The Leather Makers
Benson Thermidore is the young genius behind the Leather Makers. 10 years ago he approached me on the salt flats in Jubilee. By this time, word was getting around that there was a Blan (white person) in the area looking for people with creative ideas. He approached me respectfully and says “Madam I would like to show you something." Thank Heaven I didn’t blow him off. Thank Heaven I paused long enough to see. Thank heaven this time I did that.
He then reached into his backpack and pulled out a black vinyl covered book. The outside had designs made with rhinestones and an inlaid picture of the palace in Port Au Prince. I opened it up to see what sort of book he had recovered. It was a journal of empty pages. And the pages were sewn into the binder with great care. It was perfect (though I was not a fan of the rhinestones and picture of the fancy building).
So I asked him where he got it. He said he made it. I looked at the careful binding again. "You MADE this? You sewed these papers together like this?"
"Yes. Yes I did. Would you like to buy it? Or buy many of them?" That was the beginning. We quickly found more options for covering journals: rice bags, burlap and then leather.
In the past 10 years we’ve expanded to many different designs, and now products from Benson's workshop are some of our primary and best selling goods! This workshop employs 20 people and is changing the story for families in this neighborhood.