Persevering Through a Pandemic: How One Entrepreneur Grew Her Cookie Business in Haiti While Supporting Hope for Haiti
For the next installment of our new guest blog series, we sat down with Smoraya Noisy, the 18 year-old founder of Haitian cookie company SMO’S DÖ. During the month of August, a portion of the proceeds from all cookie sales were donated to support our programs. SMO’S DÖ is also a proud partner for our Back-to-School Campaign, which launched last week.
Through a simple process, you can order and send delicious cookies to friends and family anywhere in Port au Prince Haiti, and they will arrive with Amazon-like efficiency. You can try it for yourself by placing your order through their Instagram page, and mention Hope for Haiti for $2 off your order!
Can you tell us about SMO’S DÖ?
SMO’S DÖ is a small cookie business that’s currently based in Haiti. It is known for being a fun dessert shop that integrates Haitian culture and beverages into our cookie recipes and also for coming up with exciting new flavor combinations. I started the business when I was in high school and now I sell mostly through my Instagram platform. I would say this has been my side business for about two years now but now that I am 18 years old I am taking it more seriously. I’ve been obsessed with cookies for as long as I can remember, and I decided to turn an obsession into my passion! I love that I can make a cookie my canvas and get creative with any new flavors that come to mind.
What’s been the biggest thing you’ve learned since launching SMO’S DÖ?
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that there will be a lot of competition in my industry, especially in a small country like Haiti where people already have established names and connections. Instead of thinking about how much larger a clientele others had, I focused on what I could bring to the table to differentiate myself and scale my brand name.
Although some people have already replicated the same products and designs that I’ve made, it makes me feel proud that what I am doing is worth copying and it motivates me to create and innovate more.
How has the business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Ironically, this pandemic helped me grow SMO’S DÖ more within months than I was able to in the years prior. Being stuck in quarantine really brought out the creative side of me and I put all my energy into designing posts for my Instagram page, coming up with my own recipes, teaching myself about finance and accounting, and learning new management techniques. I took these past few months to really focus on myself and it turned into a great opportunity to grow my business.
Why did you decide to partner with Hope for Haiti?
In the spring semester I took a course that taught me about the ongoing water crisis in the world and I conducted extensive research about how it affects developing countries like Haiti. I’ve done my fair share of research of charities in Haiti and the main reason I decided to partner with Hope for Haiti was because their programs and mission strongly aligned with areas I wanted to see Haiti improve in and grow, which include access to clean water, education, healthcare, and infrastructure. They also have the most dedicated and supportive team I’ve had the chance to talk to and I wanted to support their work by making monthly donations to better fund those programs and create a more sustainable environment for the Haitian communities in need.
What’s coming next for you and the company?
I just entered my sophomore year in college so my next step is to grind hard and study hard but live my best life while I still can. I’m just a girl from a small island with a big dream. Although I have big plans for the future, I still want to enjoy my college years as a teenager.
As for SMO’S DÖ, even though I’ll be away for college, my mom and I have managed to find a loyal team to keep the business going while I’m away for college. I’ve also been working on several projects and partnerships that I think are pretty amazing and I can’t wait until everything comes together!
It’s coming to the Hill…that’s all I’m saying for now.
What would you like to share with our audience about the Haiti you know and love?
When most people describe what they love about Haiti, they talk about its blue beaches or its beautiful landscapes. For me, there’s more to its beautiful landscapes than meets the eye. The Haiti I know and love is in the details most don’t usually pay attention to everyday. It’s the history behind its mountains, the art in its rich culture, the tropical wilderness and the spiciness of its food that really make this country worthwhile and unique to me. Haiti may have her flaws, but she is a diamond in the rough. I think it’s all about finding the good in the bad, especially in situations like the pandemic that can make you appreciate the small things in life.