It’s been more than a year since Marie-France Merisier founded her accessories and fashion brand Kadokélé. She has grown a lot since then as a person and as an entrepreneur. Follow my conversation with her as we discuss the latest with her brand!
Kreyolicious: What has the Kadokélé brand been up to?
Kadokélé has really evolved. I was apprehensive about combining my original ventures: Kélé Arts Design & Kado by Marie-France. I was under the impression [that] it [might] confuse my fan base and possibly chase them away. However, with a great support system—of family, friends and entrepreneurs—everything made sense and fell into place.
Currently, we’ve expanded our product line by introducing more clothing and handcrafted jewelry. We’ve launched Métissage, a colorful Caribbean clothing collection with bold textures, patterns and prints.
Our hand-painted mussel shells jewelry are fan favorites and are quickly becoming our signature pieces.
Kreyolicious: And you have another venture…Artfully France. Tell us more about that.
I wanted people to not only know the designer behind the brand but also know me as a foodie, a lover of life who finds art in the smallest things. I also wanted a space to be more personable and relatable to connect, learn and share with others. I think women are like an onion, we are full of juicy layers. @artfullyfrance is a place where I share all my layers: food, art, people, travel, fashion and most importantly my creative process for @kadokele.
One of my layers is my passion for cooking. Growing up in Haiti, my mother instilled in me that there is a way to present your food and serve people. That stayed with me! #eatartfully on my food post, is an homage to my mother, who I appreciate and love dearly.
Another layer is my love of travel and culture. On a recent trip to Martinique, I was so inspired by the roadside market and the lovely woman selling her fresh produce. The odds that her family resides in the states, less than twenty miles from me in Brockton, Ma. gave me a deeper appreciation for connection. Renewed from my trip, I launched “Inspirational Features” on my blog artfullykadokele.tumblr.com and featured her. Since then, I’ve featured others (Lisa Drouillard, Miss Universe’15, Tamara Theophile, a budding cook in New York, Joelle Jean-Fontaine/iRvin Photography @iamkreyol @d_irvin) highlighting people, their path in life and their stories.
Kreyolicious: Has being an entrepreneur gotten easier for you as time has gone by?
I wouldn’t say easier, but it definitely has gotten better as I am more in tuned with my brand and its message of inspiring all to LiveArtfully. I think you will stop growing if it all gets easier. The challenges that you face along the way are the contributing factors to being successful in the long run.
Kreyolicious: Do you have any tips on networking with others?
I think people make the mistake of focusing too much on what they need first. [Just] Imagine the reverse? Ask how I can help you first. It’ll spark a different dynamic. You have to be genuinely interested in getting to know people, what they do, learn from them first to harvest a connection for future exchange.
Kreyolicious: So you have these jersey dresses that a lot of your clients are loving. What made you add these pieces to your offerings?
Thank you for noticing. My aunt, Renée, a loyal supporter, planted the seeds. She suggested how beautiful uncle Kélé paintings would look on dresses in one of our intimate talks over a year ago.
We’ve introduced the jersey dresses this spring and I’m very grateful for the amazing response.
Kreyolicious: Where do you see your brands going?
I see [myself] striving to find creative ways to be a stimulation of Caribbean art in clothing and hand-crafted jewelry in the fashion world. I look forward to creating a website that is as colorful and captivating as our products.
I hope to link my personal page and blog on my business page as it continues to grow with more creative projects, inspirational features as well as giving back to Haiti by partnering with non-profit organizations to support artists and the youth.
This has been another episode of KREYOLICIOUS FASHION, brought to you by your fave chick Kreyolicious! Tune in next time, and be sure to check out the KREYOLICIOUS FASHION archives!