Haiti Metal Art, Making Recycled Steel Wall Art, It's Cactus


Eight miles northeast of Port-au-Prince lies Croix des Bouquets, the village best known for cut metal work, often called Haitian drum art. The hammering of working artisans transforming recycled 55-gallon drums rings from nearly every home and workshop. Haitian drum art is a marvelous and unique expression of Haitian creativity. There are no other hand-crafted products in the world that are like it. At It's Cactus, we believe in teaching a man to fish, and we do so by giving opportunity. We open trade opportunities and teach our trading partners about the business of production and marketing, giving them the skills they need to feel success and see it grow. This is not an easy path, and achieving positive results takes a great deal of time and patience. Yet we have seen terrific results in our 17 years of working with our Haitian artists. The best part of it is that we have seen success sustained. Once the opportunity is seized upon, once the lessons are learned, they stick. They stay. They LAST. Here's how: When a new artist approaches us with an innovative design to sell, he gets an order worth $100 USD to make samples. This enables us to evaluate his style and consistency as well as assess his ability to follow through on our agreement. When those hurdles are cleared, we work with the artist to establish a selling price that is both fair and marketable. We discuss all aspects of pricing; teaching and learning in both directions along the way. When the price is settled, a new order is written, again with 100 percent paid in full up front. As our sales of the new artist design grows, our ability to buy more from him grows as well. This steady growth increases the size of his orders and also enables us to experiment with other new designs and orders with him. He becomes more skilled not only as an artist, but also as a businessman. With lessons well-learned and well applied, the rise in his prosperity - though not meteoric - is substantial and sustainable. In this way, the gift of opportunity becomes a gift that can last a lifetime.


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