It’s a privilege to be able to introduce you to Heartline friend Holly Ravenhorst and her organization, Petite Palm. Initially started in the same community as the Heartline Maternity Center, the studio moved to Heartline’s Education and Employment Campus in 2018 and now employs six Haitians!
Founded by Dani Troyer and Holly Ravenhorst in 2017, Petite Palm is a socially conscious lifestyle brand. Their one-of-a-kind goods craft opportunities for women to thrive. When you purchase Petite Palm products, you choose to stand tall with them in the fight for justice.
With sixty-five percent of the population below the poverty line, they recognized that job creation is key to seeing Haiti flourish. Women are eager to work but lack opportunity. By offering dignified employment with living wages, they can work alongside women who make a lasting impact in their families and communities.
Petite Palm connects consumers to tangible ways to use their purchasing power to sustain growth in the lives of hardworking artisans. By infusing the global market with unique, well-made goods, we are creating a community of people who believe in doing good for the dignity of all.
It all started when Holly and Dani met at church service. They met, connected, and found they shared a mutual passion that manifested in the inspiration to create a social business focused on empowering women.
Located in the same community as the Heartline Maternity Center, the Petite Palm studio moved to the Heartline Education and Employment Campus (EEC) in late 2018. The EEC property offers sufficient space and the benefits of shared security and access to meals (especially Heartline bread!) Additionally, there’s a crossover benefit of having Heartline staff support, such as the occasional temporary worker to clean, stock, or assist with payroll!
Another benefit of being strategically located on the Heartline EEC property that’s mutually beneficial is the opportunity to grab talent right from the Heartline Education Center! We love this! Currently, 50% of the employees at Petite Palm are graduates from the Education Center. They employ two sewing graduates and one from the macrame and crochet class. Holly states that she’s consistently impressed with her team and each person a blessing.
Thanks to generous donors, Petite Palm is now 100% powered by the Haitian sun! The entire facility is now solar!
About 18 months ago, Holly and her family decided to return to the United States. A decision the team at Heartline can understand completely. Knowing it’s our goal that these organizations aren’t truly successful until they can operate independently and we can step out of the way, like letting go of a child into adulthood – stepping away from full-time operations and presence can be scary. As they planned their move, Holly felt fearful. She feared that the organization might not succeed and that Petite Palm wouldn’t fulfill her and Dani’s dream.
As we have also experienced at the Heartline Maternity Center and the Education and Employment Campus – the women of Petite Palm have not only survived but thrived! Holly states, “They have stepped up and proven they can manage the studio and work well together. We have moved artisans into leadership positions, and their leadership skills continue to grow.”
Holly has had the opportunity to travel back to Haiti twice since relocating to the United States. She shares, “It is always great to work alongside our artisans, who have become my dear friends. It is helpful to be on-site to organize, do inventory, and check-in to see how the women are doing both at work and in their daily lives. We are learning better strategies to overcome the importing and exporting challenges, procuring raw materials, and shipping the finished product.”
Today, Holly operates Petite Palm as the Stateside Director. In plain English, she wears many, many hats. Additionally, she oversees The Mama Zwazo Foundation. We’ll get back to that in a minute. She manages and collaborates with an in-country manager at Petite Palm while maintaining their website and online store.
Additionally, Holly manages wholesale and private label accounts, purchases, and coordinates the shipping of any raw materials not procured in-country, and she tracks donations and maintains donor communications.
When asked about some of the customer favorites at Petite Palm, Holly shared, “People have always loved our hand-dyed baby products. They make a one-of-a-kind gift while at the same time helping to empower women to care for their families. Another favorite among our customers is our genuine leather earrings that are lightweight and go with any outfit.”
As noted above, Holly also oversees The Mama Zwazo Foundation. We asked Holly how Petite Palm and The Mama Zwazo Foundation work together to invest in Haitian families. Here’s what she had to say.
“People are central to all we do. We believe a business that honors its employees above profit is a business built to last. We offer fair wages, health care, a safe work environment, paid lunches, vacation days, sick leave, and maternity leave to prioritize our employees. Petite Palm partners with The Mama Zwazo Foundation to offer holistic support to employees and communities. Mama Zwazo Foundation seeks to renew hope, rebuild families, and restore justice alongside our artisan team. Through the Mama Zwazo Foundation, we focus on holistic support in three key areas: mind, body, and soul. Our programs offer healthcare, maternity leave, educational support, improved emergency assistance, and leadership development. The Mama Zwazo foundation is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit. Because of these programs and benefits, our artisans can assist family and friends with school tuition, gain financial independence, work with family to start small businesses, address personal health concerns with trusted care providers, and gain the confidence to pursue their passions.”
We asked Holly what her hopes were for Petite Palm, her team, and the country of Haiti as a whole. Here’s what she told us.
“I hope that Petite Palm continues to grow and we can employ even more women. I also hope that more people will learn and understand that how they spend their money can be a way to invest in Haiti and keep families together. Business as a mission and paying living wages provides sustainability, development, and hope for a country that has suffered much.”
When asked for closing thoughts, Holly directed us to her co-founder and friend, Dani’s words.
Dani Troyer, Co Founder, Petite Palm
“We believe Jesus is in the social business movement. We believe dignified employment honors the image of God in everyone. We believe putting high-quality goods into the hands of conscious consumers is an act of worship in itself. Sometimes, missions is preaching from a pulpit, and sometimes it’s paying fair wages to artisans who excel at their craft. Either way, trekking into the unknown for the sake of the greater good is what we’re here for.”
Shop Haiti! Invest in Haiti and families by shopping for hand-crafted goods through Heartline friends like Petite Palm.
Pray for the continued work of Heartline Ministries and their friends and partners like Petite Palm.
Pray for peace and justice in Haiti. They go hand in hand.
Consider joining Heartline’s Prayer Team. Click here to sign up!
On Saturday, April 20th, 2019, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Dani Troyer took her last breath on this earth. And on that same afternoon, Petite Palm’s Bertha welcomed her first baby girl. Celebration and loss divinely coincided, but Dani’s dream had come to fruition. Read more about Dani and Petite Palm here: https://www.petitepalm.org/pages/about-us.