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David and The Good Threads Stitchers in Jacmel

David and The Good Threads Stitchers in Jacmel

This blog will focus on the impact of Good Threads.  I will write about the impact we have on our employees, on the community we work in, and the foundation we are partnered with.  The desire to help these people is why we started Good Threads and continues, to this day, to be the main reason we keep putting in the work to make this business successful.  I believe exactly what we do for these people can be hard to communicate, and I hope that this blog helps everyone better understand our impact.

As this is the start of the blog, it seems appropriate that I tell you about the start of Good Threads.  My name is David Palmer, I am 29 years old and have been working with impoverished Haitians since 2010.  In 2010 I founded the Joan Rose Foundation (JRF), a development program dedicated to giving children access to opportunity and basic necessities.  From 2010-August 2015 we worked mostly with Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic. Due to the discrimination against Haitians, the JRF and Good Threads moved their operations and core families to Jacmel, Haiti. We built 27 housing units and brought 23 families, comprising 108 people to Jacmel. Good Threads employs women in 21 of these 23 households, the JRF provides the children with food, additional class, medicine, and helps pay for their formal schooling.

Since starting the foundation five years ago, I have consistently been bothered by the lack of work available for most of our children’s mothers.  As you can probably imagine, many of the children at our foundation come from single mother households. These women are by and large extremely hard working.  They are not impoverished and unemployed due to laziness, some sense of entitlement or a lack of responsibility.  They simply have almost no opportunity to obtain a legitimate, consistent, decent paying job.  

During the winter of 2012 a buddy of mine told me about needlepoint belts and how they were quite expensive, growing in popularity, and extremely labor intensive.  At the time my knowledge of needlepoint was literally zero; I had never even heard of it.  I started doing some research and came to the conclusion that this might be what I had been looking for.  

My younger brother, Timmy, was at the time working in the finance industry.  He did not feel fulfilled by his job and was dying to start a business that helped impoverished people.  He had recently graduated from Princeton and had written his senior thesis on how business was helping the poor help themselves.  

I told him about my idea and he loved it.  My time was limited and training women how to make needlepoint belts was going to fill my plate.  Timmy took on the whole American side of the business- the website, sales, marketing, etc, and I started trying to make a needlepoint belt.  It was not easy and we went through a lot of prototypes before becoming satisfied with our product.  We currently employ 21 of the 23 mothers of the families in our community. Seeing the improvement in these women’s and their families living conditions, self esteem, and their increased independence, has been incredibly rewarding. 

I will be posting every week or two and look forward to sharing more of our story and impact with all of you.