The Real Haiti website began with husband and wife team Endy and Diana Pierre-Louis wanting to share their personal experience with the country, which has often been portrayed as impoverished and filled with strife. Through her husband, who is a native of the country, Diana learned of the hidden jewels of Haiti – untouched areas, a beautiful culture, and warm, friendly people. While the headlines focused on disasters and poverty, Diana made the purpose of The Real Haiti to expose the beauty and truth of this island gem.
Pierre-Louis first came to the Florida SBDC at Palm Beach State College (PBSC) after winning the Ministry of Tourism of Haiti’s contest to find a new slogan. Diana’s winning, “Experience It!”, slogan sums up the powerful emotions first time visitors feel. It is a beautiful invitation to discover the riches of the country and the sensations they provide. The Ministry of Tourism uses the Creole version, “Se la pou’w la”, on their website.
While Pierre-Louis’ blog was succeeding, inquiries began arriving. Requests came in for photography, website design, graphics, social media tips, and more, and working at her full-time job was beginning to become a challenge. Pierre-Louis knew she wanted to expand her successful blog into a full-blown social media and marketing company, and therefore contacted the Florida SBDC at PBSC for assistance.
Thanks to the services and support of the Florida SBDC, Pierre-Louis was able to achieve her goal of working full-time in a business she is passionate about and that could sustain her financially. Thus, Empower Your Brand, a full-service marketing and branding company, was born. Pierre-Louis said.
“The knowledge that the staff has to offer to small business owners is invaluable. Not only do [consultants] Phil and Debbie provide me [with] useful information to run my business, they also encourage me and cheer me on. I am so thankful for them and am comforted knowing they are just around the corner or a phone call away if I need them.”
Professional successes quickly followed. In one year, Pierre-Louis won the contract from Broward College to manage the social media and online promotion for the Gubernatorial Debates and was also chosen as the photographer for Florida Atlantic University’s College of Nursing advertising campaign, which included both billboards and print materials. She was also hired to develop a website for a medical clinic. With the increase of business, Pierre-Louis was able to employ three part-time assistants to help with her projects.
"I know it sounds cliche, but if it weren’t for the help of the Florida SBDC, I would not be where I am today."
- Diana Pierre-Louis, Owner - The Real Haiti