√ČCONOMIE

Are you POZE?

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Every now and¬†then something amazingly simple is introduced to¬†us and¬†becomes an¬†instant must-have. We are attracted by¬†the¬†obvious simplicity of¬†the¬†design, its functionality or¬†any of¬†the¬†other features that makes it so appealing. We even wonder why we weren’t the¬†ones to¬†come up with it. I’m sure some of¬†you, at¬†one point in¬†time, had a¬†great idea that would take over the¬†world until you realized that someone else already made it happen! Whenever that happens, you either put your thinking snapback on¬†or, like most people, you hate. You may be a¬†hater for¬†a¬†while, but after the¬†initial fanfare you just chill. Or¬†as¬†Haitians say, “ou just poze”!

Not too long ago while scrolling down my timeline on IG I saw this guy wearing a black hoodie with a red stripe highlighting white letters! A simple design used by some of the most popular urban graphic tee designers with a Haitian touch! A few months later this design is a hit! Everybody is talking about it, wearing it and some are already influenced or inspired by it.

We had the¬†chance to¬†sit for¬†a¬†Q&A¬†with the¬†creator of¬†this line showing great promise.¬†A¬†young man with a¬†vision. A¬†young entrepreneur who possesses some level of¬†sprezzatura which I¬†think brings a¬†breath of¬†fresh air to¬†the¬†“graphic tee” culture that is growing so quickly in¬†Haiti.

“Sprezzatura”¬†is the¬†art of¬†making something that may require a¬†lot of¬†expertise and¬†attention look effortless! Making something difficult look easy! This term is used a¬†lot in¬†the¬†sartorial world a.k.a¬†the¬†fashion world to¬†describe attitudes, styles or¬†what some may refer to¬†as¬†swag. When you pull sprezzatura off, everyone around you think they can as¬†well. “Yeah! That‚Äôs easy; I¬†can do it too, probably even better”.

Most of¬†the¬†times, that’s not the¬†case. We must understand that simple and¬†easy are not the¬†same. It’s more about the¬†drive and¬†passion of¬†the¬†person with the¬†idea rather than the¬†idea itself. A¬†concept may be deceivingly simple but its execution quite difficult because it requires discipline, focus and¬†a¬†vision.

The¬†message of¬†this brand is simple and¬†I¬†think it’s best we hear it directly from the¬†sender!


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Who is the man behind POZE?
My¬†name is Jeff Appolon. A¬†few people might recognize me from my¬†Instagram page¬†@effeappolon¬†where I¬†post funny videos about Haitians from time to¬†time. I’m 27 years¬†old. I’ve¬†been living in¬†Miami for¬†the¬†past 10 years where I’m currently pursuing my¬†Master‚Äôs degree in¬†accounting.

What is “Poze” to¬†you?
I¬†think of¬†“poze”¬†as¬†the¬†coolest word in¬†creole. Not only because it’s a¬†universal word that anybody can use in¬†pretty much any situation but also because it’s¬†a¬†simple word that carries a¬†lot of¬†meaning while keeping its own identity at¬†the¬†same time. I¬†think of¬†“poze”¬†as¬†the¬†new word that foreigners need to¬†know because I¬†think we all can agree that the¬†“sak pase”¬†era paid its dues and¬†is now long gone. As¬†a¬†new generation I¬†think it‚Äôs our duty to¬†teach the¬†world something new about us, something practical that¬†they can use when interacting with their Haitian friends, co-workers etc.

How did you come up with the idea?
The¬†idea actually came up to¬†me in¬†a¬†whole other way. I¬†used the¬†word¬†“poze”¬†in¬†one of¬†my¬†vines to¬†highlight how that word can have so many different meanings and¬†can be used differently depending on¬†the¬†tone or¬†context. Months went by¬†and¬†I¬†didn’t¬†really think¬†about it. When I¬†got more serious about starting a¬†Haitian brand that people can identify with, that specific video popped up in¬†my¬†head and¬†it all made sense.

Who is the POZE customer?
I¬†think the¬†POZE¬†customers are¬†Haitians of¬†any age or¬†gender. Because when you think about it, who has a¬†great conversation without saying¬†‚Äúpoze‚ÄĚ?¬†In¬†fact, I¬†think that the¬†POZE¬†customer can be anyone, a¬†foreigner who has ties to¬†Haiti or¬†the¬†Haitian culture or¬†just someone who saw, heard and¬†fell in¬†love with the¬†word. I¬†see them as¬†a¬†tight community with multiple backgrounds and¬†interests but besides all of¬†the¬†differences they have Haiti in¬†common. For¬†me the¬†POZE¬†customer ranges from someone who grew up in¬†Haiti, lived there all their life all the¬†way to¬†someone like Sean Penn who fell in¬†love with Haiti and¬†is trying to¬†help the¬†country as¬†much as¬†he can.

What is the ultimate goal of POZE brand?
Our ultimate goal is to¬†become an¬†established brand with long term success. I¬†don’t think of¬†it as¬†a¬†campaign or¬†something seasonal. We want to¬†be the¬†go to¬†brand for¬†all Haitians who want to¬†wear something that is tied to¬†their identity or¬†when they want to¬†express themselves and¬†teach other people about where they’re from. We are working on¬†getting our products into local stores and¬†also¬†in¬†most cities with large Haitian communities¬†while having a¬†great online presence and¬†moving forward with technology. I¬†believe with hard work, patience and¬†especially with the¬†help and¬†support of¬†the¬†customers who believe in¬†our brand, the¬†goal¬†can and¬†will be achieved.

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What has been your biggest challenge as an upcoming brand?
I¬†think one of¬†our biggest challenges now is getting the¬†word out there. Letting people know about the¬†brand and¬†what it represents. It’s a¬†fast world out there and¬†one has to¬†fight hard to¬†stay relevant. People have so much to¬†consume right now that they forget about you the¬†moment they scroll pass your picture.
Another great challenge we have is trying to¬†change the¬†mentality of¬†the¬†Haitian consumer and¬†their perception on¬†shopping online. All over the¬†world¬†online shopping is overtaking regular retail shopping at¬†malls etc. But in¬†Haiti, consumers tend to¬†shy away from technology and¬†that is a¬†major problem. Because of¬†that attitude¬†we limit ourselves from so many options and¬†we also limit our reach.¬†A¬†lot of¬†times people see me and¬†tell me that they want to¬†buy a¬†t-shirt, hat or¬†hoodie and¬†even though it pleases me that they are interested in¬†buying the¬†products it‚Äôs challenging and¬†kind of¬†hard to¬†understand why the¬†person wouldn’t want to¬†place the¬†order online at¬†their own leisure and¬†time. We‚Äôve put in¬†place a¬†website that is very user friendly, while providing the¬†customer with a¬†secure¬†and¬†convenient shopping experience. The¬†tools are there, it’s just hard convincing everyone to¬†take advantage them.

What should we expect from POZE brand in the near future?
Like I mentioned earlier our main goal is to create a long lasting, reputable brand. With that said, you can expect new designs, new items, new colors, and new collections very soon. I want to keep our designs current with all the new fashion trends. We will also be making special edition shirts for upcoming events so keep an eye out for those; you will also see some collaborations on small collections. We believe our presence in Haiti is very necessary, we are currently talking with some clothing store owners to see how and when they will carry the POZE brand in their stores. Follow our Instagram page @pozebrand to get updates on our journey and visit our website pozebrand.com for a complete look of our current designs!

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